Very good looking sweater with Brooklyn Tweed's typically interesting take on the design. Yes, skip the first st on the pieces you're seamin. Use mattress stitch one selvedge stitch in from the edge and unlike most seams, do this with the WS facing you. For the front and back, the purl side of the stockinette and the knit side of the side panel will be facing you as you seam. That way the seam will show to the RS.
Some close ups here http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Steven/redford