The vest is finally... finally... starting to come together.
I may have done some happy jumps and loud whoops the minute that I tucked the last strands from the shoulders in after attaching the front sections to the back.
And I'm super happy with how the back turned out!
I may have accidentally done a 3-needle bind-off with the wrong sides together instead of the right sides when attaching the front to the back, and there might be a bit of a ridge on the top of the front/back bind-off, but I didn't realize what was going on until I was halfway through the bind-off. I'm not good at fixing bind-offs, so I'm banking on my brother not noticing.
After dance tonight, I plan on picking up the shoulder and hopefully getting at least one arm band started. The end of this vest is so near, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
I also was able to find some buttons that I think fit the theme of the sweater...
and they're perfectly ridiculous enough to work. :)