BabySackMom - we used Huggies on our first two children (I tried cloth on them, but was unsuccessful. Now with so much info on the internet, and after MANY hours of researching diaper making, we did switch to cloth and have been doing this for over a year. I SOOOOOO wish we could have used cloth on the others.)
Anyway, I was going to use the Huggies as a pattern, too. But I never got to that. I am an experienced sewer, but was new to diaper sewing like you. I have NOT tried most of the other patterns, so I cannot speak to them. I made pockets using the Honeyboy pattern. We LOVE them. My husband loves them, too. He likes a prefold in them b/c he does not care about the bulk - he just wants to KNOW that he will get no leaks when he has the baby. I know the heavy/light times of day, etc, so I can change the stuffer how I want. I stuff the diapers after washing and stack them according to insert (prefold stacks, and microfiber or hemp stacks - which are a little less absorptive). The fleece in a pocket is a LOT easier to clean in the toilet than the few other diaper styles we have. The "velcro" (Aplix 800) truly does make it as easy to put on the baby as a disposable. Snaps were harder to use during that extra wiggly baby time. But now that my 15 month baby is not wearing as many clothes - it's getting a little warmer, and he likes to be "free", I am using more of the Fuzzi-Bunz b/c he has not figured out how to unsnap them yet. I am mentallytrying to figure out if I can alter the HB pattern to use snaps and keep the great fit. I made mediums for him when he was 4 months old, and he will soon be ready for the larges. This pattern does NOT have gussets -- and the Huggies do. At first I thought that I would get leaks in my cloth ones without the gussets. But we do not. In fact, I used to get poopy leaks all the time with the Huggies, and we VERY rarely do with the HB style.
If you can afford it, I personally would go for buying or finding a pattern. You say you are also an experienced sewer, so I know you can make your own pattern from the Huggies (and get satisfaction from doing so). But you may waste a lot of time doing that. I never had a trial - every diaper I made from the HB pattern has worked great. So buying the pattern was worth it to me. I got it from SewShoppe.
I would definitely go with the previously mentioned teflon foot if you can afford one. I have a Huskvarna and when I tried to sew scraps with the regular foot (with the PUL side facing up), it would not glide smoothly and my stitches were very irregular. I tried a scrap with the PUL side facing down, but the feed dogs ate it up, and therefore it would make sense that there would be many tears in the PUL (and leaks when wearing). So if you are making pockets, fleece goes down and the PUL side goes up against the teflon.
Also, remember one of the first sewing steps will be to put your velcro or snaps on the tummy area of the PUL/outer layer (and facing)-- BEFORE sewing the PUL and fleece together. Otherwise your insert will not be able to go all the way to the top of the front seam.
You probably picked this up also from looking at many sites (to see what they do and do not recommend, etc, as was previously mentioned) -- make sure to wash your cotton or hemp inserts/fabric separate from the fleece UNTIL they are no longer producing lint in the dryer. Otherwise, that lint tangles up with the fleece and causes *worse* pilling.
I do have wool and other materials that I have not had time to work with yet. I need to get to it, b/c sewing is my "me" time. But we do have a system that works for us, and I really don't want to get too many different things going b/c it is too hard for my husband to keep straight when he has the kids.