I am very interested in making my own patterns and have a number of books on the subject. I thought I would start with Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch. The designs in this book are very simple, without much fitting. While not necessarily my style, I thought it would be easiest to start with the book that looked friendliest to beginners.
The first item in the book is an A-Line skirt. The measurements needed are:
Length of skirt
Low hip down from waist
(I'm not going to give elaborate instructions for this; for that you should get the book. I'm just going to give a general overview.) The first thing you do is plot all the coordinates on your map. (I mean pattern piece.) (Click on any picture to make it bigger.)
The instructions tell you how to add darts, square corners, and smooth the points. (Below is the front pattern.)
Then you add seam allowances. I use this clover brand tool that I can't remember the name of. It's cool because you can pull the little wheels out and adjust the width. If I pad it with extra paper, I can create an obvious line on the paper and then cut.
Then you create a back piece, with longer darts.
If you look closely, you can see some obvious problems. As in no hip shaping: there is a straight line from my hips to may waist. I am pretty sure this is a measurement problem and not a book problem. I made a muslin (which I am not going to bother to show) and it is a couple inches wide in the waist and at least an inch short in the hips. I'm going to make another pattern based on some revised measurements and hope for the best. Wish me luck!