Yesterday, I took a photo of the gold character on the fabric and ran over to my friend May's house and asked her to tell me what it was, or at least, which way was up.
The gold one seemed to me to be the most legible of the three large characters, so I thought I'd make sure it at least, was right side up. I had already pinned the dress pattern pieces on the fabric and had made the assumption that the three strokes with the vertical line were at the bottom of the character. May looked at it and said she wasn't sure what it was exactly, but she was pretty sure that the three lines would be at the top of the character, not the bottom.
Later, May came over with a book of Chinese characters and I spent some time poring over them. It is possible that the gold character is "biao" or "manifest" (show), although I don't know why that would be on fabric. I think that fabric is more likely to have zodiac characters, or words like "love" or "soup". [This is a reference to one of my favourite shows "Big Bang Theory" and the episode in which Sheldon asks Penny why she has a tattoo of "soup" on her hip. She says it is "courage", not "soup". It is discussed more here and someone has even posted a GIF of the two characters here.]
I couldn't manage to get the pattern pieces for the jacket with the pleat in the back to fit on the fabric, after I had pinned the dress on, even when I eliminated the pleat. So I went with a tried and true pattern, Simplicity 4698, which has lots of smaller pattern pieces that I can juggle around.
I managed to squeeze them all on there. At least, I got the main pieces on.
I knew I wasn't going to be able to get them all on, so I bought some black linen for all the facings. I am making the jacket with no collar but it has large front facings. Also, the dress has facings all around the top edges. I toyed with the idea of red linen facings but thought the black would make a nice contrast and then I wouldn't have to match the red. I also bought plain red lining as I have decided it will be best to line the entire dress. It kind of negates the point of linen being worn when it's hot but this is pretty substantial linen and I think the dress will hang much better lined.
Finally, instead of a back vent, I am going to make a side slit at the bottom of the dress. I made a back vent the first time I made this dress (last January, also in linen) and I wasn't happy with how it rode up when I bent over. I know I can just avoid bending over, but with the Chinese fabric and everything, I thought a side vent or slit would work.