I finally settled on Napoleon for my Ravelympics project.  Here’s where I’m at so far:

That’s the whole lower front done.  I had a significant false start.  The lower front and back are knit from side to side.  I originally cast on 5 extra stitches to ensure the right length but after about 6 inches of knitting, I realized it was going to be way too long.  So I pulled it out and actually cast on with not 5 but 7 fewer stitches.  The length should be perfect now.  I also screwed up one of the tucks.  Although I was able to isolate & fix the mistake without ripping back, ladders had formed from the yarn being stretched during the surgery and, even though it’s the Ravelympics competition, I knew the right thing was to rip back past that tuck so that it looked right.  I’m very glad I did.  Here are the tucks close up:

I am on the lower back now and decided not to do the tucks on the back for three reasons: 1) I want to make sure I have enough yarn at the end, 2) I am lazy, and 3) I do what I can NOT to draw attention to my back side.  So this is the right choice.  I do have one minor conundrum, though.  I believe I picked the wrong size — I started with a medium, but in reality I am between a medium and a small given the way this is looking.  So the front (pictured above) is going to wrap around further around my back rather than ending at my sides like it’s supposed to.  I actually have no idea why the front and back have to be knitted separately in the first place, but they are.  So I am planning to make a smaller back side.  The only downside I can see to this is that any seam lines will not be directly at my sides.  I don’t see this as too much of a problem.  (Do you?)  Mainly, though, I am just stumped as to why you don’t just knit this all the way around in one big side-to-side tube.  I’m thinking it must have something to do with how the back yoke is attached.  I am hoping that making my lower back smaller won’t affect how the back yoke looks or fits.  (I will probably make the back yoke somewhere in between the medium and small sizes.)  The vest has 5 parts: lower front, lower back, back yoke, right front yoke and left front yoke.  Here, again, is a picture of the original:

What do you think?  Oh, and one final note:  my gauge is deliberately much tighter so my vest will not be as drapey as in the example in the photo (which I think would not be flattering on me).