Well, I did it. I machine sewed this sweater together and so far I see no ill effects. Actually it came out much nicer than when I do it by hand. So, thank you ladies who encouraged me to throw caution to the wind and do it. It was quick, it was easy and it fits great.
I had some leftover yarn so while watching a few episodes of Pippi Longstocking with my girls I knitted up a whole slew of flowers. The idea is from Louisa Harding's Knitting in the Details. She put the flowers on one side of the sweater only, but since I made so many I decided to use them all. I just have to find the proper buttons for this one. In the mean time I have begun sewing up sweater #2 from the dreaded pile.