Here is how the bodice turned out...
Now, I actually think that the above picture is adorable and the crochet doesn't look too bad in it. However, this picture is very deceiving. I made three fatal mistakes that has me tossing this garment into the "We'll-just-wear-it-as-a-shirt-around-the-house" pile.
Problem #1: WRONG yarn. Oh the colors worked well. But this worsted-weight, synthetic yarn (not to mention discounted yarn) made a very stiff fabric that did not hang well at all. You really can't tell from the pictures, but this top looked more like a suit of armor than the bodice of a dress.
Problem #2: IGNORING the obvious. See the ridged rows in the light pink above? When making a garment, the pattern often calls for the stitches to be worked in the front loops of the right side only, which apparently gives the fabric more stretch. This isn't an issue...except when you are crocheting mindlessly while watching tv and forget to switch to the back loops when you turn the fabric to the back side and THEN don't realize it until several rows later.
Yeah, the right side of my fabric should have been nice and smooth. Instead I had three rows of ridges where I had forgotten to work in the front rows. Instead of ripping it out and starting again, I decided it wasn't a big deal. However, that was late at night in a dim living room. When I tried it on L1 the next day, the mistake was so obvious.
Problem #3: Poor Planning. Originally, there were no sleeves on the top. But I decided to attempt to soften up the stiffness of the vest by adding some ruffle sleeves. It actually did help with the stiff look, but I planned it very poorly. . . Well, to be honest, I didn't plan it. I just quickly inserted my hook and crocheted some shells, decreasing on each row. The problem was on one sleeve, I started in the front of the bodice and on the other, I started in the back. The result was two very disproportionate sleeves.
Ah, well. . .You live, you learn.