I snagged Perfectly Fitted by Lynne Garner from the local library recently. The tagline is "Creating personalized patterns for a limitless wardrobe". Sounds brilliant! Truth be told, I had some illusions about having enough time to actually make some patterns from the book. Alas, that did not actually happen. (4 month olds don't exactly leave one a whole lot of sewing time, alas. Or reading time. Or sleeping time.)
This book is awesome, and is going straight to the top of my "Actually Buy This" list. Perfectly Fitted manages to be both attractive and really informative. It covers the basics of garment construction in a step by step fashion, with plenty of clear color photos. They make it look a whole lot less daunting. What's most appealing to me is the section on draping. I hadn't heard of draping before picking up this book, but it's revolutionized my Chickenpants sewing. Draping is making patterns with muslin by, well, draping the fabric on the body. This makes so much more sense to me than paper patterns.
Previously, when making couture Chickenpants, I'd try to make a paper pattern first. I could eventually get what I wanted done, but it took forever, and many alterations were required. Now, I drape. It is so much faster and easier! And the finished results look nicer. Check out this recently finished guy:
Check out that tiny suit! All hand stitched, and all without a headache. Hooray!
But I digress.
If you're looking to make actual human lady clothes, this book is an amazing resource. It takes you step by step all the way from measuring to sewing up clothes. It includes a gallery of things to make with your fabric pattern blocks. (Shirts! Skirts! Pants! Dresses!) With this book, a handful of notions, and a bunch of fabric, one could create a fantastic wardrobe.
Bottom line: if you're looking to start making your own patterns and/or clothes, check out this book first!