I finished piecing the front about a half hour ago.
I wrapped my mannequin in some white fabric, and placed it on a foot stool to mimic the 5'8" height. Here's a view of the "finished" front pinned to the form. "Finished" meaning that the piecing is complete, but there's still a lot of work ahead (shoulder seam, piping, lining, hip attachment, label...) I positioned the mannequin in front of my mirror so that a bit of the back shows as well.
And finally, here's me in my new dress from India feeling pretty pleased with how this looks so far!
My 5'8" friend is away for the weekend, so I can't do any more until Monday. Then I expect to try it on her, and figure out the ideal length from shoulder to hip and from hip to the lower edge. I've left these edges unfinished until then.