But what a royal pain to pick up all those stitches! I am seeing why the directions called for doing each piece separately - the number of stitches to pick up is greater than the number of stitches on the edge (pick up 103 from the 96 and even more around the front). I think the math and the size would make it too unwieldy to have everything seamed and then do this procedure as a whole.
I used a crochet hook (as per Vogue Knitting) and it did work well - but I was very slow and it is certainly not my favorite technique! It is much easier to pick up the gusset stitches on a sock.
More to come~~~