Love Notions La Bella Donna – Original and V-Neck Front and Back Hack

My love for Love Notions patterns runs deep… The styles work well with my preferences for a wardrobe that I can dress up or down to best prepare for anything my day puts in front of me.  

This make is probably the simplest one in the whole catalogue, yet one that I think has an incredible amount of potential – the La Bella Donna (affiliate link*)(or LBD as I’ll call it – but not to be confused with little black dress, 😊).  This is a dolman sleeve garment with the drop shoulder sleeve meeting either just beyond the shoulder or down at the elbow (this is the length I selected for both my tops). It can be finished with either a band or by turning under and stitching (I tried both ways for these two tops).

I LOVE that it is simply 1 main pattern piece that you cut for both the front and the back – sometimes you want to sew – and need something uncomplicated.  This pattern is really easy to match prints and stripes at the side seams and shoulder seams because the pattern is just one main piece.  

I was admitted SUPER skeptical about the way a garment would fit me that uses the same pattern piece for the front and the back – but to pull this off, fabric will be CRITICAL – especially for those of you with swayback issues like me (I’ve included a link to my standard adjustments here). 

For the first top, I used a yummy rayon spandex knit from Simply by Ti.  Ti was gracious enough to offer me the fabric to try out and share my experiences.  I had a hard time picking which fabric to use (there are so many great choices), but I was inspired by all the navy I was seeing all over the Pinterest boards, and just knew I had to have something with navy and stripes in my wardrobe.

This fabric has the perfect drape and weight for this LBD (or honestly, any garment requiring excellent drape).  You can see how the fabric is not clingy (something I worry about, given… well… post two-baby mom bod 😊) and about as easy to work with as cotton lycra.

I opted to finish the sleeves and waist with bands for a quicker finish and am pleased with the outcome.

Given the simplicity of the pattern, I thought I would try my hand at hacking the neckline of the LBD to have a v-neck in both the front and back.  You can see from the photos below, that I simply measured from the front of the neckline, down to where I wanted it to end and then along the shoulder seam to about where my bra strap rests.  This gave me the v neckline that would be used for the front and back.  

For this make, I used a pink microsuede from So Sew English Fabrics.  I’m a sucker for all things textured and this fabric did not disappoint! 

I drafted a facing for it and interfaced it with a fusible knit interfacing.  I made sure to clip center of the ‘v’ point after stitching (to release the tension in that spot) and understitched the seam allowance to the facing.

I haven’t decided if I should topstitch the facing down since it does require tucking when I put on the garment despite the fact that I tacked down the shoulder seams.  That’s probably a decision for another day.

All in this make will be a great wardrobe builder and has endless potential for turning into whatever you want!  

Which neckline do you prefer?  Do you have a favorite dolman that you seem to come back to time and again? I know I have a couple favorites 😊 – let me know about yours in the comments below!

6 thoughts

  1. I admire your stripe matching. That rayon spandex can be a little slippery, but matching stripes is a sign of a great seamstress!


  2. I really find that the LBD is such simple chic. Easy to sew, no fuss, instant feel good garment.
    I love this stripe from Tibeca, though, and she has it in such pretty colours. I must order some this weekend.


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