It should come as a surprise to no one, except me, that I failed at the dress skirt. I was surprised because that seemed like the easy part. But when I put it together and sewed up the pleats, the waist ended up being the perfect size for a very skinny 10 year old (which is to say, not me). I took it apart and did it again, thinking I had connected the wrong dots. Nope. So I set it aside. Sewing, like knitting, should be something to do for fun (if not always for relaxation).
I had a mental breakthrough, though. It seems that I had misinterpreted the number of panels for the skirt. It seems there should be four, rather than two. I thought the extra pieces were linings, but this makes much more sense. Today, Erin at A Dress A Day posted about good beginning dress patterns, and several people noted in the comments that Vogue patterns do not make good first (or second or third) dresses, even if they are labeled "Easy" (as mine is). I feel much better. Vindicated, even.
I'll get back to that dress someday. In the meantime, I've taken up with this one:
Which is probably not much better as a beginner pattern. Oh well, at least I'm consistently boneheaded.