Ready-to-wear clothes don't fit anyone perfectly. How imperfectly they fit varies from person to person, but for maximum figure flattery, your clothes must fit perfectly.
One of the first reasons for my learning to sew for myself is that I'm on the list of "imperfect fit". Even if I am at my ideal weight - which I am not - I don't fit well into clothing off the rack. I wish that I could say, like my mom used to, that a little tweak here or there would fix it, but in my case, the clothing needs to be virtually remade (unless it's made of a knit, like a tshirt or somesuch).
The list of my fitting woes could take up most of this blog - and since the idea is that this blog is a tad more general in nature, I'll spare you.
Really great fit is something that I'm working on this summer.
My first approach is going to be a sleeveless blouse. Since I live in a warm-weather climate, this is a basic that I can wear literally year-round. Bodice fit is also where I spend most of my time crying. I had fit a lovely dress about six months ago, done a great job through the bustline, and then ... well, I didn't know about fitting the armscye (armpit area) and how that would leave weird room through the upper chest and reduced mobility. My dress looked like it fit - but it didn't.
I'm not going to cry about not knowing about this - after all, it took three fitting books and a consultation to find out what the problem was in the first place. I might snuffle a bit about that dress, it was just so pretty! (I gave it away).
The reason that vintage clothing looks so much more attractive on women of all sizes and shapes is that the clothing fits. (The other reasons include underpinnings and fabric quality).
The very first sloper I made - out of ugly yellow gingham curtains - was startlingly flattering. Why? Because my darts were in the right place. Suddenly the wide part of my skirt was where *I* was widest, and there wasn't extra fabric where I am unwide.
Anyway. I am pursuing excellence in my dress and sewing endeavors, so my first target is fit. This is where I started, with traced off bits from various decently-fitting pattern sheets:
This is what I ended up with, four muslins later:
I don't say that I'm THERE - but what I do say is that I know that I, more than most, *must* get there in order to look at all well-dressed.
Fit. It's essential. And no, it's not easy.