When I had just finished boning the front panel...
My shoddy attempt at self-photography wearing the darn thing
This one shows two things: that although it creates cleavage, it flattens me off a bit (YAYAYAYAY!), and that I probably should have used more or stiffer boning at the sides/back. I could always add more, but the thought of opening up that casing and cutting more lengths and painstakingly threading them through just doesn't appeal right now.
And this one shows (*drumroll*) the Cleavage of DOOM! Note that this is what happens when I take deep breaths; it isn't anywhere near as bad as this when I'm breathing normally- you can see that in the picture above.
(Space below so people who don't want to see it can avoid looking)
So as long as I don't breathe in too deeply I'm okay :)
Things to bear in mind for next time:
1. Use a pattern that has tabs! I thought that the pressure at the waist couldn't possibly be all that bad, since it isn't designed to pull the waist in. I was wrong. I forgot that the waist is where all the weight is ultimately being rested, and I'm fairly weighty. Ergo, the waist pinches a little, and I'd really rather it didn't.
2. Use more boning on the sides/back, or maybe just use stiffer fabric or boning.
3. Adding straps would probably be a good idea, but I really can't be stuffed.
I think I may end up making a better chemise to go with this dress, as this one just isn't all that good. The back is especially dodgy. It was made to go under a cotehardie, so I thought all my little errors wouldn't matter... But since it's entirely possible that it will be visible around the neckline, a new one might be a very good idea indeed.
And I think I've got my measurements for the bodice section of the actual dress right, so tonight (or maybe tomorrow) I'll start cutting out the mock-up.
I feel so accomplished :D