Itch to Stitch Bellavista Top
When Kennis Wong at Itch to Stitch put out a testing call for the new Bellavista top, I knew I had to give it a try. You see, her patterns are so technically well drafted I was a little intimidated. I had never sewn an Itch to Stitch pattern (thank goodness that wasn’t an application question) even though I had her free skirt and free tank in my pattern collection.
By the way, always take advantage of a pdf designer’s free patterns- it gives you a great sense of the types of patterns they offer and features like no cut pages, fit and sizing, etc so you know what you are going to get when you purchase a pattern from them. Kennis now has a free boatneck top pattern called the Uvita that is to die for. Sew that first, and you’ll fall in love with her patterns like I did!
What gave me the courage to test the Bellavista was that it had a cowl neck option and I had never sewn a cowl neck before. I love pattern testing because it stretches me outside my comfort zone and improves my confidence and sewing technique quickly. Turns out, this pattern also gave me more practice in stripe matching, because off-setting your center panel fabric really highlights the stripes and lets that fabric shine. How did I do?
The Bellavista is a swing top pattern with long sleeve and ¾ bell sleeve options and can be finished with either a cowl neck or neckband. My striped sweater knit Bellavista used the ¾ bell sleeve and cowl options, and I sewed the navy and white paisley liverpool fabric with the long sleeve/neckband option. You can really get different looks depending on which options you choose.
What I love about this swing style top is it doesn’t hug my mid section. I’m normally self conscience about my larger-than-I-would-like tummy (what mom of two isn’t), but with the front of this pattern constructed with a center piece and two side panels you get just enough flare that you can’t tell if I ate a burrito or a salad for lunch. This is a win in my book. At first I thought the pattern was a little short for my personal preference, as I’m used to tunics and leggings as my go-to mom uniform. However, this pattern works beautifully with slacks or jeans and you still can’t spy my mom belly. Turns out, there ARE certain situations in life where it’s good to be able to throw on a pair of pants and feel good about yourself.
I am a teacher and right around the time my second was born I announced at the lunch table I would be wearing leggings for the rest of my life until someone ripped them off of me. That was two years ago. I had a pretty good run there for awhile, but I kind of feel good about growing a little, you know? In fact I actually bought these jeans just to show off this cool top, and now I wear them all the time. Next on my list is making a pair of jeans myself, another scary thing for me but I’m excited to step out of my comfort zone and do it! I got the Liana jeans from Itch to Stitch because I was so impressed with Kennis’ testing process after being a part of the Bellavista Top that I knew that the Liana’s would be as good as everyone tells me they are.
The other cool thing about this top is it gave me more practice in sewing sweater knit. I feel like this season I have been sewing all the sweater knits! Are they in style and so am I? Well, this would be a surprise as I’m not sure I have ever been in style anytime in my life. This sweater knit had some transparency to it (which I didn’t realize when I purchased it, inspect your fabrics people!) so I ended up putting a tank underneath which kind of gives it a cool effect.
Check out all those green plants behind me in January! Turns out in Southern California my definition of a sweater can be a little more forgiving and see-through than in other parts of the country. I guess that’s why I gravitate towards ¾ sleeves often as I can get more wear out of them throughout the year. I love the bell sleeve on this pattern, it is super cute and dare I say super trendy? Oops too late, I said it.
For those of you in colder parts of the world, the long sleeve is the perfect length and gives you a chance to get more practice with your twin needle or coverstitch machine. Take the time to finish it nicely, I promise you’ll be proud of your accomplishment.
Last but not least let’s talk about fabrics. This pattern works well with a variety of knit fabrics, just check the fabric requirements in the pattern to make sure yours has the appropriate amount of stretch. Along with the sweater knit in my striped cowl version, I used Liverpool and DBP (double brushed poly) in my long sleeve option, and both worked well. People at work actually thought I was wearing a cardigan over a shirt. Surprise, I’m like a sewing magician!
You could even cheat and use woven for the center panel, it would be great for showing off some fancy looking fabric. Get creative, that’s why you sew isn’t it? I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
*As always, this blog post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item using one of these links I may receive a small commission, which only fuels my sewing habit! Thank you.
Kelsey’s 2018 Sewing Goals
- Sew a Cowl √
- Sew a Wrap Dress
- Sew a Pair of Jeans
- Sew a Zipper
- Sew a Button
- Sew a Christmas Tree Skirt
- Sew a Matchbox Car Mat (or two) √
- Create a handmade wardrobe
- Open up an Etsy Shop with Embroidery Patterns