Pattern books have a core group of patterns. So working through a good pattern book could be a compact way of learning the main sewing processes.

I haven’t seen every pattern book there is (would that be possible !), but I think these have good sewing instructions.
I’m fascinated by patterns. And I love reading pattern instructions. So I’m a fan of pattern books, and have rather a lot of them. But I do know they’re not to everyone’s taste !
Of course I can’t guarantee these will fit either your clothing style or your learning style. But at least these books aren’t full of little mistakes !

The books in this post start right at the beginning. These are for people taking their first (trembling ?) steps with fabric, patterns, sewing machine.

Books at this level are meant to be worked through in sequence. Later projects in these books use skills learned in earlier ones.

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Love at First Stitch
This is by Tilly and the Buttons. If you find the jump from a scarf to pyjama pants too large, she has on-line video classes for elastic waist skirt and knit top on her site.


starts with a scarf.
full size traceable patterns.
instructions with photos, techniques described within projects.
bust 30 – 44 in., B cup, waist = bust – 6″, hips = bust + 3″.

Both dresses have fitted bodices. Patterns are designed to fit an ‘average’ body shape. Many people need to alter a pattern to get the best fit for their specific body.
She doesn’t say much about this. Our bodies differ in so many ways, fit is a huge topic. Even if you follow only a little of her instructions, at least you will have dresses that fit better than Ready To Wear !
Some people find fitting a challenging process. Not for early beginners. If you want to do more fitting work later, look at a specialist fitting resource – suggestions in this post on common fit challenges.

I think there’s a big jump for many learners, from making pj pants to making a zipped skirt.
Want to take things a bit more slowly, between making a scarf and making your first garment ?
Try this group of the 10 easiest sewing projects, from
Get familiar with seams and hems and putting pieces of fabric together to make things, before you move on.

There’s a list of beginners books which start with projects easier than clothes, on the Projects page – link at top of screen.

The next book starts with similar craft projects, instructions with drawings not photos.

Stitches and Pins
slower introduction, aimed mainly at children, sized also for adults.
(Assumes someone sets up the sewing machine for you. Tilly has a series on this, starting here.)
10 craft projects before the clothes.

(drawing shows inside of top, simple reversible vest, elastic waist skirt and pants)
full size traceable patterns
bust 27 – 38 in.
(separate pattern for matching garments for 18″ doll, uses instructions in main book)
(Buckles and Bobbins is matching book for boys)

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if you’d like more support with sewing skills while working through one of these books, try a beginners sewing ‘bible’. These are good.
Me and my sewing machine
Sewing machine basics.

Already have a bit of sewing confidence ? here are some suggested books for :
Near beginners
Advanced beginners

Enjoy written instructions ?
Pick a book to work through at this level. You’ll have a marvellous collection of basic sewing skills 😀
After ‘Stitches and Pins’ you’ll be able to use a large range of patterns labelled Easy. After ‘Love at First Stitch’ you’ll be able to use Vogue patterns Very Easy patterns, which are more difficult than most other Easy patterns.

I find I feel more confident if I’ve watched someone doing a process. Lots of links in the right side menu to on-line video classes and DVDs.
Though I like to combine that with a book with good photos or drawings so I haven’t got to remember all the details of what to do.

Good Luck for trying 😀

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