J McLaughlin Refashion

02 Jul J McLaughlin Refashion

The RTW Fasters and I are halfway through our pledge to abstain from buying ready-to-wear clothes during 2014! Lots of the women are knocking it out of the ballpark sewing incredible clothes too.

I’ve found reaching the halfway point serves as a great incentive in achieving nearly every goal I’ve set out to accomplish, and I celebrated the six-month marker by cleaning out my closet. 🙂

While I’ve questioned the wisdom about going on the RTW Fast during the same year of my child’s wedding, the closet exercise proved my decision sound.

Closet organization generates a different type of creative pleasure for me.  I do not follow the Tim Gunn rule of getting rid of clothes I haven’t worn in a year for I am sentimentally attached to many garments taking up precious space. I truly enjoy the memories certain clothes awaken, but I was not sentimentally attached to this J McLaughlin top purchased in March 2011.

IMG_0019It brought back memories of a serious overindulgence I plead guilty to. It’s pretty, but  similar to other clothes purchased during the same shopping trip and I never wear it. By the time I get around to wearing white pants, the weather is warm and this top is hot with its long sleeves – I think it looks hot even in the shade!

An easy re-fashion was in order and in less than an hour I transformed the waste of money into a welcome wardrobe addition.

IMG_0029After removing the sleeves, I stitched the sides to eliminate the underarm flare. This took a few tries, but once the fit was right I ran the seam through the serger.


Next I marked and trimmed one inch off of the shoulder and angled the cut midway down the front and back armscye.


I finished the arms with a coverstitch before turning and topstitching. The four-way French spandex behaved very well giving me just the look I wanted.


Easy projects are certainly welcome during this year of more complicated sewing, but even better is the satisfaction of turning something useless into something treasured, and I know this top will now be a summer staple.


S i x  m o r e  m o n t h s  !  !  !


No Comments
  • Fran Giacobbe
    Posted at 08:01h, 02 July Reply

    As always…inspiring post!

  • Bernadette O'Brien
    Posted at 08:06h, 02 July Reply

    What a great idea to refashion rather than toss a good item of clothing. The blouse looks great. I found your blog via the Vogue Pattern Magazine article and have enjoyed your posts. I even tell my non-sewer friends about the blog because you are such an inspiration. I look forward to each post. Thank you.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:13h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you so much for this nice comment, Bernadette! Most of my ‘live’ friends do not sew but we all draw creative inspiration from one another 🙂 I truly appreciate VPM’s lovely article.

  • Peggy
    Posted at 08:06h, 02 July Reply

    You are amazing! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Tina Spear
    Posted at 08:16h, 02 July Reply

    Looks Great, Sarah! I have been needing to do the same in my closet and refashion some items which just don’t fit “right.”

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:14h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Tina! There’s nothing better than find lost treasures when cleaning out the closet 🙂 Hope the wedding plans are coming along nicely. You’re getting close!

      • Tina Spear
        Posted at 08:46h, 07 July Reply

        Yes, we are. We’re in the downhill slide. The veil turned out great; I’ll have to send you pictures! I was so pleased with the results & so was my daughter. The bridal shop wondered if I wanted to make them for sale!!! Also, my rehearsal dinner dress I’m making by watching Susan Khalje’s couture class is turning out nicely. I’m excited to get it finished. It is probably the most detailed/couture garment I have ever made.

  • Pecie
    Posted at 08:23h, 02 July Reply

    Great idea! Looks perfect, like it was designed to be sleeveless. You look great in that color/print! Good luck with the wedding preparations!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:15h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you, Pecie! I think it looks like it was designed to be sleeveless too 😉 Wedding plans are moving right along!

  • Amanda S.
    Posted at 08:30h, 02 July Reply

    You are the queen of refashion! This top looks SO much better without the sleeves. Great vision!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:16h, 02 July Reply

      I don’t know about that but I do love it! I think it looks much better without the sleeves too 😉

  • Philippa
    Posted at 08:31h, 02 July Reply

    It looks really good. I am inspired to check through my wardrobe, and see what can be rescued!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:16h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Philippa! I’m sure you’ll come across lots of goodies – have fun and thanks for the comment!

  • cathynd95
    Posted at 08:35h, 02 July Reply

    great save! Love the refashioned top!

  • wellsew46
    Posted at 08:44h, 02 July Reply

    You are blessed with lovely arms and a tan, something ot often seen in my chilly part of the country in the New England top hills:)

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:18h, 02 July Reply

      Many thanks, though I wouldn’t say I’m exactly blessed! Lots of weights and sunscreen in my life these days 😉

  • Lisa C
    Posted at 08:46h, 02 July Reply

    The color of the top is just fabulous so I’m thrilled for you that you were able to refashion it into something you’ll enjoy this season. Great job.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:19h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you, Lisa! I truly love my ‘new’ top now 😉

  • tavkat@netscape.net
    Posted at 08:48h, 02 July Reply

    Great job!

