The lacy part is knitted in two main pieces, starting at the bottom of each sleeve and increasing as you knit towards the centre front and centre back. The neckband and ribbed wastband are knitted separately and then all four pieces are sewn together. It is obviously designed to show off a curvy 1950s figure with a tiny (corseted) waist.
A similar design, also based on a doily pattern, appears in Sirdar leaflet 1404. To my mind, this one is more successful - the neckline at the front develops more naturally out of the circular shape. But I don't know what the neckline looks like at the back, and it's hard to imagine it just from reading the pattern instructions.
It seems that leaflet 1401 was much more popular than 1404, judging by the number of copies that I have seen at Lee Mills. I'm not sure why - they both take 5 oz. of 3-ply wool, and fit the same range of sizes. Somehow, the look of leaflet 1401 was more appealing to knitters of the time.