Thanks so much for all the feedback on the stripy dress. It is really helpful to get unbiassed opinions! I’m not giving up; I’m going to look for a heavier and darker striped fabric (maybe navy and white?), change the direction of the stripes on the front bodice, and lower the neckline a bit. But this is definitely a summer dress and autumn is upon us in the UK now, so I think it’ll be one for the 2013 sewing list.
I’m sewing things with sleeves now…and discovering I have completely lost the knack of setting the darn things in, if I ever had it. I often resort to that trick of leaving the side seam open and sewing them in flat. I’m going to have to learn to do it right now though, because my coat fabric has arrived!