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 08:57h, 02 July Reply

    Love this idea – the new top looks so cool and comfortable! I also have some sentimental pieces that I won’t get rid of, but I think that’s part of being human. 🙂

    By the way, this post made me realize that I haven’t bought any RTW all year so far! I didn’t take the pledge because I didn’t think I was ready, but maybe I underestimated? 🙂 I need a new pair of jeans though.. so we’ll see how long I last!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:20h, 02 July Reply

      See….. it’s not that hard! However, if I needed a pair of jeans, I’d be in trouble 😉

  • The Renegade Seamstress
    Posted at 09:01h, 02 July Reply

    It’s so amazing the difference a simple fix can make. You rock the refashions!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:20h, 02 July Reply

      Uh….. no……… YOU rock the refashions, but I do love to refashion now and then 🙂 Many thanks, Beth!

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 09:04h, 02 July Reply

    Ooh so cute and such a great way to cool down this cute JMcL top. Now if we could only find fabric like their signature “Catalina Cloth” to sew some more! I’ve been scouring the internet for two years and just cannot find anything close to their colors and prints.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:23h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you, Julie! Surely we can find it somewhere. I was told by a salesperson that the spandex is made in a French mill. Up for a trip to France?

  • Tia Dia
    Posted at 09:11h, 02 July Reply

    Great refashion! Now the top looks cool and wearable. How nice to take a wardrobe orphan and put it into rotation with a few simple tweaks.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:24h, 02 July Reply

      Many thanks, Tia Dia! The top is certainly wearable now – and – enjoyable!

  • Linda T
    Posted at 09:11h, 02 July Reply

    Yep, Much better!

  • Carolina'sCallin'
    Posted at 09:19h, 02 July Reply

    Oh, I love that now! What a difference cutting off the sleeves and taking it in a bit makes! For our Southern summers, that top will be perfect!

    Well done! You’re inspiring me to look at my own closet with a ‘different’ eye 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:28h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you, Cheryl! I bet you can do wonders in your closet – have fun!!

  • ME
    Posted at 09:25h, 02 July Reply

    Great job !!! You are such an inspiration to look at garments in a different way . Thanks for the inspiration !!!

  • Janice McCombs
    Posted at 09:33h, 02 July Reply

    I’m on the RTW fast, too, and like you have been inspired to redo some of the clothing languishing in my closet. Love your remake of the blouse! Makes me think of the saying, “use it up, make it do, wear it out”. By the end of this fast, I think I will have learned to make much more careful decisions when it comes to buying RTW.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:31h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Janice! Many thanks for your comment, and I agree that RTW shopping will become a far more selective experience in 2015 🙂

  • Bryonna
    Posted at 09:34h, 02 July Reply

    Inspiring makeover with a fab fit … looks prettier than the original!

  • Ji
    Posted at 09:34h, 02 July Reply

    You look great in sleeveless tops! And it’s perfect for the warm weather. Love your restyling.

  • Deborah R Penner
    Posted at 09:53h, 02 July Reply

    Great idea about keeping some clothes for sentimental value. At times, daughters and granddaughters want clothes as a memory as well, so this is a fine idea if you have the storage space.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:34h, 02 July Reply

      My storage space is certainly shrinking, but I’ve always hung on to clothes, old letters and photos 😉

  • ewellons
    Posted at 10:01h, 02 July Reply

    Another great summer top and a great do-over! Perfect for the beach. You remind me that I need to get in my closet too. With all of these me-made clothes, I’m running out of hangers! I think I am more sentimental about the things I made than the store-bought ones, but some of these were never successful and just take up space!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:35h, 02 July Reply

      Thanks, Cissie! I have zero problem getting rid of unsuccessful purchases or me-mades – especially those that bring back BAD memories 😉

  • Bev
    Posted at 10:10h, 02 July Reply

    This is adorable now and really suits you. Great post. Thanks.

  • The Sewing CPA
    Posted at 10:18h, 02 July Reply

    What a great refashion. It looks beautiful.

  • Jenny
    Posted at 10:19h, 02 July Reply

    Great fix! That’s the kind of think I need to do with some pieces in my closet. Very nice!

  • Lauren
    Posted at 10:29h, 02 July Reply

    Totally right! Those long sleeves…..what was the original designer thinking? Sooo much better now, and best of all useful for causal summer wear.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:41h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you, Lauren 🙂 …….. the more important question is, What was I thinking buying this top?

