So catlvr, more questions. What sorts of items have you knitted? I know you asked for a free, simple, top down pattern. Is this your first "fitted" project, aside from perhaps hats? One thing that I have read about a top down sweater is that it is easier to fit as you knit, and am wondering if perhaps that is why you are looking at top down construction.
In order to boost your confidence you might read some articles/blog entries pertaining to knitting sweaters such as this:
Reading about common mistakes and how to avoid them is also useful. When you find a pattern you think you might like to try, read it through and any thing that seems confusing, you could come back here and pose questions. And take the time to swatch, very important in a fitted garment.
Happy :knitting: HTH