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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Books for Beginners ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Books for Beginners
please list your faves for our beginners!
SouthernStitch
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SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
Intermediate
LA
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Date: 10/31/06 12:16 PM

Please help us list some good beginner sewing books! It's been noticed by more than one of us that many of the beginners are having trouble with pattern instructions. I think it might be helpful for us to list our favorite beginner sewing books. I did a search and came up with nothing specifically for beginners.
Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book: reviews HERE. This book was simply the best for me. Easy to understand, and it's the only beginning sewing book I needed.

------
Bernina 780, and 530
Juki TL2010
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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NM USA
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Date: 10/31/06 1:08 PM

A lot of people rave about the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing.

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Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

Ragna
Ragna
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TX USA
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Date: 10/31/06 4:04 PM

I'm a beginner, and the books that I've found most useful are:

- Wendy Mullin's Sew U. It's a gentle introduction to garment sewing, and it comes with patterns to learn from. The only problem is that you can't buy the patterns anywhere else, and the book doesn't teach you how to trace them off. I knew that I *should have* traced them off, but I didn't know how. I already almost ruined the skirt pattern, and I'm terrified to cut out the shirt and pants!

- Sandra Betzina's More Fabric Savvy is useful, even though I'm not sewing with fancy fabrics yet. It tells me the sort of needle size, stitch length, presser foot, etc. needs I should be thinking about when I approach any new project.

- I bought a copy of the '70s edition of the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, and it's fantastic. Some of it is still over my head, but the stuff that I understand is clear and easy to use. (I also bought the Vogue Guide to Sewing, and their instructions aren't nearly as easy to follow.)

Speech girl
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Speech girl  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/31/06 4:19 PM

When I was a beginner, I learned a lot from the Kwik Sew books. "Sewing for Toddlers" was the first one I had, then "Method for Easy sewing" , then the children's and baby books. They taught me so much about fabric selection, seam finishes, how to construct t-shirts, pants etc--and the books come with patterns too! I also liked the design change instructions.

I haven't sewn anything from it yet, but from leafing through it I would think Amy Butler's "In Stitches" would be good for a beginner.
The Reader's Digest Sewing book is a good reference
I also like the "Easy Guide to" (pants, skirts, tops and t-shirts, linings) series from Taunton Press

Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina is a great advanced beginner book.

------
Kim
formerly mikkim
http://girlwithatimemachine.wordpress.com/

christine A

christine A
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FL USA
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Date: 10/31/06 4:51 PM

As a beginner I have several favs:

For construction tips and techniques:
1) Vogue sewing, and readers digest and Simplicity Simply the best sewing book
2) Power sewing and More power sewing by S. Betzina
3) Singer sewing manual- this is the old vintage green book- great book, easy to understand, also shows how to use all the attachments for vintage machines.
4)all Kwik sew books are great!!!
5) Stretch and Sew method by Ann Pearson- great vintage book for knits

For fit:
1) Fit for Real People by Palmer/Pletsch-uses slash and spread technique along with tissue fitting
2) Sew Fit Manual- uses pivot and slide manual, available on ebay
3)How to make clothes that fit and flatter, by A. Margolis- another vintage gem of a book showing how to get good fit and alter design

For tracing patterns and marking pattern pieces:
1) patternreview.com - this site has it all, tips, techniques, links to get one on the right path
2)Threads magazine - their website has great video clips on many techniques, not sure if pattern marking is there but it is wonderful to watch all the techniques
3) Ask the fabric store clerk how to transfer marking or copy patterns. I am sure they will give good info. try several methods to see which you prefer.



slanden99
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slanden99
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TX USA
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Date: 10/31/06 5:10 PM

My favorites are: Simply the Best Sewing Book, Fit for Real People, Fast Fit, and More Fabric Savvy. Everything else I have is only supplements to these essential basics.

bunz
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bunz
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VA USA
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Date: 10/31/06 5:19 PM

I find I use Sandra Betzina's "Fast Fit" more than any other alteration book.

Nina

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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Date: 10/31/06 6:17 PM

If I were teaching someone to sew, I would give them

--The Reader's Digest book, for sewing techniques
--Fit for Real People
--More Fabric Savvy
--A "fun" intro book with patterns and projects, such as Sew U, or Sew Fast, Sew Easy, to get them sewing right away.

And some Kwik Sew patterns.

ETA: I love Sandra Betzina's other books and I personally think they are the best, but unfortunately I think they are not so well-organized for absolute beginners.
-- Edited on 10/31/06 6:18 PM --
-- Edited on 10/31/06 6:19 PM --

tlmck3
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tlmck3
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IL USA
Member since 7/11/05
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Date: 10/31/06 6:50 PM

More Fabric Savvy and Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina, definitely.

I haven't looked at the Reader's Digest or Simplicity book, but a good basic like these is definitely a must have. I use my old, thrift store basic sewing books a lot. (I actually dislike the Vogue and Butterick "basic" books, which I also have. Almost never look at them.)

Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People are great, but overwhelming, I think, for a true beginner.

A subscription to Threads Magazine--lots of confidence-boosting, easy, pretty projects show up over the course of a year.
-- Edited on 10/31/06 6:52 PM --

------
I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

Chuck Close, painter, printmaker, photographer

Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage

St. Augustine

NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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NM USA
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Date: 10/31/06 7:00 PM

I like the Singer series of books. Step by step instructions and lots of illustrations. I also like Taunton's "Easy Guide" series.

------
Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

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