I can see the end in sight!
First step: I tried on the dress after a couple of months of it hanging in my closet mocking me to find that it was now a bit snug in the chest area. Since this dress has no zipper or opening other than the neckline, I didn't want to risk ripping the seams when I put it on over my head. Apparently I only gained weight in my chest and it was giving off a mono-boob appearance. So I opened up the side seams and reduced the seam allowance to 1/2", resulting in a dress with 1/2" more ease.
Second step was adjusting and reinforcing the front gathers with a strip of twill tape on both the dress and on the lining.
Next step was attaching the facing (made of the fashion fabric) to the right side of the lining (wrong side is showing in picture) As you can see when you stitch on the facing, you have to stitch across the bust gathers on the lining too. I have to admit I was worried how that would effect the fit of the lining later.
Where I am now:
I am sewing the neckline seam that joins the dress and the lining. Then I will have to notch and grade the seam allowances so that the neckline lays flat and has a defined v-shape at the center, like this one:
The very last steps will be attachment of the sleeves and the hemming of essentially two dresses.
Woo hoo - the end is near.