dang it, i had a whole post and it got lost in the craftster server tie up.
anyway, i have seen many variations on this design--the ties can be crossed like a surplice, they can be at each side of the body, etc. mcjulie-o, the pattern is a tube with a much longer piece that is sewn SIDEWAYS with the ends hanging free at back. for some reason they put a zipper in the tube--i have no idea why, the dimensions and fabric do NOT need it. :/
one thing i LOVE about the monif c. dress is that it isn't a tube, it is a flared skirt. that is SO much more flattering, i my opinion, for just about every figure.
edited: i just measured the pattern pieces for the mccalls dress, this is for a pattern supposedly sized XS (4-6): bust 29.5-30.5; waist 22-23; hip 31.5-32.5; back length neck to waist 15.25-15.5. extrapolate to fit your needs.
the skirt piece is 27" (to be cut on the fold) X 24" for a short skirt or 43" for a long skirt.
the bodice piece is 30" X 57", cut two and seam them on the short side then fold in half WST and sew along the three raw edges (leaving an opening to turn). turn and whip closed.
close the skirt along the seam (put in a zipper if you choose), and gather the waist to your measurement plus ease. stitch the bodice to the skirt SIDEWAYS: center the bodice seam opposite the skirt seam and sew from center front to center back on both sides--leaving the tails free. (see the technical drawing above).
also, this type of dress is currently available for sale in lots of catalogs:
spegiel (click thru the sequence, there are LOTS of other ways to tie this):http://www.spiegel.com/shop/category_splash.aspx?gp_coll_id=5001&gp_cat_id=5002&nav_cat_id=8580&category_id=8580
boston proper 3-in-1 skirt (click to see other ways to wear it):http://www.bostonproper.com/jump.jsp?itemID=4270&itemType=PRODUCT&AS=1&keyword=6426fb
boston proper also had a four-in-one dress but i can't find it on their website anymore. i have a picture that i cut out of the catalog, i'll try to remember to post it (i might need a reminder).