I know how confusing patterns can be for people who have not used them before, the fact that you have to get your correct size, transfer markings and understand the terminology can put some people off before they even begin.
In light of these facts I wanted to make it easier for her to achieve something relatively quickly, not have to deal with closings, darts or confusing store bought patterns. She is maybe a size bigger than me, a bit more curvy and slightly shorter. I decided to do a basic shift dress with short sleeves and no darts. I set about making the pattern as I went along to be sure every step is easy. It is a little big on me which was my intention, and I wore it belted last night. I decided to line mine but it doesn't have to be. I took it along to work today and she tried on mine, it fits my friend better than me and we found that I just need to tweak the pattern a tiny amount on the hips.
I am very pleased with it but my husband said it a bit big you usually do things more fitted. I had just explained the reasons why I had done this dress in this style!
Now that I have made the pattern and I can use this to help my friend I may add a few darts to mine and taper the sides a bit.
The fabric I used is cotton that I bought with the voucher from John Lewis, just after Christmas so no additional expense there. The pattern as stated I made as I went along, and hopefully my friend will be happy with what she makes so that is another person sewing. She was also going to pay to go on a course I hope she finds that she is inspired to try more things herself before she pays out for any expensive courses.
The price of many patterns now is about £5.99 so I do believe it is worth trying to make your own. There are books on this but they are also complicated and unless you are making patterns professionally I don't think a lot of what they contain is not required. This is just my opinion of course but if in simplifying things it means that more people sew then that has got to be better.