I found an adorable tutorial by Sew Mama Sew. Just had to give it a try. Don't know if I followed it exactly, I was a bit confused at points, but I finally understand how to do pleating, it seems to have turned out okay. After finishing the first top and knowing what my mistakes were, I decided to try a second one. This time I got adventurous and added ruffles after referencing this tutorial which cleared up my confusion from the other tutorial's directions.
The ruffles really added to the top, and the cuts to allow armpit space were really necessary. I love the second try! Sorry for the myspace-style self portrait, but it was the easiest way to show the shirt. Isn't it cute?!