I do still have some important details to figure out. Mainly the internal support structure. But I did get the new bodice basted together with all of my pattern changes, and if I may say so myself, it worked beautifully.
I think the moral of the story is that when it comes to very fitted bodices, princess seams are going to work for me ten times better than double darts ever will. This made a HUGE difference in the look of the front. I also like the new lowered neckline, though I think I'm going to have to adjust those curves a bit to make it look a bit more sweetheart-y. (That somewhat pointy section on the right side is the result of the clipped piece sticking out. If this was the real thing, obviously I would have pressed it and stitched down the seam allowances and such, since the Bridal Couture book strongly recommends joining the lining to the upper edge of the bodice by hand. But this isn't the real thing.) I also did a rather sloppy version of the cap sleeves, with the side seam allowances on both the lace and the organza just folded in, but it's enough to tell that it will work, provided I can figure out how to conceal the actual seam allowances on the sides and shoulders as much as possible.
It looks like that waist on the front is really crooked, but it's not nearly that bad outside of the picture. For one thing, I think I forgot to tug this into actual approximate placement before I took the picture, so the top will run a bit lower. For another thing, the jeans are not helping that visual.
See? It's pretty straight from the side. On an unrelated side note, yes, these are the jeans I made, and for the most part, they're washing and wearing beautifully! But I have noticed that the waistband has stretched a bit so that it gaps in the front--though the back is still gapiosis-free!-- so for the next pair, I'm going to need to stabilize and/or alter and/or completely swap out the waistband for something more contoured. On the plus side, I was afraid that it would be too tight in the crotch area, and it's actually quite comfortable!
Ok, back to the dress. There is that one diagonal pull there, but I think once the skirt is on, that will probably straighten out. The boning might help too, once I get that in.
My favorite new detail? The back is exactly how I pictured it to be. Check this out:
The lace is one piece, and underneath there's the "fashion fabric" on the lower part, and organza on the upper part. So the effect when I'm wearing it is just that my upper back is covered in lace. The pattern alteration was soooo easy to do--I took my french curve ruler, started where the front bodice meets the back armhole, and did a very slight curve towards the center back. Then I added seam allowances to both of those pieces. Given my usual lack of success when it comes to flat pattern alteration, it's very gratifying to know that this worked. Again, there is some rippling, but I do think that will straighten out when the skirt/boning is in.
My next adventure is figuring out boning placement--I'm not sure I technically need it, since this isn't strapless, but I think I'll have a little more peace of mind knowing that I'm not putting all of that strain on the organza in the shoulder seams. Especially since I have no idea how much this skirt will weigh when all is said and done, given the length and the layers of lining and underlining and stuff. (Plus I need to figure out if I need to add tulle and such for fullness.)
I've never used spiral steel boning in my life, so I've been using this tutorial for cutting it. It was definitely easier than cutting through an entire length of metal, but still hard! My little wire cutters, which I generally use for jewelry-making, were not quite up to the task, so I ended up having to resort to just snipping it over the same area over and over until the metal finally weakened enough that I could break it. I did get all of the lengths that I'm pretty sure I'll need cut (a bit tricky for the front, and some of the pieces are very, very short, since I was using where my bra ended as a guideline. See between those yellow pins and the waistline!). I got the tips on all of them. The website also recommended wrapping the tips in some plumbers' tape to keep the tips from coming off while sliding things in and out of the boning. I don't have any, so I've been at a bit of a standstill ever since. Not that I've had time to sew since Monday anyway.
On an overall plus side, the lace is behaving better in the actual bodice, so maybe I'll only have to hand-stitch the seams and darts (just for motif placement), instead of all over the pieces, after all!