There's a book I really like -- it's Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time by Deborah Moebes. You could probably check your local library for it if you don't want to buy it.
She gives a lot of info. about fabrics, sewing tools, techniques, etc. The cool thing is that you can work through the projects and learn techniques as you go. They start simple, and by the end of the book, you're making a blouse and an a-line skirt. I own the book and, even though I haven't made any of the projects yet, I've used it as a reference several times when I needed to know what some sewing term meant or how to do a particular technique. She gives good directions and step-by-step photos.