Pattern Review

La Bella Donna: The Pattern Review

So at this point, you all are probably thinking, “Geez, Katie, are you eeeeever going to stop talking about that stinkin’ La Bella Donna??”  Well, I guess the answer is yes … eventually.

But I’ve posted about 3 La Bella Donna (affiliate link) tops for 2 different blog tours and have yet to do a proper step-by-step review! Time to remedy that.

Creative Counselor: La Bella Donna pattern review

I won’t go into the nitty gritty of each of these 3 tops.  You can see deets about my camo La Bella Donna here, and about the other two here.

La Bella Donna (affiliate link) is one of those patterns where the more I make it, the more I like it.  I’ve made a couple other relaxed dolman-sleeve tops (the EYMM Kymy dolman and Shwin Daytripper stand out), but La Bella Donna is by far my favorite.  I attribute that mainly to LBD’s really nice shape through the bust and middle.

Creative Counselor: For the Love of Tunics and Dresses, La Bella Donna

It has the comfort and ease of a dolman top, but it’s much slimmer and more shapely through the bust and waist, flaring out at the hip.  This really helps emphasize my shape, and I think is a far superior look.  There are other popular dolmans on the market that I’ve never tried, but most of them have that loosey-goosey in the middle shape, and after discovering how much I like the slimmer look of the LBD, I’m not inclined to try them.  It does make me anxious to try my Deer & Doe Arum dress, though.  That dress is basically a woven version of the LBD, and could be a perfect comfy work dress.

Creative Counselor: For the Love of Tunics and Dresses, La Bella Donna

Pattern: La Bella Donna (affiliate link) by Love Notions

Price: $8.95 USD.

Size: M

Difficulty: Beginner.  With no sleeves to set in, dolmans are about as straight forward as you can get.

Techniques Required: Sewing with knits, attaching cuffs, hemming knits, sewing a curved line.

Similar Patterns: EYMM Kymy’s Dolman (affiliate link), Shwin Daytripper, Patterns for Pirates Pumpkin Spice Dolman, Grainline Hemlock Tee.

Fabric: A variety of knits.  The camo is a thicker double knit.  The solid blue is a really soft cotton/spandex jersey, and the patterned one is a drapey rayon jersey.

Fit: Excellent. I love how this top is shaped through the bust and waist.

Modifications: None really.  For the camo one, I didn’t have enough fabric for the full cowl, so it’s a little shorter than drafted, and for the patterned one, I drafted a neckband to finish the neckline.  I also lengthened the cuffs a bit as I found them a bit short.  All minor modifications.

Pattern format: PDF.  Love Notions does no-trim pages, which makes taping PDF patterns together soooooo much less painful!  This file isn’t terrible to work with at all.


  • Beautiful shape — best on any dolman I’ve seen.
  • Very easy construction — the hallmark of a dolman top.
  • Lots of options.  The pattern comes with a regular neck, cowl, and hoodie, as well as shirt and tunic lengths and several sleeve length options.
  • Large size range.


  • I don’t like the finish on the basic neckline.  It’s just a turn-under-and-stitch, which I find to be a little lazy.  I’d much prefer either a bias finish or neckband.  For mine I drafted a neckband.
  • I found the long sleeve cuffs to be a little too short.  But they’re quite easy to lengthen.

Overall Grade: A.  There are lots of dolman tops out on the indie market now, but I think this one has the best shape of any I’ve seen.  It’s flattering on most body types and really shows off curves.  It comes in a broad size range too.

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