The easy way to learn sewing secrets from the pros

The thing about sewing is that you will never learn it all. And, that's one of the things I love about it. Perhaps you've been doing a particular technique the same way for years, but it's almost guaranteed there are several different ways of doing the same thing. Sometimes even better.

Oldies but goodies

Sewing Machine Secrets

In my free time I run a sewing group (a sewing support group is more like it). The things I've learned from members have made my sewing easier, more productive and certainly more professional. I wouldn't trade hands on learning for anything.

Next in importance to learning is my sewing library. Over the years I have amassed quite a selection and it's stocked with all kinds of books on techniques, tips, how-tos from the pros and most of them offer a different take!

If you are new to sewing you'll want to start collecting books that offer sewing tips. The things I look for in a sewing book are clear photos or illustrations that have step-by-step instructions of techniques. I personally am a visual and hands on learner. Having a well thought out visual presentation is a must for me.

Secondly, I love spiral bound books, they lie flat, and unless my cat is serving as my giant big-butt paperweight, spiral bound is nice to have.

Additionally, there are books in my library from the best seamstresses around. Nancy Zieman and Claire Shaeffer are just two experts that I have in my library. Their sewing knowledge is a must for beginner and pro.

Tip: Shaeffer's Fabric Guide is indispensable. Period. Plus, I sew vintage, and having vintage sewing books is a must. Check local flea markets, thrift stores, eBay and garage sales for these gems.

A relative newcomer Joi Mahon's new book Create the Perfect Fit: Measuring and Pattern Fitting for Real Sewing Solutions hit shelves back in 2014. To be honest I didn't think it would offer me much and came to it with a closed mind, I'm afraid to say. But, then I opened it up and absolutely LOVED IT.  I have a fitting issue that I've been trying to tackle for a while and her solution was magic. I love her charm, her approach and can't wait to see what else she does in the future. Oh, and the book is spiral bound.

Nicole Vasbinder is name that might not be familiar to new sewers, she has a series of books that are a must for seamstresses at any level. Her books offer great photos and illustrations, easy to follow instructions, timely advice and tips that will expand as your expertise does. I particularly like her new book Sewing Machine Secrets. I had no idea my sewing machine was keeping secrets from me but now I know a lot more, and I've had my machine for 10 years!

Let me know what your favorite tip is or your favorite sewing book is and you will be entered to win Sewing Machine Secrets by Nicole Vasbinder.


Happy sewing and reading!


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About Jill

I am the Online Editor for Sew Daily and I am so incredibly excited to meet everyone here on this amazing sewing community!

My first passion is garment sewing, I love vintage sewing patterns and working with knits and silks. I also get very jazzed about sewing pants and love learning couture techniques. What about you? I can't wait to get started finding out more about you and what you like to sew.

17 thoughts on “The easy way to learn sewing secrets from the pros

  1. I just received my mothers Bernina sewing machine after she passed away so your new book would be of great help to me. My mother taught me alot but I have so much more to learn.

  2. Before you cut your fabric, change the needle on your machine and perform any needed . When I have everything cut and prepared I just want to sew so I always put off the maintenance and then realize my mistake in the middle when a dull needle is annoying me.

  3. Before you cut your fabric, change the needle on your machine and perform any needed . When I have everything cut and prepared I just want to sew so I always put off the maintenance and then realize my mistake in the middle when a dull needle is annoying me.

  4. One of my favorite sewing books is “More Fabric Savvy” by Sandra Betzina. Not only does it tell you about fabrics, it also tells you the type of needle to use when working with a particular fabric – big help if you’re working with an unfamiliar fabric.

    A habit of mine is to brush out the bobbin area every time I change a bobbin – it helps keep the lint from building up too quickly!

  5. I have a sewing library that’s been growing since the 1980s. I love reading about sewing, and I have a stack of sewing books by my bedside. I supposed I’ve learned the most from Nancy Zieman’s books. The illustrations and her text are superb. If I had to pick one, it would be her “Busy Woman’s Sewing Book,” which taught me a world of time-saving techniques at a time when I was a budding seamstress.

  6. Best tip: learn to use your sewing machine (the manual is your friend!) and practice techniques on ordinary fabric before you try something like bound buttonholes on that velvet jacket!

  7. My mom started me out with most of Nancy Zeiman’s books. I refer to these a lot when I am sewing. Since I do many handcrafts including sewing, I often use the books to refresh my memory on techniques before I begin a project.

  8. I’d love your book to learn all the details about machines especially the things that aren’t covered in the owner’s manual which sadly mine didn’t come with despite being new. Thanks for your advice and tips along with your mention of a feline sewing assistant. I know just how they’re such excellent helpers at the best times.

  9. My tip is: slow down, relax while sewing or doing any sewing related things, your projects will come out much better and you will learn and understand the techniques used much more easily.

  10. My tip concerns snaps. When you are making removable and/or interchangeable collars or decorations on a garment, alternate the male and female parts of the snaps. The original item will take just as many snaps, but the next will only take half, as you can use both parts alternately. I learned this the hard way and had a bunch of male -half snaps without mates. Never did find a way to use them up.