Let’s Hang On To What We’ve Got!

“ Mom, it’s time for you to quit wearing this strapless top.”

Is this a preview of what’s to come?

“Mom, this house is more than you can handle. Let’s look at a retirement community.”

“Mom, it’s time to turn over the car keys.”

“Mom, we’re afraid you are going to hurt yourself with that sewing machine.”


I’ll quit wearing the strapless top, but I’m not giving it away.  It’s an expensive Sarah Campbell top made of a beautiful cotton almost as nice as Grandmother’s Sheet, and I love it. I recognize there comes a time when one has to take a long hard look and make some wardrobe changes, but in my opinion many women go matronly way too early.

Yes, I subscribe to Advanced Style but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

I decided I could upcycle this top to work in my favor by using the ties from the bow as halter straps.

What do you think?

After opening the seam between the upper bust and lining, I tied a knot where the bow had once been and securely stitched the ends between the lining and the ruched bust pieces. Then I stitched the remaining ties in the same manner. After finishing the edges of the ties, I had a new halter.

It’s quite hard moving into another fashion phase before you’re ready, but Strapless to Halter is a doable transition and now I can continue to wear one of my favorite summer tops.

So….. let’s wear our clothes with  p a n a c h e 

and n o t  let our clothes wear us into despair!

Until soon!

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67 Responses to Let’s Hang On To What We’ve Got!

  1. Cissie Wellons says:

    The halter is a great compromise and looks wonderful on you. But I really don’t think you’re at the age where you need to worry much about “appropriateness” or anything like that. Also, it doesn’t look to me as though your skin is getting crepey (or is it “crapey”?) And I totally agree about many going matronly way too early. I think that we have the right/responsibility to look stylish as long as we choose!

    • Thank you for this nice comment Cissie! Perhaps the word is crappy :)
      Now that I’ve redesigned the halter I like it much better as there is nothing to worry about in terms of a wardrobe malfunction – and I actually find it more flattering in its new design!

  2. Erica B says:

    The halter looks great on you!

  3. gingermakes says:

    I love the halter top– the diagonal lines the straps create are so flattering to your shoulders! I think you look FAB, and you should wear whatever you want to! :) I had to laugh a little bit when I read this post because my mom is quite young (much younger than my friends’ moms), but she doesn’t dress like she’s young. My sister and I are always trying to get her to dress a little younger!

  4. Cheryl says:

    Nice remake! I’m so impressed by your ability to not only sew things from ‘scratch’, but re-work existing clothing into wonderfully wearable new items! Come on over to my closet sometime :)

  5. Ruth says:

    Sometimes I still think I’m 19 until teenage son reminds me I’m not! Lovely refashion of your top and extremely wearable.

  6. Karen says:

    Another wonderful “make-over” – and good for you for creative compromise. Hope your daughters love what you’ve done to preserve/update one of your favorite tops! You look terrific in it!

  7. Phil says:

    Oh, one of my teenage daughters told me last summer I was revealing too much cleavage. On reflection I decided she was right as perhaps my bust isn’t quite what it was! But it’s all about what you feel comfortable in, after that comment I felt self-conscious in low cut styles. So I have been there. However you have an elegant and distinct style, so I would stick with what your instinct tells you looks good.

  8. Tracey says:

    Oh my goodness! I think you are so clever and this look is fabulous! You inspire me to look at my closet with a whole new eye.

  9. Lori says:

    I think you look fabulous in all your garments. I like the refashion so much and agree to stay with younger styles. I have friends 3-5 years younger than me and they say if Lori can wear that style then so can we. I don’t know to take that as a compliment as I look good or an insult as I am hanging onto the younger styles too long!

    You look great!

  10. Louella says:

    i adore this look on you!

  11. Shams says:

    That top is gorgeous on you.

  12. Heather says:

    I think you could still pull off a strapless look, but this halter is adorable! I’m sure you will get a lot of use out of it. Great refashion!

    I notice many moms my age (late 30’s) who are either dressing far too matronly or far too young. There is a middle road, but it can be difficult to know when to make those subtle changes. You are an inspiration for I’d like to dress as I approach new decade.

    And if you have any magic facial cremes to recommend, please do tell, because you look amazing!

  13. Becky says:

    I think you might need to consider that your daughter wanted you to give up that top so that she could have it! It’s darling. I think the refashion was very smart, and it will allow you to continue to wear it much longer than a strapless version. I am older than you, and I still don’t like to dress matronly either, but a compromise is usually best. You look great!

  14. oonaballoona says:

    wait now, no no and NO. i mean, *yes* the refashion is absolutely awesome, but don’t you dare stop wearing strapless tops. worse than hand over the car keys… what if the fruit of your loins decrees no more mini length??!!! FIGHT THE POWER!

