This dress may be a keeper now. I say *may* because some stress eating coupled with much less movement due to the ongoing sciatica pain has added a few pounds and the dress is now more form-fitting on my butt than I like. ;-) But the sciatica is gradually improving and I'm hopeful less stress is around the corner.
I removed the gathers in the skirt (which is another reason it is now more snug on my rear) and used that fabric to add a 2-1/2" band at the hem. I interfaced the strip with a fusible and left it raw-edged. The interfacing adds body so the unfinished edge won't curl and also weight to get every possible bit of length from the skirt. It now hits right at my knee, which is my preferred skirt/dress length.
This is the bodice underlayer. You can see that the facing is turned to the outside to create a blended modesty panel, although you could also change things up a bit by using a contrast. The last thing for me to finish this dress today was to sew the darts I had pinned out a few weeks ago. Without them, the underlayer neckline flops and gapes badly. Something to be aware of should you make this dress as I've read a couple of reviews that also mention the problem.
If the Spanx is magic tomorrow, I may go ahead and wear this. Otherwise, it will remain in a holding pattern until I drop 5.