Great Books for Learning (or Teaching Someone Else) to Sew

on October 29 | in Books, Teach a Friend to Sew | by | with 3 Comments

We hope you’re enjoying our Teach a Friend to Sew series. Shea Henderson’s informative School of Sewing: Learn it, Teach it, Sew Together guided our series. Shea is a talented sewing instructor, pattern writer and a modern quilting movement advocate. We think her book is a great place to start as you learn to sew or teach others!

We asked Shea to share some additional sewing titles. Once you’ve started out, where do you go? Does she have recommendations for must-see books for beginning sewists and quilters?

The answer was a resounding: “Yes!” Here is Shea’s list of Great Books for Learning (or Teaching Someone Else) to Sew. (We’d love to hear from you too. Do you have a favorite title we missed?!)


When a new sewists sets out to expand their skill set, they often look for great project books. Of course I am biased when I recommend my book School of Sewing: Learn it, Teach it, Sew Together, but here are other favorites I like to share, in no particular order:

Handmade Style: 23 Must-Have Basics to Stitch, Use, and Wear: When you’ve got a simple bag or two under your belt, try your topstitching and interfacing skills out on one of the fantastic and functional projects in Anna Graham’s book. I dare you to not want to make everything in this one!

The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress: If sewing clothing is your thing, learn from one of the independent sewing pattern masters, Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns. Her book covers everything from finishing techniques to fit and includes patterns for five wardrobe staples.

For quilting making, I love recommending Elizabeth Hartman’s tried and true title The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker and Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making: From Color to Quilting: 10 Design Workshops by Your Favorite Teachers.

If improvising your quilts is your thing, check out Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen as well as Improvising Tradition: 18 Quilted Projects Using Strips, Slices, and Strata.

If you like to teach others, don’t miss Abby Glassenberg’s e-book, Get To Know Your Sewing Machine: A Teacher’s Guide. She’s a former educator and includes tips for everything from advertising and room set up to pricing your class and troubleshooting.

To make sweet gifts for the kids in my life, I love turning to Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children by Liesl Gibson.

If a young person in your life takes an interest along with you, steer them toward A Kid’s Guide to Sewing: Learn to Sew with Sophie & Her Friends 16 Fun Projects You’ll Love to Make & Use by Sophie Kerr, Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make and Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing; 20 Projects Kids Will Love to Make by Amie Plumley and Andria Lisle and any of the We Love to Sew: 28 Pretty Things to Make: Jewelry, Headbands, Softies, T-shirts, Pillows, Bags & More books by Annabel Wrigley.

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3 Responses to Great Books for Learning (or Teaching Someone Else) to Sew

  1. Ginger says:

    That Colette book is great if you want to sew clothing. I gave it to my daughter along with a sewing kit last Christmas and my mom gave her a used sewing machine. The book is thorough and has great pictures and fun, fresh styles. She sewed a pair of pajama pants but I’m not sure what else (lives across country).

  2. Jamie says:

    Sewing School is awesome for kids!!!!

  3. Lorraine says:

    I got talked into a basic patchwork class at the craft centre I go to. With trepidation I made samples for Christmas drink coasters, placemats and table runners, typed notes and armed with cutters, mats and material off i went. After a semester and half of this one, I am thrilled with my students progress, seeing the joy in their faces as they achieve things. Only one “sort of sewed”, of the six I am teaching. I have now made a basic quilt of 9 different blocks, typed the notes and this is the new project for next year. We now have six new patchworkers in our community.

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