P.S. Lots of further insights and great ideas in the comments, and a recommended book, and how to order it if you're internet-shy. Thanks, everyone!
"Oh dear, Mom. It looks like an old lady dress. And yes, it minimizes your stomach, but only by making your hips look huge."
--Emily, affirming two more reasons why the above yellow flowered dress was a "fail."
"Ach, ich hass nehe fuh mich-selvet. Es fit nee-net kscheit!!"*
--My mom, who was happy to sew for the rest of the world but hated to sew for herself. I understand.
*"I hate sewing for myself. It never fits right."