10 Textile & Textile design Books that can make you a Fabric ‘Expert’

A curated list of the most influential and inspiring books on textiles and textile designing. Explore the rich world of fabrics, patterns, and craftsmanship and history of textiles.

When they want to learn something, my kids will say, ‘let us google it’ – but I would still look it up in a book if I have it. There is something about books that none of the electronic devices will ever replace.

I am talking about that  ‘feel’ of the books. As a confirmed bookworm, I have always had this thing about books – so I may be prejudiced. For me that special tactile sensation of books- it is real – but there are other advantages that I can list about books.

When you are reading a book on a particular subject, you are getting an insight into an expert’s mind and vast knowledge, plus get all the advantages of their experience in the field. You know that the subject will deal with all the details you always wanted to know- this is especially true of textile books. Most of the books on textiles are written by experts with years of experience dealing with textiles.

textile books -list

And where else can you see the pictures of the diverse and wonderful textiles from around the world without going to all these places yourself?

Suppose you are a textile design course student, a fashion designer, a historian interested in clothes and fabrics of yore, or just an enthusiast like me. In that case, there are many books that you will want to have a thorough look at.? 

If you are a textile design course student, a fashion designer, a historian interested in clothes and fabrics of yore or just an enthusiast like me, there are many books that you will want to have a thorough look at.

Here are just a few that I admire – a few I have read, some I have gone through, and some I know of and want to read.

Textile related books you should read

Fashion from concept to consumer

Author – Gini Stephens Frings

This reads like a textbook for every textile design student or fashion designer with all the details you need to know about sourcing fabrics, manufacturing process, and retailing. No color photos of textiles, but the nitty-gritty of textiles behind the fashion scene is well explained.

Textile Design: The Complete Guide to Printed Textiles for Apparel and Home Furnishings

Author: Carol Joyce

This is a detailed guide on how to produce original textile designs for commercial use. It is an old version, so some information may be out of date, but still, different techniques and pattern styles are explained in detail with good illustrations.


Author – Bobbie Sumberg

If you want to see textiles from around the world, this book is ‘it’. The book has pictures of textiles from the Museum of International Folk Art’s vast collection that spans centuries and includes pieces from seventy countries around the world.

Printed Textile Design

Author: Amanda Briggs Good

The book explains the fundamentals of printed textile design with case studies of designers.

Woven Textile Design

Author : Jan Shenton

If you are interested in the different woven patterns of cloth, this book is perfect. The author Jan Shenton is a weaver, and the book has the basics of woven textile design as well as the complicated stuff. You will get to know everything about woven textile design with color photos of weaving, diagrams, illustrations of weaving plans, and examples from contemporary designers.

The Fashion Designer’s Textile Directory: A Guide to Fabrics’ Properties, Characteristics, and Garment-Design Potential

Author: Gail Baugh

If you want detailed knowledge of different types of fabrics and you can buy only one book, buy this one. It has got beautiful photographs of fabric samples, garments, and illustrations galore. The author teaches at San Francisco State University and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

Textile Designs: 200 Years of Patterns for Printed Fabrics

Authors: Susan Meller, Joost Elfers, Ted Croner

Alternative title – Textile Designs: 200 of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period

The author Susan Meller is the owner of the Design Library and Design Loft in New York, which has one of the world’s largest documentary textile design collections. The book has many photographs of patterned fabrics, which can teach you a lot about different textile designs. The photographed fabric examples can serve as a textbook for any fabric enthusiast.

The Design Library has the world’s largest and best-organized collections of documentary fabrics, original paintings, wallpapers, embroideries, and yarn dyes, numbering over seven million designs. The collections date from the 1750s to the present and are sorted into over 1200 categories for easy access – as mentioned in design-library.com

5,000 Years of Textiles

Author: Jennifer Harris

This is a study of textiles through the centuries with close-up color details from actual textiles (illustrated or actual photographs) from around the world. For a student interested in the history of textiles, this is a great reference book.

Basics Textile Design 01: Sourcing Ideas: Researching Colour, Surface, Structure, Texture, and Pattern

Authors: Josephine Steed, Frances Stevenson

This book can be a great resource in your creative journey to innovative designs for textiles. It can give you inspirations, ideas, methods and all the basic methods you need to do worthwhile textile designing. 

Digital Textile Design

Authors: Melanie Bowles, Ceri Isaac

This book can teach you a lot about designing and printing digitally. If you are a beginner and would like to know more about using Illustrator and Photoshop to create textile designs, this book can be a great resource.

Reading these textile books will surely enrich your knowledge and make you realize the beauty around you – in the form of textiles and give you the tools to be a true blue ‘Fabric expert’.

Related post : What are Textiles ; Buying tips for sewing materials ; Fabric names list; Names of Fabric patterns ; Types of Fabric weaves

Subscribe to get weekly notifications of posts in your email

Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

7 thoughts on “10 Textile & Textile design Books that can make you a Fabric ‘Expert’”

    • Hi be frank
      You are right in most case – but in this case the date doesnot matter much because the books given in this post are all phenomenal books written by experts; you can call them almost dateless.

Your opinion is important. Leave a comment