This is the first dress I made. It was sewn during one of my sewing courses in autumn. We were only four students in the class and the teacher was very thorough and had time to assist and guide us through the various stages of our individual garments.
The pattern is, again, from Suuri Käsityölehti, (it was a 2007 issue, right now I can't find better information in my post-move chaos. Edit: It was number 8/2007). The teacher helped me modify it to suit my (pear-) shape and I'm really happy with how it turned out! I'll try to take a nice picture of me wearing it at some point! The material is a very nice wool jersey. And I love that colour!
The gathering around the neckline and the sleeves is made with framilon elastic, you could also use regular elastic, but that would be more visible, I guess. Except for attaching the elastic, it was completely sewn with an overlock machine, (apart from the hem which was sewn by hand with a handy blind stitch the teacher taught me).
I think a simple dress is such a satisfying project for a beginner. To make it even easier you could make one without sleeves. The beauty of it is that when you're finished, you practically have a whole outfit there. All made by you!
And as for the first dress that really made an impact on me as for me to remember it vividly, it was a hand-me-down from my second cousin and a very simple cotton dress with a smocked upper part and tie shoulder straps. (The cut was a bit like this.) It was white with a green and peach flower print and I felt really "grown up" wearing it, because it come from my "big cousin".