the pattern is the backbone of your project. for those of us who didn't take home economics in school having a pattern with excellent instructions is essential. i can not recommend the below patterns enough for that.
sometimes one pattern isn't enough, when that is the case dive into a sewing book!
i've found the community of small brick and motor fabric stores to be amazing. the staff and fellow customers at the below stores have always been so helpful when bouncing around ideas. more on why i love these stores here.