12 of the best sewing books in 2020


We look back at 12 of our favourite
dressmaking sewing books released in 2020!

1. House of Pinheiro’s Work to Weekend Wardrobe:
Sew your Own Capsule Collection

By Rachel Pinheiro
ISBN: 9781446307335

Revitalise your wardrobe with this capsule collection from sewing expert Rachel from the House of Pinheiro. There’s a main pattern for every day of the week with offers options on how to dress it up or down for a meeting or weekend. There’s some great advice from her on how to change the look of the pieces through fabric choices, styling tips, and clever techniques. Rachel re-invents the basics like a jumpsuit, kimono dress and a trench coat to create an exciting collection of seven patterns, which will create numerous different outfits.

“Have you ever sat and stared in your wardrobe wondering what to wear? This book features the perfect separates to sew that will take you through the working week and into the weekend!”

Where to buy
Published by David and Charles. To buy for £15.99 – click here

2. Sewing Basics for Everybody
By Wendy Ward
978-1782497509

This books explains how to make beautiful basics and work with woven and knitted fabrics! There are five styles of button-down shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, T-shirts, three different styles of trousers, jackets and jumpsuits ­– all made in versatile fabrics.
The patterns included come on three full-scale, multi-sized pull out pattern sheets. With 10 sizes available for each pattern – there’s no need for downloading or scaling-up! Just trace off the pieces that you need and off you go!
These basics garments are perfect for all genders, ages and body shapes! And you’ll want to turn to the patterns time and again. The projects have several versions from easy to more technically challenging making them suitable for beginners and more experienced dressmakers.

Where to buy
Published by CICO Books. To purchase for £9.09 – click here

3. Tilly and the Buttons: Make It Simple Easy
By Tilly Walnes
ISBN: 9781787134676

This book is full of quick and easy sewing projects to help you get your creative fix, no matter how busy you are. Award-winning sewing author, pattern designer and working mum, Tilly shares her sewing shortcuts and timesaving tactics for squeezing sewing into even the smallest window of time. The 24 simple, modern dressmaking projects can be whipped up in a few hours. The full-scale dressmaking patterns include sizes 6–24 (UK) and 2–20 (US) and feature a classic T-shirt and snuggly cardigan to a cute pinafore and stylish playsuit.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll find easy-peasy projects and fuss-free techniques to kick start your sewing journey. If you’re an experienced sewer, you’ll enjoy the satisfyingly quick wardrobe-building patterns and tips for speeding up your stitching.

“Fans of T&TB will love this gorgeously photographed book full of tilly-goodness!”

Where to buy
Published by Quadrille and available from them for £25. To buy it for £17.49 – click here

4. Mending
Mend your clothes for a longer life!
from Selkie Patterns

This e-book features six techniques to mend your clothes, and is perfect forbeginners, and those who want to look after clothes already in their wardrobe. Written by the British duo behind the Selkie pattern brand – this full-colour digital book features step-by-step instructions and images to guide you through all the mending techniques. Learn how to mend all sorts of clothing from denim and knitwear to how to make the most of visible mending. Learn how to mend a tear, undo a hem and sew on a button properly!

Where to download
To get your hands on a digital copy of this book for £8.50, visit www.selkiepatterns.co.uk

5. The Great British Sewing Bee: Sustainable Style
By Caroline Akselson and Alexandra Bruce
9781787135369

The BBC2 primetime series, The Great British Sewing Bee returned to the nation’s screens in 2020 and to accompany the sixth series of this flagship show, The Great British Sewing Bee: Sustainable Style book allows sewers of all levels on their creative journey to reduce, reuse and recycle – ultimately creating their own considered closet.
Starting with the essentials, you’ll learn how to maintain and care for your sewing machine, find out the secrets to using an overlocker (and what to do if you don’t have one) and the key to pattern matching. There are 27 projects for women and men to choose from that will ease you into the world of sustainable sewing.
This book showcases lots of sustainable and natural fabrics, interspersed with sustainable tips like creating an eco-friendly sewing space, how to better care for your garments, guidance on recycling old clothes, making repairs and using up fabric scraps! It will become an indispensable reference to a more considered approach to sewing, that will encourage you to create long-lasting projects to cherish.

Where to buy
Published by Quadrille for £27 from www.hardiegrant.com. To buy it for £17.74 – click here

6. The Ultimate Thread Guide
By Becky Goldsmith
9781617458705

Are you unsure what threads to use for your sewing project? This reference guide features a handy thread use key that’s organised by thread manufacturer and shows the most common uses for each and every thread. This book will help you determine which one is right for your project, plus the inside scoop on thread types and fibres, thread weight, choosing the correct sewing machine needle, and how thread is made.

