Well, I did the FBA as per the empire waist tutorial (TY, Kathryn!) although I was thrown initially as my bodice doesn't have any armhole seam to slash. I just picked a point roughly equal to the angle shown on the tutorial, and cut and spread from there. I just took a stab at how much to spread it out, with the idea that I could go back and do more or less if it didn't work. I also added the 5/8" to the upper edge. I used my original back pieces (will need to remember to add 5/8 to that for the finished garment) & stitched them all together with a zipper in the CB (there's no way I can pin that seam closed, straight, by myself). I don't have any pictures yet, but I'll take some and post them to my blog this weekend.
The gapping at the upper edge is much improved. I think I will take a 1/4" deeper side seam above the dart on the front bodice piece (in effect, shifting a vertical dart to the side seam) to take up just a bit more slack. I really do need to take out some fullness at the lower edge, as well. I'm still thinking gathers or tucks rather than darts.
I am SO excited to be making progress, finally! And I figured out the little circle thingie - it's the spot where the finished bust measurement on the pattern envelope was taken. (You would *think* that would be the bust point, though, wouldn't you?)