Whether you’re a sewing beginner or a more advanced seamstress, sewing books with patterns are always a winner. I’ve been sewing for years and still love a good sewing book that tucks patterns away in the back cover for us to trace off!
And nowadays there are also sewing books that come with downloadable patterns to print off. Win-win!
There are sewing books designed for those who are just learning to sew, and then there are the more advanced sewing books for those who’ve been hanging out behind a sewing machine for a while.
There are also sewing books with patterns for knit fabric, and sewing books with woven fabric patterns. There really is no end to the different books you can buy that have patterns included, so I’ve broken them down for you here, highlighting only the absolute best, and I’ve included an excellent book with men’s patterns in too – for those readers who want to make more menswear!
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase at no further cost to you.
Sewing Books With Knit Patterns
There are now many sewing books with patterns focusing on just sewing garments with knit fabrics. And whilst I do like some knit garments in my wardrobe, I’m kind of fussy about what.
For knit patterns, I’m more likely to buy individual sewing patterns that reflect my style, but as this is a post about sewing books with patterns, I’m gonna get to the point, and share the two I consider to be the absolute best out there!
I could share more, but we’re focusing on the very top of the crop! 😉
1. A Beginners Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics by Wendy Ward
This is one of my all time favourite sewing books. It’s a new release from Wendy, having been published in early 2018, and I love it. It’s one of the few books that didn’t go into storage when I moved to Wales for a year!
I’m going to add that this book is so good, it was nominated as ‘Best Craft Book’ in the 2018 British Sewing Awards!
It also features 6 sewing projects, which can be adapted into many more with the variations that Wendy supplies!
The patterns are enclosed in a plastic folder at the back of the book so you can keep them folded up when not in use.
First up, this book contains lots of useful tips and techniques for sewing with knit fabrics, making it an essential resource for sewing beginners who have yet to try sewing with knitted fabrics!!
You can buy your very own signed copy here directly from Wendy (recommended!) or if you’re elsewhere in the world you can buy a non signed version from Amazon here!
As soon as my sewing machine arrived in the Netherlands, I’ll be whizzing up some more of the Monsal Lounge Pants! I need them for this damp, rainy weather!
2. Tilly And The Buttons Stretch
This book from Tilly and the Buttons came out in the Spring of 2018, and is also a good one for sewing beginners and more advanced seamstresses!
I find the patterns a little ‘young’ for my taste, but to be honest, if they were in woven fabrics there are several that I would adapt and make for myself. I just don’t wear a lot of knit garments.
That said I do love the Stella hoodie as a pattern, and will probably make one or two up in the summer for the Dutch autumn nights!
If you’d like to see more about Stretch: Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing With Knit Fabrics, click here!
Sewing Books With *Mostly* Woven Patterns
When it comes to sewing my own clothes – or even pattern drafting my own designs – I consistently prefer to work with woven fabric. Perhaps it is my love of structured fabrics, but I always feel like I can achieve a more distinctive and unique look in woven fabrics.
To that end, here are my absolute favourite sewing books with patterns for woven garments, though some do contain knitted sewing pattern options too!
3. Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book: A Modern Guide To Sewing Fabulous Vintage Styles
Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book is a must have for anyone that loves vintage inspired dresses! With patterns (and instruction!) for 23 dresses you are sure to find at least one dress that you want to make over and over – especially with all the possible mix and match elements!
I love dresses but haven’t worn one in a while due to living in a remote place in Wales. Now though? I’ll be making the Polka Dot Day Dress from the book – only, in a fabric other than polka dots! 😉
4. Breaking The Pattern: A Modern Way To Sew by Named Patterns
I was drooling over this book so much when it was released back in November 2018, and refused to buy it in case it turned out to be a Christmas gift!
Created by Finnish designers Saara and Laura Huhta who design sewing patterns under the ‘Named Clothing’ brand, this book is a must have for anyone that loves contemporary Scandinavian design.
I love the ethics of Named Clothing, and this beautiful book is another way for me to enjoy slow fashion, making myself some beautiful pieces.
As this is a post about sewing books with patterns, you’ll be pleased to know that there are ten patterns included in the book, and each has two variations – so 20 designs from Named Clothing at a bargain price! 🙂
Also note that the projects start from easy and get harder as you progress through the book!
5. Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials For The Modern Wardrobe by Sato Watanabe
I love this book! One of my very favourite designers when I first ‘got into fashion’ was Yohji Yamamoto. I thought the Japanese’s design aesthetic was simple stunning.
I then later discovered the playfulness of Commes des Garçons – another Japanese brand, designed by Res Kawakubo.
This book from Sato Watanabe feels much like a mashup of Yohji Yamamoto and Commes des Garçons – and I love it!
There are 26 sewing patterns included, but they are all mashed together, looking like quite a mess! You can download the pattern file from the website, print and trace them off, but I will note that the patterns are only graded for UK sizes 8-16. I’m the very last size in this range (and much taller too) so there’s always work involved for me.
If Japanese sewing patterns interest you and you’ll like this book!
6. Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns: A Guide To Customizing A Hand-Stitched Alabama Chanin Wardrobe
If you are a fan of real slow making of garments, this book is the cream of the crop! Alabama Chanin is an advocate of slow hand stitching, and this book contains simple designs that you’re sure to love.
The books contains instructions for sewing and adapting the 12 patterns, and is also a great guide to helping you further customise the designs.
With a CD of patterns included, you could combine the patterns from within this book with techniques from any book on my book list in this post to create some truly unique hand made, slow stitched clothes!