Where to buy
Published by C&T Publishing and available for £12.99 from ww.searchpress.com. Or to buy it for £10.65 – click here

7. Dressed: Design and sew your wardrobe for you!
By Deer and Doe
Deer and Doe finished 2019 by releasing its first publication: Dressed – Design and sew your wardrobe for you! Now its available in English and French eBook versions.
Created by Eléonore Klein, this digital book features handy worksheets to fill out to help you get a grip on what you need for your handmade wardrobe, how to go about choosing colours and planning your sewing projects. The method outlined will help you create a complete and coherent capsule wardrobe. The eBook comes with 9 sewing patterns that will combine to create over 100 outfits!
We love the duster coat, as it’s perfect for the changing seasons. The patterns consist of 18 variations that you can customise by choosing your favourite colours and fabrics, and styles! The patterns come in sizes 34-52 and there are illustrated tutorials to adjust patterns to your body shape.

We say
“This is really well-written and has everything you need from start to finish to create beautiful garments for your wardrobe.”


Where to buy
To get your hands on this digital book for €22 – click here

8. Sewing Activewear
How to make your own professional-looking athleisure wear
By Johanna Lundstorm
at The Last Stitch
Want to start making your own active wear or are ready to step up your sewing game and achieve more professional athleisure wear? This e-book is a great sewing guide for creating your own workout clothes that are functional and stylish. It features fully illustrated step-by-step tutorials covering everything from beginner techniques and professional fashion industry methods. There’s a comprehensive chapter on suitable fabrics and extensive guides to the best seams to use on a domestic sewing machine.

Where to buy
To download this e-book for $19.90 – click here

9. My Capsule Wardrobe – Summer Dreaming
By Sew Over it

This is the latest eBook from Lisa Comfort at Sew Over It, and features five stylish sewing patterns for the summer. The holiday-inspired patterns are easy-to-wear and will add a touch of style to your holiday plans! There are five patterns, which can be expanded into a full capsule wardrobe with twelve variations. It includes the Ravello dress (shown here), Alba skirt, tops, Porto trousers and jumpsuit, Siena Top and Sorrento jacket that all mix and match effortlessly to give a wardrobe packed with summer looks.
Inside this book, there is a mix of quick sew-in-an-afternoon projects and more satisfying involved makes with step-by-step guides to making, fitting tips and fabric inspiration. This is Sew Over It’s first fully zip-free (but lots of pockets) eBook. The patterns come in the new extended range 6-30 (UK).

Where to buy
To get your hands on this book for £30 – click here

10. Sew
Step by Step – Design, Make and Mend
By Alison Smith
9780241412404

Discover how to read patterns, adapt them to your body measurements, and find the right fabric for every project with an easy-to-use guide to different materials with this book from Alison. With more than 200 sewing techniques – this fully illustrated guide includes how to insert collars, sleeves, and pockets, and how to customise your garments with delicate finishing touches like appliqué and quilting.

Where to buy
Published by Search Press and available for £14.99 from www.search press.com. Or to get a copy for £7.00 – click here


11. The Art of the Black Dress
Illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg
9781784882785

Featuring stunning illustrations throughout by Libby VanderPloeg, this is the perfect read for anyone who loves fashion, and appreciates the power of the black dress. More than 70 years ago, legend Coco Chanel debuted the first little black dress! And the LBD is still a perennial fashion staple in our wardrobes today! And it will be impossible to have a ‘nothing to wear’ crisis with this trusty book on hand! 
The book celebrates this staple garment, offering ideas on how to get the most from this best-loved piece, and catalogues the most iconic black dresses throughout history including Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy number in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to Princess Diana’s 1996 ‘revenge dress’ and Elizabeth Hurley’s game-changing Versace safety-pin piece!
The book explains how to transform your dress from office-worthy to special occasion with a few simple accessory tweaks. Dress it up with heels and jewellery, or dress it down with your favourite sneakers and from sexy to timeless, bodycon to maxi – there’s a LBD for everyone!

Where to buy
Published by Hardie Grant. To get your copy for £7.99 – click here

12. Your Skirt, Your Way
By Jenniffer Taylor
9781782215936
Draft your block, choose your shape, and customise your own design says Jenniffer Taylor! This brilliantly simple book teaches you exactly how to design and create your own gorgeous skirts, with no need for shop-bought patterns. Create your own block and toile using just four body measurements. Select your skirt shape, add the fittings and fastenings and put the whole thing together!
With clear step-by-step photography and easy-to-follow instructions, Jenniffer will show you how to mix and match the design elements you really want to make your perfect garment. Choose from A-line, flared, gathered, pencil and pleated shapes, and from pockets, zips, buttons and yokes. This book contains 10 inspiring skirt options!

“Fancy a go at drafting your own skirt patterns? Jenniffer makes every step easy to follow and there’s some lovely skirts to make!”

Where to buy
Published by Search Press and available for £9.79 – click here

To explore more books on dressmaking
from the experts – click here