Oh I know...my learning curve for garments was very, very long.
Instead of frustrating yourself by trying a lace pattern your first time out for a top, why not try a simple pattern?
After many, many, many tries my first successful sweater was a top down and once you get that first success, the sky's the limit
Knitting Pure and Simple (available on line at Web's and other on-line shops) patterns are perfect for a beginner. If you belong to Ravelry, there is a "top-down" group and you can find a ton of free patterns.