7. The Makers Atelier: The Essential Collection by Frances Tobin
When I first saw this book, I felt it would be a little ‘old’ for me… Oh, how wrong I was!
I love the draped front top the most – I’m a sucker for a drapey jersey top! -and will soon be making up at least two of the stretch pencil skirts for the sunny spring days I’m anticipating here in the Netherlands! (Is that really wishful thinking?)
If you like classic – yet adaptable – patterns with your sewing books, this one from The Maker’s Atelier is a great one to buy.
Sewing Books With Menswear Patterns
I think this topic could use an article of its own, but for now, let me tell you about a recent purchase I made – recommended to me by an existing reader – that I think men will love, and anyone who sews for men too!
The book is ‘The Gentlemen’s Wardrobe‘ by Vanessa Mooncie, and it is fab!
Full disclaimer: I haven’t tried making anything in the book yet as it only arrived a week ago, so I will update this section in the next few weeks when I have made something for my partner, but at first glance the book has everything needed to help men sew a capsule wardrobe for themselves.
The projects included are:
- Summer shirt
- Boxer shorts
- Dressing gown
- Messenger bag
- Bow tie
- Flat cap
That’s 14 good projects right there to get started with.
As well as the instructions for each project, there are patterns in the back which you would trace off to use (this is why I haven’t started on one yet) and there’s also a detailed section on different sewing techniques, which are illustrated in the same style throughout.
I should note that there were no projects (that I could see) requiring knit fabrics – but how many ‘gentlemen’ do you see wandering around in a t-shirt and joggers? So the clue is very much in the title.
For anyone new to sewing menswear garments, this would make a wonderful and thorough introduction – you should check out my full review of the book.
7 Best Sewing Books With Patterns: Final Thoughts
So there you have it – my seven best sewing books with patterns, and one for the men too. I love each of these books for different reasons, and happily recommend them all – though do be sure to check that they offer your sizing before you buy, so that you aren’t disappointed!
If you have any thoughts on the books – or perhaps your own recommendations? – do let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy the articles I have on different sewing patterns! Learn about the best jumpsuit patterns, the best plus size sewing patterns for beginners, easy sewing patterns for beginners, simple summer sewing patterns for women and the best Scandinavian sewing patterns – because who doesn’t love a Scandi pattern?
Eve Tokens (aka The Creative Curator) is a fashion designer, creative pattern cutter and sewing pattern designer.
Eve graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design from the University of The Creative Arts in the UK, has a BTEC diploma in Creative Pattern Cutting, a Foundation Degree in Art & Design from Wimbledon College of Art and gained extensive experience in the fashion industry by interning and freelancing for London based fashion brands – Hardy Amies, Roland Mouret, Peter Pilotto and others.
As well as running her own small sustainable fashion brand, Eve has more than 25 years experience sewing and making clothes for herself and family members.
Tuesday 3rd of May 2022
I have been a fan of your tutorials ever since I found the 'jet pocket' tutorial (no I haven't tried it yet, BUT, it is on my 'to-do' list!).
A great source for menswear patterns along with some great tips and instructions is ' The Gentleman's Wardrobe' by Vanessa Mooncie. I believe this book has been recently updated and reprinted and contains several traceable patterns in a nice little folder attached to the back cover. Maybe worthwhile taking a look and recommending it to the male sewers amongst us as well as the girls with fellas to sew for too. This was the first book I found completely devoted to menswear (with patterns) and cannot recommend it enough!
David Coffin's books are also good for those that want extra detail, some of them have links to downloadable patterns too. They are, however, not for the fainthearted and tend to be very much more advanced.
Keep up the good work in sharing what you do, you are now one of my first 'go-to' sources of reference.
Saturday 21st of May 2022
@Wayne Andrews, just to let you know that I ordered the book and have reviewed it in full. Would love to know your thoughts? https://www.thecreativecurator.com/the-gentlemans-wardrobe-book-review/
Wednesday 4th of May 2022
Hey Wayne! Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. You've made my day! And the recommendations too - I actually had the shirt making one during my time at fashion school! I've now ordered the Gentleman's Wardrobe one to check out before adding them to the list! Thanks again, Eve
Saturday 11th of December 2021
Hi Eve I sometimes find the pattern books a bit overwhelming but the way you explain them make them seem more easily understandable. Thank you so much for your patience and time explaining everything.
Tuesday 14th of December 2021
Val, thank you so much for taking the time to leave such lovely feedback. It makes it all the more worthwhile knowing I am helping. ❤️
Saturday 5th of September 2020
Thanks so much for this post! This list is on point and your reviews make it helpful and exciting! I am familiar with almost all of these books! I have quite of few of these on my shopping list for my sewing book collection.
Thursday 10th of September 2020
Hi Nilsa! Oh yay! I think I personally love the Named one best of all! Hope you enjoy your books when you've added them to your collection! :)
Friday 4th of September 2020
I have really enjoyed this list and the list of pattern making books. I have a suggestion. While this book belongs in the list of pattern making books I think it should go here because it is sort of transitional. In the chapter on necklines, for example, it gives you the information to change the neckline of a bodice block into quite a few different styles. For me it taught me how to and gave me the confidence to hack patterns which then led to wanting to learn to draft pattern. The book is "Make Your Own Patterns" by René Bergh.
Thursday 10th of September 2020
That you Randy! I'll take a look - I try to only recommend books that I currently have or previously owned, but am always open to buying a new book! :)
Thursday 2nd of May 2019
Thank you Eve! I enjoyed your post and am going to try and look through a few of your book suggestions.
Thursday 9th of May 2019
Ah, thanks Kim! Let me know if you have any questions about any of them!