Thanks for your post, Julie. I checked out the link you gave me and there is, indeed, a review of the dress pattern I have. The comments left by other posters has already highlighted I need to take care when inserting the zip (having never done this before I'm not exactly looking forward to it!)
Don't panic or worry about anything with sewing. I made a decision when I first started that I wouldn't let anything scare me. After all, it's only fabric plus a bit of time - nothing earth shattering. I've read posts both here and elsewhere from people who never make anything with a sleeve/zip/pleats/whatever because they are scared of them. I'm not going to be scared by anything sewing related - except maybe if I buy some really expensive fabric
. BTW, which pattern is it that you have bought?
I didn't think of using duvet covers as a muslin. I'm sure I will be able to find some cheap ones on Ebay!
If you can, try asking friends and family before you spend any money. Most people I know have "spare" covers stuck away in cupboards and drawers that they don't want to throw away but will probably never use on the bed again. If they can give them away to a good cause, they are usually happy to do so. Freecycle could be another good resource.
I'm looking forward to my first project, although I know it's going to take me ages to get around to doing it. I hope I find a pattern which is re-usable as the one you use for your favourite skirt (s!)
You never know, the pattern you have just might be that perfect re-usable one. The skirt pattern I use so much was the one I used for my second or third sewing project.