I did it!
That top that wasn't going well? I completed it. No manky bit of fabric's getting the better of me! I sat down yesterday and worked on it, and completed it at about 10pm, which is what happens when you're both a slow sewist and really nitpicky about the finish on seams and edges.
Overall, it's not as bad as I'd feared. It's pretty comfy to sit around in, and while there are some obvious pull lines across the chest it doesn't actually feel tight. The hem's a bit stretched, but then this is my first time working on the bias so I'm not going to beat myself up about that. (Do stretched hems soften over time?) I had to remove a lot of fabric from the front and back hem to get things level with the side seams, and I'd prefer the whole thing to be a few inches longer, so if I make another I'll add a couple of inches at the sides. The bow's a bit odd; I'd anticipated it looking like the shoulder was tied, but it just sort of sits there. I'm tempted to try knotting the tie around the shoulder instead.
But I'm looking on this as a success. I worked with a more delicate fabric than I have previously, on the bias. I dropped the bust darts by a couple of inches. That actually made me feel pretty awful to do – an admission that youthful perkiness is no longer mine! – and also slightly sad when I look at the garment for the same reasons, but what I need to do is focus on the fit. Because when the top is on, no-one thinks, 'Mmm, those darts are a bit low.' Whereas if I'd left them in the place they were on the pattern, it'd be obvious either the darts were too high or the boobs too low. As I keep telling other people "It's not your body that's wrong, it's the clothes." Poor-fitting clothes draw attention to things that simply aren't noticed when clothes fit well. So I shall jolly well continue to drop those darts.
I'll definitely wear the top, and I might even wear it around other people. Yup, that's a success.
Here's a shot inside the shoulder. As you can see, I've French-seamed the garment, and finished all raw edges. I try never to leave raw edges as they fray and get tatty, but it's especially important with a delicate fabric where the whole thing could easily come apart.