Hi Erica, classes would be a good start. Check with your local recreation dept., school system adult education dept., or if nothing is available there some fabrc stores and sewing machine dealers offer classes in their stores.
Also Simplicity has a line of "Sewing Patterns for Dummies". You may find something there that doesn't need zippers.Simpliucity 4206 is a Peasant style top that could be made longer for a dress. It has an elastic casing at the neck but that is very easy and theinstructions are very clear. Some of the "Easy" patterns just have a button and loop closure and that is simple as well.