I may not be a beginner dressmaker, but I have found this book both useful and a pleasure to read. I tend to pick up lots of sewing guides and the like and still the Colette Sewing Handbook has what others are missing:
* A focus on dressmaking. Many sewing introduction books are more generic, so they might show you how to make a cushion, but they don't necessarily explain how to set in a sleeve. Sarai Mitnick shows you exactly how.
* Clothing patterns that are actually stylish, unique and that you'd actually want to make and wear. But if you know about Colette Patterns, then you'll expect this already. I'd recommend having a look at the five different patterns and checking out what other stitchers have made online to get some inspiration and an idea of whether you would make these designs.
* A discussion not only of how to make items, but how to decide what to make to suit you. I've seen this in books on style and buying clothes from the likes of Gok and Trinny and Susannah, but this is the first time I've seen this kind of advice in a sewing book. And it's blooming important! If you're going to spend hours of your time (not to mention your hard-earned cash on fabric and supplies) on an item of clothing, it's pretty disheartening to find that it doesn't suit you (I speak from experience!) or that it simply doesn't suit your lifestyle. Again, Mitnick comes up trumps with some friendly pointers to set you off in the right direction.
Some of the other things I love about this book: it sits flat when it's open, so you can refer to it while sewing; Sarai Mitnick's tone in writing is encouraging and conversational, without being in your face with fake, over the top enthusiasm and exclamations; it is very pretty, which makes it an utter pleasure to read through and dip into. There are many other things I could mention, I'm sure, but I'll let you discover these for yourself. Enjoy.