ultimately I decided to stitch closed that gap at the waistband. the cotton is so "stretchy" that I can easily slip it on over my head without unbottoning. It helped the overall look of it immensely. (I also stitched closed a little bit of a gap at the bustline.)
OK, now that is seriously disgusting!!! LOL Sorry, I can't imagine I'll ever be able to design something like that out my own head. I can do lots of things, but that ain't one of 'em! Wow!!! It is gorgeous! LOVE the color AND your design. Fabulous job!!! Enjoy wearing it! I'm sure you'll get a tons of compliments!