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.
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.
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.
Pattern: La Bella Donna (affiliate link) by Love Notions
Price: $8.95 USD.
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.
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.