This is our official list of the best patchwork books for beginners on the market today. Scroll further down for full details on each product and a brief overview
- 5.0 out of 5.0 stars The Practical Guide to Patchwork
- 4.5 out of 5.0 stars Your First Quilt Book (or it should be!)
- 4.5 out of 5.0 stars Dear Quilty: 12 Easy Patchwork Quilts
- 4.5 out of 5.0 stars Patchwork Style: 35 Simple Projects for a Cozy and Colorful Life
- 4.0 out of 5.0 stars Modern Patchwork: 12 Quilts to Take You Beyond the Basics
We know time is of the essence, so the above is a cheat sheet of what’s ahead, just in case your’re in a hurry. Otherwise, keep scrolling down for more detailed and constructive info on each item.
5 Highest Reviewed Patchwork Books for Beginners
For centuries, homemakers have been creating patchwork quilts for both practical and decorative purposes. In addition to bedding, quilts have been used for clothing, wall hangings, furniture coverings and even armor. A patchwork quilt can be as simple or as ornate as the quilter wishes and the fabrics used can be purchased new for the quilt or can be scraps left over from clothing and other textiles.
The popularity of making quilts at home has waxed and waned as trends in dress and household goods change. In the 21st century, the appeal of durable, high-quality handmade goods has brought about a wave of enthusiasm for quilting. Consequently, many teaching tools are available for the beginner who wants to learn this traditional art and craft. Patchwork books in particular are currently flooding the market and choosing the right book can be confusing and overwhelming.
Below are five of the best patchwork books written for beginning quilters. These books cover all aspects of quilting: selecting fabrics, batting and cutting tools, choosing between hand- and machine-stitching, developing a pattern, cutting the fabric, sewing accurately and, finally, stitching together the layers of the quilt.
1.) The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker
Twelve projects that cover cutting, piecing, appliqué, machine quilting, binding, and finishing, rated by difficulty level, make this book a good choice for beginning and intermediate quilters. As the title indicates, the patterns and colors tend toward a somewhat modern look.
A detailed section on fabric is included, covering terminology, color and print selection, and how fabric is sold in stores, i.e., yardage, fat quarters, and precut squares and strips.
- Several fabric variations are given for each project:
- Traditional or modern
- Two colors or multi-hued scraps
- Softly colored or bold and playful
- Projects are classified for beginner, confident beginner and intermediate quilter
- Includes a list of online fabric retailers and sources for ideas and inspiration
- Instructions may not be clear enough for the absolute beginner with no other sewing experience
2.) Your First Quilt Book (or it should be!)
This book assumes that the reader has no prior knowledge of sewing or quilting, which is a good thing. All the tools the beginner will need in order to make that first quilt are explained and described in detail, with photographs. The author even explains how to purchase sewing needles.
Illustrated with cartoon-like drawings as well as photographs, this book is accessible, educational and entertaining. The included projects are small-scale so that the new quilter does not feel overwhelmed or intimidated.
- Extensive glossary of quilting terms with illustrations
- Includes a bibliography and a list of suggested books for further reading
- Helpful section on choosing fabrics and discussion of color terms such as ‘value’ and ‘intensity’
- Several pages of templates of shapes commonly used in quilting can be used for many projects.
- Not as many projects as some readers may want
3.) Dear Quilty: 12 Easy Patchwork Quilts + Great Quilting Advice
This book is a compilation of patterns, tips and advice from the Quilty magazine and website. A light-hearted, accessible tone is used throughout the book, injecting some of the author’s personality and humor into what would otherwise be merely instructions.
The two-page introduction includes interesting historical information about fabrics and quilting in the United States for readers who appreciate background. A nice feature is referrals to the Quilty website for useful information not covered in the book. Beginners can find what they need; experienced quilters do not need to wade through information they already know.
- Extensive index makes it easy to find specific information
- Templates to copy for pattern pieces; some need to be resized
- General sewing and quilting advice in addition to project-specific instructions
- Traditional patterns are given a very modern look with fabric choices
- Quilt patterns have been previously published in other media
4.) Patchwork Style: 35 Simple Projects for a Cozy and Colorful Life
Patchwork can be used for more than just bedding. This book covers many other projects, including purses and bags, curtains, pot holders, pocket tissue holders, coasters and much more. The author is Japanese, and this book has just recently been translated into English.
It offers an Asian perspective on traditional quilt patterns such as the Log Cabin as well as appliqué and free-form stitching. Included projects are not too difficult for a beginner and its attractive design and photography make this book a joy to read.
- Wide variety of projects, not just bed quilts
- Detailed line diagrams illustrate sewing and assembly techniques
- Actual-size templates can be copied and cut out to use as pattern pieces
- Includes projects using small scraps of fabric that otherwise might be thrown out
- Written instructions include inconsistent and unorthodox measurements
5.) Modern Patchwork: 12 Quilts to Take You Beyond the Basics
This book offers a very modern take on quilting, with clean, unfussy designs and bold contemporary colors – no timid pastels here. Twelve projects are featured and include detailed instructions for purchasing fabric, cutting, assembling and sewing. More advanced techniques such as curved seam piecing challenge beginning and experienced quilters.
Further, it is not just about the top; the author includes instructions for making the quilt back from the same fabrics as the top, rather than using a plain piece of solid fabric. This book offers a fresh approach to a traditional craft.
- Abstract patterns and modern fabrics will appeal to 21st century quilters
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Printable patterns from both paperback and Kindle versions
- Three different color schemes suggested for each project
- Not about the basics, although the author does include some introductory content for very new quilters
Of course, choosing a patchwork book is a matter of personal preference. Writing style, projects, even page design and font choices, will determine the right choice for each purchaser.
Each of the books discussed above are available in editions that retail for less than $20, so any would be a suitable and affordable choice for a novice quilter.