Pattern Reviews

La Bella Donna top & tunic (Love Notions). Length checks, tops & a dress version.

There are three adjectives to describe this pattern: simple, flattering and cute. This is what came to mind while I was planning to sew The Bella Donna top & tunic by Love Notions.

Source: Love Notions website

We all need these satisfying projects that are designed well and fit amazing. They can really show off a great print. Designed for medium weight knit fabric with 40% two way stretch (horizontal and vertical), there are many options like rayon blends, French terry, sweater knits….

Apart from the obvious length options, the woman sleeves can be short, 3/4 length and long with the addition of cuffs. The neckline can be a simple scooped style, or a cowl and hoodie for more fun. The top has an optional band at the hem and for pocket lovers: Inseam pockets. Lots and lots of options.

The sizing is available from XS to 3XL. The size is chosen on the high bust and there aren’t finished garment measurements provided. So before making a quick muslin, I set out to do flat pattern measurements to determine if the size based on my body measurements had the ease I preferred. My size is Large. For reference, I am 5ft 8″, athletic build hourglass 41-34-44.

Source: Love Notions Website

The patterns from Love Notions are drafted for a 5ft 5” woman and I’m 5ft 8”, so there are bound to be length discrepancies between my body’s length and the pattern’s. I determined I needed to draw a line above my own apex point and add 1” there. The fullness of the design is drafted for a higher apex than mine. This is a common adjustment for me, so even though this design is simple and could be forgiving…. I need to deal with this.

Also, the total length of the top is more than what is my personal preference. At the official shorten/lengthen line, I overlapped 3 inches. Considering I added 1” further up, it means the top will be 2” shorter in total.

After sewing a muslin and being happy that the adjustments made were to my liking, I pinned references with the garment on my body to determine how much lower I wanted the scooped neckline to be. This is how decided to lower it by 3″.

I then decided to lengthen the tunic pattern into a dress and for that to work for me, I needed a total of 8″ added to hit me right above the knee. I set out to lengthen the pattern in three different areas and blend to an XL for the hips. I wanted more ease for the dress.

You can see all these pattern modifications and the three garments on in my video from my sewing channel down below 🙂

In regards to the neckline finishing:

The pattern has two options for the scooped neckline. One is to serge, fold under and top stitch, and the other is to cut a knit facing that is sewn on and folded inside and top stitched. I favor the later option always. I don’t have a cover stitch machine and always doubt the recovery of some knit fabrics to maintain their shape over time with wear and laundering if the neckline is folded under and top stitched.

The second option is great and depending on the fabric, I might fold it onto itself for added support. This is what I did to finish the neckline of my muslin version made with rayon spandex.

Due to the altered neckline, I measure the new circumference at 72cm. I use this to calculate how much shorter my neck pieces need to be, according to different fabric types.

Top in rayon spandex:

For this neckline piece, I cut a rectangle 1 3/8″ wide by 58cm in length. This is the 80% of the neckline circumference of my top.

Binding is inside. one row of top stitching visible on the ourside.

Athletic knit medium weight:

For the blue top, I drafted a neckband that is 2″ wide. The length was 62.5cm and that is 85% of the neckline circumference.

Neckband. Note: I never top stitch neckbands.

Dress in ITY, yoke is rayon spandex:

I drafted a neckband that is 2″ wide and the length is 58cm (80%).

Neckband at 80%

Lots of numbers there but an example about how I go by feel and maths to draft my own binding and neckband pieces with good results 🙂 Now for the pics!

Athletic knit top:

Rayon spandex top (the muslin)

ITY & rayon spandex Dress version:

I’m super happy with my tops and dress. Comfortable and easy to sew! For the dress, a belt is an option for the days I prefer to have more shaping in my look.

Here are some on-the-go real life photo wearing my dress with a belt.

The Bella Donna top and tunic has it’s equivalent pattern in sizes 2T-16 as a cute little girl’s version.

DISCLAIMER: I was provided the pattern without cost, as a brand ambassador. My opinions are honest. I Purchased my own fabric for both final versions. The muslin fabric was a left over from a minerva project.

I have affiliate links in this post to the pattern company and the pattern. If you click on these links, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission that helps finance my sewing, blog and Youtube channel.

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2 replies »

  1. Hi Karina,
    Your makes always have that perfect marriage of pattern and fabric. Truly your skill and one you have mastered so well. I second what everyone says on your channel, you are a fantastic teacher. I have been learning so much. Thank you.

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