I really liked this dress. It was comfortable, even on a warm day, despite all that fabric (including a little polyester from the polka dot lace). I wore it to a co-worker's outdoor wedding, which is where we took these pictures. Lots of strangers complimented it. One started to tell me it was the prettiest dress at the wedding, until she realized she needed to qualify her statement with "except the bride's of course!"
After the wedding, Mikey and I went to "Alice Through the Looking Glass." I felt so appropriately dressed in that blue!
I'd like to make variation 2 without connecting the bodice to the pencil skirt. I saw a really cute dress this style on "The Odd Couple" with a lace overlay, and the lace extended a few inches below the skirt underlining.
Next time I use the collar, I'll extend it half an inch in the front, so it meets at the center.