I came back to the skirt today and tried a few fixes. I removed the front pleats and made them into slim darts instead. I folded the front bands in half and top stitched them down, and I added an extra piece onto the waistband/facing type thing and sewed it on, top stitched and stitched the facing in place and then made 15 machine buttonholes on the left placket. I think I'll save sewing on the corresponding buttons until I am sitting in a hotel room tomorrow evening (away overnight with work). Ironically the waistband is now slightly loose, but I think I will resolve that by running some wide elastic through the back facing as though it were a casing, just to snug things in a little.
I still need to add a 2" hem which I think I might just stitch in place by machine, without even doing a blind hem. As the facing and plackets have a lot of top stitching already I think it would be in keeping to have a top stitched hem as well. In fact I may do two rows of stitching, one 1/4" from the edge and the other 2" from the edge. That should give a nice weighty hem.
I have been debating whether all the buttons should be operational, or if the ones in the centre should have the buttonholes left un-slit and the buttons sewn through both layers. If I have all the buttons working I think I would hand stitch the plackets together at the back to avoid any possible wardrobe malfunctions.