This is a book that I have discussed before, so I'll be brief...well, maybe not. I can't say enough good things about this book.
I purchased the Dressmaker's Guide by Elizabeth Stewart Clark about 3 or 4 years ago. It is PACKED with dressmaking knowledge, specifically between 1840-1865. It contains practical ideas on how to draft your own undergarments and dresses from scratch, so that they work perfectly for you. Mrs. Clark also includes some tips and tricks for how to either make garments last longer, how to make them more personalized for your preferences, and some money saving ideas.
My favorite chapter is the one on bodice drafting; she teaches you how to draft a basic bodice, and then after that is instructions with every bodice style under the sun that is derived from that pattern. Same with sleeves! While this time frame isn't very long, it's given me some great tools that encompass all of the Victorian era and beyond.
This book is perfect if you are a Civil war reenactor, or do pioneer treks. This is really geared towards functional practicality; most of the content leans towards how to represent the general population in that era. While the bodice styles and sleeves can be adapted for higher fashion, she doesn't go into as great a depth on that subject in regards to dress trimming, but the base patterns are usable for any social status.