Beginners' Guide Tools & Resources

How to Choose Good Sewing Books | Cutting & Tailoring Book to Buy

6 Reasons Why We Need Sewing Books |

Dress Making Books?

We have a good source of information available online all the time but if we are serious about learning correctly, it's important to have a hands-on book.  

Before we decide to have a sewing or cutting and tailoring book, we need to know why we really need one? A tutorial book helps in many ways, some of them are mentioned below :-

1. GET CLARITY - Different people have their own way of explaining things in sewing video tutorials. Watching multiple online tutorial videos may enhance our knowledge but at the same time, they may also leave us confused with contradicting explanations. Having a reference book would help in understanding the basic theory. Therefore, we would understand the video tutorials easily with conviction of right and wrong. 

2. ​SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO LEARNING - Personal interactions are enriching because they add more to our knowledge than just bookish text. But at the same time, we may miss certain important systematic points which may be missed in a short duration interactive learning session. If we refer a sewing book, it would help us learn the process systematically and correctly.

3. REFRESH KNOWLEDGE - Human brain loves consistency and repetition to keep information alive. Generally, if we do not sew regularly or we make dresses occasionally, we tend to forget certain things. It happened with me so many times that I come up with a great design but if I have to repeat the same design I tend to get goosebumps as I wonder how did I do that! Books provide us that guideline to follow each time as the basics never change. No matter how old the book is, we can always refer to the basics to  come up with newer designs and patterns.

4. GOOD NUMBER OF DESIGN PATTERNS - A book would always give us value for money. In fact, tremendous value that we really paid for. A book would cost meager but it would be a store house of pattern making techniques for hundreds of styles and designs. Learning becomes so much easy at our ​own convenient time.  Without spending years in a sewing class, we can learn and make things as and when we need, just by turning to the page number where we want to reach.

5. SKIP THE TRASH, LEARN WHAT YOU WANT TO LEARN - I remember I wanted to learn making my own simple Kurtis / tunic but could not learn correctly. I joined a fashion institute but they just taught me random useless things which I could not really utilize. Later I joined another fashion institute which took a pretty long time and 95% of file work taught me only 5% of dress making.  By referring to books on my own helped me skip the chapters I didn't need and doing what I wanted to learn without wasting my time. So, this is also one of the reasons why you may also like to refer to a cutting and tailoring / sewing or stitching book along side the usual sewing video tutorial learning.

6. DOCUMENTATION - Some of the sewing and dress making books have ​blank pages to do our pattern calculations, writing measurements etc. We can add our own notes and this personalized sewing book helps us in documenting our learning process.

​There are ample books on sewing | stitching which you can refer to but if you are a beginner they may seem something TOO MUCH for you to choose from. Let's find out how you can get the best sewing book for yourself

And even if you are an advanced dress maker, how to make the best use of these sewing books and resources?​

8 Tips to Buy a Sewing Book | Dress Making Books

ALL BOOKS ARE GOOD - Understand that different books were written for different purposes. All books are good but they may not be suitable for you. Know the purpose and stage of your learning. Choose a book most suitable for you. That would depend on the category you can relate to -

  • Beginner level sewing books - These books would take you through the entire process of beginning as a dress maker. As they say - well begun is half done! You need a book which is easy to understand, explained in detail and illustrates with pictures to make the steps understandable on your own.
  • Advanced learner books - You may not need basics of sewing here but drafting, pattern making with clarifications on sewing steps and important tips to make your work look more professional and fast would be beneficial.
  • Design reference books - These books are for dress makers but they do store pictures of latest fashion trends. These are design reference books for professionals or advanced level learners who wish to polish their skills on trying various different styled dresses. Generally, no pattern making or sewing instructions are given with the designs.
  • Pattern Making books - If you follow a pattern making book, you are able to make any dress of any size at your own. You don't have to worry about searching and buying ready made pattern pieces. Dress Pattern making books are also  refereed as tailoring cutting books but sewing instructions may not be given in detail.
  • Cutting and tailoring books - A version of the pattern making books, these books also mention the sewing or tailoring steps and instructions to follow while stitching.
  • Home based sewing learning - These books are written considering the need of home based sewing requirement. For a beginner or a person who is primarily willing to sew for herself / himself, these home based sewing learning books are helpful. They help you learn faster, without going in too much detail but with basics to make your own dresses and home decor.
  • Professional tailor master - These books are focused on the people who don't sew for themselves but for others in large scale industries. They need to work on high end technical machines to make dresses or related accessories. Therefore, these professional tailor master books are highly technical in language and approach to learning.
  • Tutorial books in foreign or regional languages - All the above books can be in different languages. Sometimes, a book is published in more than one language. You must choose the language of the book in which you understand better.



The books by Gayatri Verma, Zarapkar and Marfy are the ones I have used extensively. Rest of the design books you find in abundance in your neighborhood stationery shop also. The various design books are published by different publishing houses and the designs are very region specific.

I believe that cutting & tailoring or for that matter Fashion Designing is very individualistic. It’s just like cooking. If you know the basic ingredients right , you may cook anything. Likewise, if you know your basics right, you can stitch just anything.

You would get a lot of information which you can use for self-tutoring in my post Free Books on Cutting & Tailoring:

  • Cutting & Tailoring Course by Gayatri Verma (Hindi Edition) This book is very practical. Can be used for home tailoring purpose. Reading theory part is important to grasp the lay out and pattern cutting.
  • This would be a good book in Hindi for learning the tailoring yourself. There is also a book Rapidex Home Tailoring Course by Asha Rani Vohra which is practically useful by which anybody can master the art of Cutting & Tailoring.
  • Zarapkar System of Cutting– One of the best books on Cutting and understanding the details of cutting various types of garments. Some of the layouts you may find out here in this link.
  • Though, initially it takes a little bit more time to understand this book and its technical language but once you are absorbed into Cutting & Tailoring mode, this book is very useful in the long run. It can be referred time and again.
  • Design Books – When we start with our fabric, sometimes we need a guidance on the kind of design our fabric would be most suitable for.
  • For this purpose, it helps to refer to various design books to widen our color and design combinations and varied choices of layout of the available fabric.
  • There are many design books available in the market and many more are being launched every day.
  • Publishers keep updating them as per the market trends and fashion fads at any given point of time. Therefore, the designs in these books may change from time to time.
  • Region specific Cutting,Tailoring & Design books – These are regional fashion books. The language and cutting formulas would be very basic.
  • Western Wear & Designs – This is also one of my favorite book on western designs, which you may find useful too. With every Marfy magazine you get free patterns also. The designs shown are evergreen and can be adapted in various styles.

I hope these books are useful in your sewing journey as they have helped me in being a self learnt dress maker. What do you recommend as a good sewing learning book to the others who have just started their journey on road to dress making. Or do you remember some good reference books which others may find useful?

Leave a Reply