I finished the dress today. Aside from the part where I didn't remember to take the time to match up the plaid at all, I'm quite pleased. I have a feeling it will get a lot of wear in the hot summer months.
So, I used the Built By Wendy Dresses book for this. In case you aren't familiar with the book, here's the general idea: You get three basic patterns (a shift dress, a sheath dress, and a dirndl dress) and then a whole bunch of ideas and instructions for ways to change those basic patterns up to make exactly the dress you have in mind. Pretty darn cool. My dress is based on the shift dress pattern (which I picked because I didn't want to make a trip to JoAnn's to buy the zipper that a more fitted dress would have required).
The V-neck ended up a bit deeper than I care for and a little wonky in places, but it works as long as I put a layer underneath. Next time I'd definitely try something a bit more modest.
And gingham...I love gingham. I think it is so freakin' cute. But it (or at least the version at the JoAnn's nearby) is a big pain to work with. It gets stretched out of shape so easily and it unravels like a son of a gun. Plus it is super-thin, so it requires a full lining.
Totally unrelated side note: How cool is this?