At least for me. I can never get them right the first time. I usually expect I will have to rip out the first attempt. I did this yesterday and then ripped it out last night.
You can see that it is a little too long. I measured the front of the sweater. It was 20". My gauge is 8 st/inch, so I picked up 160 stitches along the front. (Oh yeah I cut it down the middle first.) I thought I wanted some pattern in the band, but after trying it on, decided I don't. It detracts from the other patterns. In rosemaling you learn that a border should complement but not overwhelm or detract from the main pattern. I think this is detracting, so the new one will either be plain or have just a little white in it. I picked up 144 stitches the second time. Hopefully that will be the right size. I do the side without button holes first for obvious reasons. (Remember the photo is backwards, since it is taken in a mirror.)
I also decided to do the front bands before the collar.
And in case you want to see what else I am working on, here are pictures of the project we've just completed in our house. Hallway renovation