How to Sew: 6 Advanced Sewing Books

Do you secretly dream of designing and making your own clothes? If so, then I have a few books on how to sew that you might be interested in reading.

A few months ago, I introduced you to a few of my favorite beginner’s knitting books. Today, I’m sharing my favorite advanced sewing books for those of you who want to expand your skills or possibly try your hand at fashion design.

I need to give you a fair warning ~ some of these books are pretty detailed. However, if you take your time and digest the information slowly, you will find yourself creating any garment you can dream up. Best of all, most of these books can be found for FREE at your local library.

advanced sewing books

1. Make Your Own Dress Patterns

by Adele P. Margolis

Make Your Own Dress Patterns: With over 1,000...
  • Margolis, Adele P. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 480 Pages - 10/06/2006 (Publication Date) - Dover Publications (Publisher)

The first time I opened this book, I wanted to weep. At first glance, this book seems complicated unless you’ve been to fashion design school. But, dig a little deeper, and you will find a real treasure of information about how to take a basic sloper (simplified pattern pieces) and turn it into any dress you desire.

The book uses drawings, not photos, to explain pattern-making. Don’t be put off ~ it’s written by someone gifted at demystifying pattern design.

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2. Shirtmaking-Developing Skills for Fine Sewing

By David P. Coffin

Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing
  • Coffin, David Page (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 10/01/1998 (Publication Date) - Taunton Press (Publisher)

I have a slight obsession with making collared shirts. Blame this book. Reading it will make you want to learn how to make tailored shirts, too. Mr. Coffin is a self-taught sewist and a gifted artist who did all of the illustrations for the book. You will be inspired and entertained ~ I promise.

If you watch Project Runway, a recent episode had one of the contestants botching a men’s dress shirt ~ all I could think of was this book.

Read more: Best sewing machine for professional dressmakers buying guide

3. The Colette Sewing Handbook

by Sarai Mitnick

The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and...
  • Interweave Press
  • 074962013019
  • KP-15452
  • Mitnick, Sarai (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Every sewist I know loves this book. It sits right on the fence between novice and intermediate. If you are new to sewing, you will learn a lot. If you are more advanced, you will be inspired by the overall beauty found within the book. The instructions are thorough, and the included patterns are timeless. The first time I open this book, I knew I had to have it ~ I purchased it with a 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s.

4. The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting

by Sarah Veblen

The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting
  • Veblen, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 01/01/2012 (Publication Date) - Quarry Books (Publisher)

Do you dream of clothes that perfectly fit your body? Then, this is the book to get. Photo is the operative word here. Lots of large, clear pictures showing how to take a commercial pattern and turn it into a garment that perfectly fits your body. The comprehensive details of fitting are broken down into layman’s terms. If you want to sew well-fitting clothes, then look no further.

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5. Fitting Finesse

by Nancy Zieman

Fitting Finesse
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Zieman, Nancy Luedtke (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 12/06/1995 (Publication Date) - UNKNO (Publisher)

This book has been around for a long time and is out of print. However, it can be found at the library or easily purchased used. What I like about it is its simplicity. If you’ve never tried to alter a pattern before, this book will teach you a few simple techniques that help you understand fitting. Granted, you won’t get an exquisitely fitted garment, but using these techniques, you should be able to make minor adjustments for an excellent fit ~ such as hemlines, waistlines, and sleeves. Think of it as fitting with training wheels.

6. Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

by Gretchen Hirsch

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern...
  • Hirsch, Gretchen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 09/01/2012 (Publication Date) - STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book (Publisher)

I do not own this book {yet}, but I have thoroughly reviewed it while sipping numerous coffees at Barnes and Noble. Fans of Gretchen’s Blog will love her book. Do you dream of creating couture-like garments that are meant to last? Do you want to really learn how to sew structured garments or tailor a suit? Then, this is the book for you.

For me, I continue to be inspired every time I open one of these books. While I have not mastered the majority of skills that they teach, I can say that I learn something new each time I open one of these advanced sewing books ~ and I’m betting the same will be true for you.

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I’m Jane and I’m the editor of! I am a long-time craft and clothing design fan who has been writing about these interests for years.

I have spent many hours studying knitting, weaving, sewing, embroidery, and quilting as well as learning about various brands and models of sewing gear and machines. In addition to this research, my work involves publishing information related to these topics in ways that will be informative for both amateur crafters like me and more experienced sewers!