Local historical costumer Jennifer Rosbrugh has kindly put together an amazing web page for all your historical sewing needs. She regularly holds on-line classes (Victorian Corset, bustles, hats, and more) featuring many techniques for sewers of many skill levels. Not able to keep to a strict class schedule? No worries. She has begun a "home workshop" series, which provides historical costuming enthusiasts with handy DVD and booklet sets so you can sew at your own pace, in your own time.
Aside from these hands-on offerings, her web site is chock-full of helpful information to guide you on your sewing adventure. How to dress in period, how to properly fit a garment, how to shop in major chain stores for appropriate fabrics so you don't put your time into a garment and wonder why it does not look right. There are more esoteric items, like how one sits in a bustle. Yes, you want to know, don't you?
If historical costuming is not your cup of tea, I would still advise perusing her site, an perhaps taking a class. There are many historical techniques that can happily be adapted to today's clothing. You can use these techniques in your every day sewing to make your own work enviable. Things like fit and finish, why and where to bone, and managing fullness are all skills any sewer needs. You won't find these techniques in your typical sewing patterns anymore, but that does not mean that your garment would not be improved by them. Today's patterns have been simplified quite a bit, often leaving out the very steps you's need to get the look that turns "made with loving hands at home" into "professionally hand made."