In the photo above, you can see a little bit of what I'm talking about. The bottom gathers are sagging ever so slightly, and the bottom of the dress hangs lower in the front. Yes, my "bubble butt" is contributing to the problem as well, but it wouldn't be as bad without those gathers in the front.
From the front it's not so noticeable, and I actually do like the ruching across my body. It helps to camouflage my tummy.
And yes, the neckline turned out quite low, even with the adjustments I made (grading down to a 42 and raising the center front 1".) All the photos above were taken with the overlap pinned.
The photo below was taken unpinned. I can only imagine how bad it would have been if I'd just cut the straight 44. Notice that the horizontal wrinkles above the bust disappear when the pin is removed.
The clear elastic in the neckline worked out perfect. That edge is snug up against my body and it isn't going anywhere. I can twist, turn, bend over, or even hang upside down and there is absolutely no gaping. Hopefully it won't stretch during wear and expose any more cleavage!
I guess this dress is going to have to be strictly a "date night" dress and not a work dress. In any case, the weather is so beautiful now, it may go straight into the closet to wait for fall when heavy knits and shape wear will be more practical.