So I broke down and used the machine...shame on me.... but I only used it for two seams, so not too bad, right? I got a bit of ambition last night and just HAD to get the skirt on the dress. I tried a new variation of a technique previously used; first I sewed the muslin lining, the linen, and a three inch wide strip of wool all along the top edge with about a half inch seam. I then trimmed the perpendicular edges and sewed that up to be the back seam. Then I flipped the linen/wool to the outside, so that the top edge was finished and six layers thick. This was then pleated to a narrow strip of linen which I then whipstitched to the inside of the bodice. I went back to the outside and stitched the tops/outside of each pleat to the very bottom of the outside layer of linen on the bodice using invisible stitches. This aligned everything beautifully, and I loved how it turned out.
I had any doubts about how this gown would turn out with using linen instead of silk, they are gone. The sheen and lightweightness of this gown so far are perfect, plus washable!!
Back to the skirt; instead of having side back slits to co-ordinate with the side back openings, I instead left about a nine inch portion of the skirt unpleated. Once the gown is finsihed, the excess skirt will close with hook and eye. I haven't tried this before, but saw it somewhere ( bad me, saw it somewhere and didn't document, bad!). It leaves a pretty substantial break in the even row of pleats BUT this will get rid of the gap in the skirt that shows camicia beneath (one of my pet peeves).
Ive also been slowly working away on the sleeves. The first one is completely finished and the second one is ready to be assembled. Once i'm finished with both I will post more on the construction experiments I performed upon them.
On another note, I have been convinced by family and friends to pursue sewing as a business. I stay with my husband's granny during the week, making sure she eats, and all that fun stuff, which gives me oodles of time to sew instead of sitting and watching the Walton's with her all day. I'm slowly starting to work on a website where I can put things up for sale and take commissions. This will be an interesting pursuit, but I'm anxious to make a bit more cash and spend my time being productive and useful. Any thoughts or ideas for what I could encorporate? Or if i'm even skilled enough to do this?