  15. Amanda S. says:

    LOVE it!!! You did a perfect job and it looks like it came from the store that way. I think about this issue all the time…

  16. Art Attack says:

    Adorable! Just as it was strapless. I think we all see enough women out there who do not dress age appropriately but…most of them have little or no sense of style to begin with. I think changes should be made when YOU think they should. However, I don’t have daughters critiquing me, either, so easy for me to say!

  17. Valerie says:

    I agree with the other poster that the issue here is whether YOU still felt great in the strapless top, because you certainly still have the figure to carry it off. The halter variation looks great too and is probably more versatile.
    I read some style advice once that said that women can incorporate young/trendy looks at any age as long as the rest of the outfit is classic.

  18. Andrea says:

    Strapless….. I have heard if you put on a strapless and it stays up, then you can wear strapless!

  19. rory says:

    You look gorgeous in that halter. It would be one thing if the fit was iffy on you and made you look like someone trying to reclaim their glory days, but it doesn’t say that at all about you. As long as they’re up, keep it up.

  20. I like the remake even better than the original. I aggree with Andrea a Oonaballoona tho’. You most certainly can pull off strapless with grace and feminine appeal.

  21. Coco says:

    Panache is good – been wondering what to call my total lack of fear and love of fashion! I’m 64! and just getting warmed up! Love your top!

  22. Myra says:

    Very nice save!!! Great job!!!L

  23. cjgal says:

    I love it both strapless and as a halter, you look beautiful either way!

  24. CherryPix says:

    hang on, hang on, hang on…to that cute top! You’ve got fabulous shoulders and the halter straps look great. (I too suspect DD was hoping you might pass it her way)

  25. I completely agree. With Everything. Fab top too, of course.

  26. sewbusylizzy says:

    LOL do children ever lose their charming honesty with their parents? Miss 7 told me last week “mum, no offense, but you’re an old person, seriously’.
    Imagine her in her 20s!
    The girls love my clothes at the moment – even more so since I’ve started to sew! Whereas my mother tries to make me dress older, more sensible! I’m resisting!!

  27. Linda (Phila burbs) says:

    lol. my daughter is 25 and continues to dispense unsolicited advice to me about EVERYTHING and then some! bless her heart. i am really enjoying seeing what you sew, your style and your wardrobe! and the fact that you can take garments and make them over blows my mind. well done!

  28. Irene says:

    Fabulous restyle.

  29. I think you look fabulous in everything you wear! Age appropriate doesn’t mean frumpy or matronly. It’s my guess you’ll look great your whole life no matter what age!

  30. Agnes says:

    I don’t blame you for holding on to that top! The fabric and styling are just lovely! And just for the record, you can definitely still wear the strapless style! But the halter looks great, too. And it’s like having a brand new top. Enjoy it!

    • Thank you, Agnes! The top looks much better on me now that it has been altered. I’m sure I’ll wear some strapless clothing but this top did not work anymore as it was and I’m glad my daughter pointed it out. :)

  31. Andrea says:

    General question for everyone – what company makes a good pair of scissors (not pinking shears) – just sharp scissors to cut fabric with? Mine would not cut hot butter. I have ruined them and I do not know of anyone in Gastonia who sharpens scissors any more.


    • Cissie Wellons says:

      Kai, Kai, and Kai! I have a drawerful of Ginghers but my Kais are the only scissors I use nowadays. One pair I’ve had for over 2 years and they have never needed sharpening! Absolutely the best. Waechter’s in Asheville sells them, but you can buy them direct from Kai. I cannot recommend these high quality shears enough. A bit pricey — but worth every penny! BTW, they are so good with slippery fabrics and knits that I rarely use my rotary cutter anymore!

    • Andrea,
      Sorry to be late responding but I have been out of town. In my opinion, Cissie’s sewing is unparalleled so I would take her advice. …. I’m going to!

  32. Rosie says:

    I love the halter conversion. You are way too young to be even saying the words “going matronly”. Work it beautiful woman!

    • I appreciate those kind words, Rosie! It’s very true however that many women my age and younger begin to dress in matronly clothes……. Like you say, I’ll work it as long as I can..!! :)

  33. Andrea says:

    Thanks for the scissor advise. It is hard for us ladies to find store bought clothes these days that is age appropriate. I tell the ladies at work that I try to find something in between slutty and meemaw. I don’t want to look too young or too old at age 59. It is very hard to find things. So with this blog…. I have gathered my patterns I have saved for years and bought fabric only to discover that I have ruined my scissors over the years. My first fabric choice, something pretty but slippery was not a good fabric to start on. I’m going back to Mary Jos after I get some decent scissors and start with cotton fabric and line it like you suggested. Then I will move on to the other fabric. : )

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