I have had a couple of very helpful comments about my blouse project.
It is probably the right time to confess that I was a bit too cocky in my approach. I kind of thought “I can sew Japanese patterns with no instructions, so this will be easy!” And forgot all the golden rules like Pin Tack Stitch ( = Mirror Signal Manoeuvre). The pattern is very clearly written and the word “baste” comes up a lot. I had got into the bad habit of lining up my pins at 90 degrees to the stitching line and hammering on. Mea culpa! The high level of detail in the written instructions is not quite matched by the diagrams, so you need to concentrate. My recent immersion in Japanese patterns, where I rely entirely on drawings, was probably my downfall. I looked at the pictures and only resorted to words when I got stuck. But when I did, it worked (the darts). So thank you Segwyne and Helen, I will try adjusting my stitch length and I will definitely be basting the sleeve caps. I plan to finish the blouse on Saturday. There – I’ve said it now, so it’s a plan!