A wonderful (and incredibly talented and crafty) friend of mine recommended the following book to me when I told her I wanted to teach myself to sew:
I love this book. Do I sound like I'm on Reading Rainbow? Really, though, this book not only has wonderful pictures that will inspire you to get your hands on some fabric and start creating, it also is broken down into chapters based on the amount of time each project takes to complete. Directions are simple and straightforward - easy for a beginner. And one of the best secrets of this book, for me so far, is the little technique she teaches for "quilting" a simple blanket. It is an alternative to doing any major quilting or doing something like tying, which, let's face it, is sometimes (and for me, usually) not the look you want.. I have used the technique on several projects and am so happy with it.
Here's a sampling of a couple of things I have made from this book. Peanut the Elephant and a super-easy baby blanket. These two below were made for my niece, Aspen Kate, before she was born (also, photos were taken with my previous and crappy camera...so they kinda suck). They were 2 of my very first sewing creations. I have since made each one again (and the baby blanket has been made again and again) using different fabrics and wielding a little more confidence than this documented first attempt.
This book has been inspirational for me, as I've started on the path of sewing. What things have inspired you???