In this post, I’ll go over how to find free vintage sewing books. There are a lot of vintage and antique books that are in the public domain and they span topics from sewing, dressmaking, tailoring, millinery, embroidery, pattern making, needlework, lace making, and more! If you collect vintage sewing patterns, having some of these old references books can be really helpful because older patterns don’t always break down each step for you as clearly as modern sewing patterns do. Sometimes slightly different techniques are used in vintage sewing patterns as well.
Pinterest Gallery of Free Vintage Sewing Books
Here’s my Pinterest board with all of the free vintage sewing books I’ve saved. At the time of posting, there were over 40 books on my board, and I’ll keep adding to it over time:
My Favorite Free Vintage Sewing Books:
I love how illustration-heavy this one is. I’ve done a little bit of pattern drafting before, and I’ve made my own bodice block (see my post on creating a custom dress form), so it’s interesting to see how the directions differ and what tools they recommend. I want to try out the Seven Gored Skirt!
This one has the most adorable illustrations! I don’t have children, but if I did, I would buy a paper copy of this to share with them. It’s a great primer for teaching sewing to either children or adults.
This one goes over a lot of the basics of sewing, and it has some helpful illustrations. It’s broken up into easy-to-follow, individual lessons.
This one covers a lot of the basics for a beginner (or someone wanting to learn sewing techniques for vintage sewing patterns), and it’s got detailed and helpful illustrations.
Find Even More Free Vintage Sewing Books
And here are some websites to check out for free books in general, as well as sewing books:
- Project Gutenberg
- Antique Pattern Library
- free books from Google Books
- Digital collection from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries