Sewing & hand embroidery books I have — Not including online resources like or Hathi Trust.

I plan to write more reviews, but in the meantime, if you have a question about any that are hard to find info on, feel free to ask…

Books I refer to the most

The Encyclopedia of Sewing by Adele Margolis 1987
Clear and detailed, it covers most everything in alphabetical order for quick lookup. (my review at PR)

Clothing Construction by Mansfield 1953
I haven’t had this one long, but I can see why David Coffin called it his favorite OOP sewing book in a Threads interview. Comprehensive with detailed info, sometimes about processes I haven’t found elsewhere. A clear sense of how fabrics hang on the body depending on how they’re cut, sewn and worn.

Sew the French Way by Line Jaque 1961 (English trans. of Le Savoir-Coudre 1956)
Not comprehensive or aimed at beginners, but there’s often a meticulous alternate method of construction for things that are covered… zippers, hems, plackets, patch pockets, buttonholes, etc. Heavy on hand sewing.

Classic Tailoring Techniques: Construction Methods for Women’s Wear by Roberto Cabrera 1984
My favorite tailoring reference. Although Ledbetter is especially good for listing pros and cons of different methods, and Margolis is long and covers underlining and a couple of other things in more depth, Cabrera’s book is my go to for steps that aren’t in the pattern. Heavy on hand sewing.

Refer to often

The Complete Book of Tailoring by Adele Margolis 1978
Make Your Own Dress Patterns Adele Margolis 2012 (reprint)
Modern Sewing Techniques by Frances Mauck 1963 (heavy on machine sewing)
Practical Home Needlecraft in Pictures by Dorothy Cox 1948
Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Embroidery by Melinda Cross 1996
The Spadea Sewing Book: A Collection of Sewing Tips By World Famous Designers by Dale Cavanagh 1967
Sew Any Fabric by Claire Shaeffer 2003
Tailoring: Traditional and Contemporary Techniques by Ledbetter & Lansing 1981

Sometimes used

The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot 1943 (great for help with vintage patterns)
Design in Embroidery by Kathleen Whyte 1969
The Dressmaking Book: A Simplified Guide for Beginners by Adele Margolis 1967 (used constantly when I first got back into sewing — my review at PR)
Great Sewn Clothes by Threads 1991
How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter by Adele Margolis 1969
McCall’s Complete Book of Dressmaking by Marian Corey 1951
The Undies Book by Nanette Rothacker 1976
The Vogue Sewing Book by Patricia Perry 1970