The Cottage Mama’s Favorites: Sewing Books

Sewing books and cook books – two of my most favorite things!  It might sound totally dorky, but give me a glass of red wine and a good sewing book to dive into and you’ve got my idea of a great evening!  I will never have too many nor ever get tired of looking at either of these genres of books.  They are so incredibly inspiring and constantly compel me to create.

Luckily for me, my local library does a great job of keeping up with the newest book releases in sewing and crafting.  Sometimes it might take me a few weeks to get my hands on a new release (or a few months if it’s Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts), but usually the wait is not too long.  Though I am a huge fan of the library (you can find us there weekly), sometimes there are books that you just want to own.

I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.  These are my go-to books, the ones that I refer to time and time again.

Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner.  I love this book for several reasons.  One, I think it has an amazing amount of basic information for the beginning sewer, but it also has new tips and tricks for even the advanced sewer.  I am constantly using this book as a reference (it’s on my night-stand as we speak).  And two, the photography is gorgeous.  I love looking at all the fun projects (which include organization, home decor., clothing, fashion, baby items) made from gorgeous fabrics.  There are super-simple projects to advanced projects and some really great out-of-the-box ideas.

One Yard Wonders.  This book is FULL of projects (over 100) and they all take one-yard of fabric or less.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many projects or ideas in one book.  The book includes pattern pieces for all the the projects (which like I said, is a lot!).  Such a fun book for someone who is looking to get into sewing.  Would be a really great gift for a teenager or young-adult as many of the projects are fun and hip.

Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross.  This is a book that I love, but I do not own.  I am constantly checking this one out of my local library.  I love it (don’t ask me why I haven’t purchased it yet).  The projects are for beginning to intermediate sewers.  Most of the projects are small on the amount of time that they take to complete (hence the title of the book), so if you are what I like to call, a “finisher” (those that wish they enjoyed the process of sewing, but really just like to see the end result), you will love this book!  Heather uses some of the most gorgeous fabrics and the photos are serious eye-candy.

Next to Anna Maria Horner, this is my other go-to reference book.  Bend-the-Rules with Sewing by Amy Karol has a wealth of information for the beginning sewer.  Everything from understanding different types of fabric, to sewing needles, embroidery stitches, how to sew on different types of buttons, making your own bias tape, and the list goes on!  My only issue with this book is that is does not include pattern pieces.  In the back of the book there are pictures of pattern pieces, but she instructs you on how large to blow them up and you have to get them printed somewhere………not my favorite.  But I still use this book a ton as a resource and for inspiration.

Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan.  I am in love with this book!  It has some of the most adorable little projects I have ever seen.  As most of you know, I love vintage inspired things, so this book has it all.  It’s got tons of vintage inspired projects that incorporate modern fabrics and have exceptional attention to detail with little buttons and fun trims.  If you are a fan of rick-rack, bias tape, fabric yo-yo’s and all things vintage, you must buy this book!

These are my two favorite serger books (The Complete Serger Handbook and Ready, Set, Serge).  I don’t know about you, but the manual that came with my serger (Brother 1034D) really did not tell me much.  I taught myself how to sew and I taught myself how to serge. 

I really think these two books have been my saving grace in regards to learning all there is to know about how to serge and the capabilities of my machine.  I seriously starred at my serger for days before I actually touched it for fear I would mess something up.  These books got me through and they can help you too!

Cottage Mama’s Note:  I have a couple other sewing books that should be arriving in the next week, so if I love them, I’ll be sure to let you know!

I do have two Amy Butler books, In-Stitches and Little Stitches for Little Ones and these are two I would not recommend unless you are an advanced sewer.  I find some of the instructions to be confusing and the projects use a TON of supplies (i.e. different types of interfacing, lots of fabric, ect.).  The pictures are beautiful, but I haven’t found the projects to be worth the time and effort.  In my opinion, I would check these out from the library first to see if they work for you and your sewing style.

What are some of your favorite sewing books?  What’s on your wish list?

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  1. I recently bought Sew Serendipity because the pictures (and patterns) are amazing! I haven’t tackled anything in there yet, but it is a wonderful book!


  2. I could really relate to what you said about reading sewing books and cookbooks. I love them. I don’t just passively read them, but I consume them. I also like to see various craft books. The sewing and craft books get my mind inspired to do far more than I ever get done. People have such fresh new ideas and I like to see what they make.

  3. Oh, Linds!! I love all these books too!! I was going to do a similar post on my blog…hmmm, will I choose different picks…we’ll see!!

  4. I own most of your favorites and really enjoy reading them, too! My newest fave is Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langsdon. This one includes 12 full-size patterns through size 12! My second fave is AMH’s Seams to Me. Happy sewing!

  5. We have the same idea of a great evening! I have many of those books, the serger one on order. I really love Ruth Singer’s The Sewing Bible and Jodi Kahn’s new Simply Sublime book is on my wishlist as well as any book about sewing Japanese clothes.

  6. Sorry for the second comment, I just recalled the new Sew Retro book is also on my wish list. Coincidentally, there is a giveaway on for it right now over at Betz White’s blog

  7. I LOVE your posts. Just looking at the covers of these books on your blog gives me a thrill. I never thought of checking out the library for sewing books. That’s a good idea. We’re headed there tomorrow, so I’m going to check for some of these. I just picked up Sandi Henderson’s new Sewing Bits & Pieces – I haven’t even looked through it yet because I really like to devour my craft books in a sunny, quiet window – and these days, those two things never occur at the same time. 🙂 Maybe I’ll try a glass of wine and look through it NOW!!

  8. So jealous! My library is terrible when it comes to this type of book. They barely carry any sewing books and the ones they do have are very “old school”, which isn’t always bad but in my case, it is! I was surprised at what you said about those Amy Butler books. I love them – especially Little Stiches. They’re very time consuming but pretty easy. I would love to get my hands on Handmade Beginnings by AMH.

  9. What a great post! I am going to bookmark this for future reference. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Thanks for stopping by. Your site is so cute. I wish I was better at sewing! I am your newest follower. I hope you have a great weekend!
    Bonnie 🙂

  11. All of these books sound great. I am definitely going to check out ‘Seams to Me’.

  12. So informative post. I want to continue and learn more about sewing in the future.

  13. My first sewing book was Bend the Rules. I love that book! I follow both Amy’s and Anna’s blogs and love them both. Anna’s got some beautiful fabric lines too. I’ve got Seams to Me on my Christmas wish list.

    ~ The Speckled Dog (craft-business book giveaway on my blog until 9/2)

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your favorite books! (Not to mention everything else on your lovely blog!) Anyway, my library actually has all but one of the books (The Complete Serger Handbook), so I’m going to be busy for the next little while… Thanks again!

  15. Me gusta mucho tu página, tienes tantas novedades hermosas, gracias por compartir, que Dios te siga bendiciendo, saludos