Meet my new favourite pattern! Easy peasy.. super quick to sew up! No sleeves to set in! Very few pattern pieces! Doesn’t take much yardage! Totally hackable! I mean.. it doesn’t get better than this! The Love Notions La Bella Donna was recently updated to include sizes XS – 5X and has been re-released into the sewing world with brand new features! Lucky for you, it’s on sale until July 30th!
I was a pattern tester and this is one of the most pleasant testing experiences I’ve had. After testing, I have 3 tops and 1 dress! Oops! Yes I went a bit ham.. just couldn’t help myself! The La Bella Donna has so many variations in this one pattern.. we have short sleeves with a hem band, ¾ and long sleeves with cuffs. Bound facing, cowl or hood for neckline options. Shirt or tunic lengths with optional pockets! I am sure my closet will eventually have combinations of all these versions! My first tester was a dbp ¾ sleeve top. I am turning that one into pjs with matching shorts. My second tester was a cotton jersey ¾ sleeve version… this one is so cozy and will be super snuggly in the cooler months. All of my tops are size L graded to XL at the hips – perfect fit! The size chart is spot on! The only change I made was to shorten the sleeves 1.5″ because I have short chunky arms.
My final is a mint rayon jersey ¾ sleeve top with the most gorgeous painted sun detail! First of all, mint is so new to me! I hesitated like crazy in the fabric store but the fabric was so soft I bit the bullet. And now I absolutely love this colour on me! I knew I wanted to do some sort of painting but your girl can’t freehand ok.. drawing isn’t one of my strong points so I opted for the stencil route! I found an amazing Celestial Sun stencil in my local craft store, designed by Gabriella Pollacco for The Crafters’ Workshop and I knew instantly this was the one! I did a practice run on my dbp pj top but I wasn’t a fan of the consistency of the fabric paint. I could see the fabric’s floral design through the paint. It needed two coats it seems. I decided to pull out my acrylics and settled on black because I figured it would show up best on the mint background. I did another practice run on a scrap of my mint fabric this time. It worked perfectly! And of course when it was time to do the painting on my actual top, the randomess piece of gunk decided to transfer from my sponge to my top! Yep that really happened! So I did end up with a small smudge but I am still so proud of this and I am sure with more practice I can really perfect this form of art! There is a tutorial on my YouTube Channel if you want to see the entire stenciling process, even the exact moment my paint failed me!
I enjoyed making that top so much, I dived right into my hacked tunic version. I knew since the testing call that I would wind up with an LBD beach dress. I’m an island girl.. it’s inevitable! I had no fabric in mind nor any in my stash that spoke to me so I headed to the fabric store and this is one of the few times when I knew exactly what I wanted as soon as I walked in. I spotted this tie dyed meshy stuff, labelled as jersey but this is so not jersey! This is some sort of polyester mesh fabric that is semi sheer and has rib like variegated vertical stripes. I don’t know what it is.. but it makes the perfect cover up! It’s a bit scratchy so I couldn’t see myself making anything that I’d have on for hours.. I feel like it was made for a beach cover up!
So for my beach dress, I lengthened the tunic at the hem by 5 inches and omitted the sleeve bands and bound facing. I just turned over all my hems and used my twin needle. The slight curve of the hem is so cute as a dress! Something to bear in mind if you want to recreate this look is that the tunic in the final pattern is a bit longer than mine was.. so measure to check how much length you need to add to make a dress. It probably wouldn’t be 5 inches. The biggest perk with this hacked version is that I only used one pattern piece! The back and front are cut using the same piece.. you just change the neckline. And since I turned over all my hems.. I didn’t need anything else! This literally took one hour to cut and sew!
I don’t know about you.. but to me.. this pattern is a pretty sweet deal! It can literally take you through all the seasons! And there is a style in there for everyone! The size range is amazing too and includes a full bust option so you don’t have to do an fba. I love all of my makes and cannot wait to try out the cowl and hood options when it cools down! I am picturing the cowl at Christmas time.. so gorgeous! Anyway enough rambling.. I do have a Youtube video if you want to check out my hacked beach dress there! Let me know which version is your favourite!