It was a fairly productive weekend for my sweater project! I charted and made the bodice back, and assembled the bodice pieces. Assembly is an interesting part of the process for me - I plan for it while I design.
I left the stitches "live" at the shoulder on the front and back, and then joined them using the 3-needle bind off. This results in a neat seam that also has good structure to support the weight of the sweater without stretching. This method also greatly minimizes the amount of bulk under the shoulder seam that you typically get if you bind off the shoulders and then join them.
I also typically do edge decreases one or two stitches in from the edge. In this case, I did the front bodice decreases two stitches in from the edge, which resulted in a two-stitch wide, smooth, slanted row of stitches that runs up the entire bodice edge. This facilitates seaming greatly, as it gives the knitter a consistent line to seam along - whether you are grafting or doing ladder type stitch. So... the seaming edge of the bodice had two columns of knit stitches, and the seaming edge of the front band had three columns of knit stitches. After seaming with a one stitch selvage, I'm left with a smooth join that looks like three columns of knit stitches, and the seam is invisible.
The fit is quite good - it's definitely a form fitting garment, and ought to show off the girls a bit :-) It's just the right amount of snug at this point, because I can tell it will benefit from the weight of the sleeves and peplum once they are joined.
I must send kudos to bevsyarncrazy on Plurk, for helping me with the word "Peplum." I was going to call that part of the pattern the "skirting", but it didn't seem like quite the right term - and as it turned out, it wasn't the right term at all. My Plurk Buddies know everything :-)
I'm still working on the waist band, and will chart the sleeves next.