Design and Reference Books

The books on this page are intended as reference books, to guide you through the design, pattern, and fitting stages of making your own custom clothing.

Some (especially the fitting books) are authored by other experts in the field, and are books that I rely on when making my own clothing. 

A few others are books that I've written or created myself.  I hope you find those helpful, too!

All are available on Amazon; some can be found at your local bookstore or fabric/sewing center, too. 

Click on the TEXT links below to go to the item in Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This helps to keep this site free for your use. You are free to search Amazon for these or other similar items without using the affiliate links on this page. 

  • Fundamentals of Apparel Design - This is one of my own books.  It is not a comprehensive course in apparel design, but does cover some of the basics for beginners and experienced seamstresses alike. Finding inspiration, focusing on details, fabric and color selection are all covered, and there's a glossary of sewing and design terms so you can easily "speak the language" of design.

As you go through the design process, you'll need to sketch out your ideas.

  • The Fashion Design Sketchbook has over 100 full-size (8 1/2" x 11") pages of croquis (body templates) for you to use in your designs.  You simply sketch your style right over the template, and you'll have a correctly proportioned drawing that will make it easy to envision the final result.

This is a sketchbook I created myself, and I've used croquis with realistic figures.  Many sketchbooks use croquis with very, very tall and thin figures, which can result in stunning illustrations - but the final product will never look like the sketch when it's worn by a real person. 

The croquis in this book represent a size 6 figure. 

  • Like the book above, this is one I created.  It has realistic plus size figures - if you design for larger women (or "normal", in my opinion!), this will allow you to show how your styles look on a body with real curves

The croquis in this book are about a size 14 or 16, with a larger waist, full bust, and full hips. 

  • Pattern Fitting With Confidence - Written by the late Nancy Zieman, host of the TV series "Sewing with Nancy". She provides a straightforward, down-to-earth approach to sewing and fitting. Very user-friendly.

  • The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting - I love this book!!! So wonderfully illustrated with photos, using commercial patterns to demonstrate the pattern alterations. It addresses almost any fit problem you might have. So easy to understand and follow!

  • Sewing for Plus Sizes - Creating Clothes that Fit and Flatter  - A great book for Plus sizes!  As a woman gets larger, it's not just the measurements that change - our overall proportions shift, too.  This book addresses the different body types and proportions you commonly see in larger women. Truly helpful for larger women.

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