  • Mary Lynn
    Posted at 11:02h, 02 July Reply

    Great idea and so flattering and useful. Wish we could find J. Mclaughlin’s fabric for sale.
    I’m also curious about what brand of coverstitch machine people use and recommend.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:44h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Mary Lynn! Let’s make it our goal to find that fabric 🙂 BTW I use my Bernina 1150 serger for producing an overlock or overstitch.

  • seweverythingblog
    Posted at 11:18h, 02 July Reply

    You turned it into a summer top that is YOU – I can see that you don’t feel comfortable in the photo with the original blouse.
    One question I have to ask is, will the RTW fast continue into 2015? Just wondering, since I’m proud to say that my RTW fast is now in it’s 5th year. Yay.

  • Margaret
    Posted at 11:23h, 02 July Reply

    Wow, this is so improved — well done, Sarah! I’m having fun doing the same thing and agree with you that some things in our closets have a place even if we don’t wear them every year.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:45h, 02 July Reply

      I like how you think, Margaret! Many thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Treva Putsche
    Posted at 11:26h, 02 July Reply

    Turned out really cute!

  • pdxknitter
    Posted at 11:52h, 02 July Reply

    Very cute top. A great refashion.

  • Barbara Kaye
    Posted at 11:57h, 02 July Reply

    You have inspired me (once again!) to try dissecting a beloved, but no longer worn, blouse to better suit my new life in sunny California! Nothing ventured, nothing gained! I might even get over my fear of the new serger my hubby got me!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:01h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Barbara! I bet you have lots of refashioning possibilities after changing climates 🙂 Craftsy.com offers lots of serger instructional classes to help you overcome your fear. Good luck and many thanks for your comment!

  • Red Point Tailor
    Posted at 12:05h, 02 July Reply

    So simple and so great effect! Wonderful!

  • Lori
    Posted at 12:25h, 02 July Reply

    Great transformation.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:04h, 02 July Reply

      Many thanks, Lori…… I’m still thinking about your beautiful quilt 😉

  • tjsews
    Posted at 13:26h, 02 July Reply

    Your top looks so much better without sleeves. it now looks cool and comfy. What a great job you did refashioning this top!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:05h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you TJ! How I love it when an easy project is successful 🙂

  • MIchele Owens
    Posted at 13:29h, 02 July Reply

    Thank you. This is so inspiring. I love reading all your entries. I am determined to make clothes that fit. I need all the inspiration I can get 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:06h, 02 July Reply

      Many thanks for your lovely comment, Michele! You can do it and I’m sure you will – good luck 🙂 🙂

  • David
    Posted at 13:36h, 02 July Reply

    Excellent job- and idea, perfect for summer – Have had the same idea this week with a pair of trousers. It makes me realise how much I love sewing when I have that freedom to alter the clothes myself 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:07h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you, David! Good luck with refashioning your trousers 🙂

  • Terry Kretzmer
    Posted at 15:26h, 02 July Reply

    I always love seeing your posts but when i saw the original top, my immediate thought was, what happen that doesn’t fit like her other sewn items. Then I read and was much happier. It shows how well fitted you make your clothing and it is definitely worth the effort.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:08h, 02 July Reply

      Many thanks for your comment, Terry 🙂 After a while it’s impossible to be happy in poorly fitting clothes isn’t it?

  • linda r (phila burbs)
    Posted at 16:20h, 02 July Reply

    you really are my hero! very well done and cute too!

  • onedabbles
    Posted at 17:50h, 02 July Reply

    What a transformation! The ‘new’ top looks so good and it’s a bonus to be able to use an item from your wardrobe. Being on the RTW Fast concentrates the mind wonderfully! Thanks for the fun opportunity.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:09h, 02 July Reply

      Many thanks for your nice comment – and you’re right about getting focused through the RTW fast 🙂

  • Nana
    Posted at 18:39h, 02 July Reply

    Amazing transformation. The photo with the longer sleeves, just did not flatter you. Too busy or something. The revised version is beautiful and the blue color now looks very cool and comfortable for the summer season.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:10h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you, Nana! I agree with you – I just felt overwhelmed in the top before removing the sleeves. I know I’ll enjoy it now 🙂

  • Jo
    Posted at 18:46h, 02 July Reply

    The re-fashion is beautifully done. I live in New England and vacation in Maine; the sleeves look pretty good to me! Jo

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:11h, 02 July Reply

      I bet those sleeves look great to you 😉 Enjoy your pleasant weather and thank you for the comment, Jo!

  • sewgrandma
    Posted at 19:44h, 02 July Reply

    Great Upcycle on your shirt. RTW Fast 2014 has done wonders for my sewing skills. I have purchased 7 Sewing related workshops on Craftsy since January. I watch them mostly while on the treadmill. Double bonus. Ruth in Canada.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:12h, 02 July Reply

      My first RTW Fast did wonders for my sewing skills too! Many thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Sharon
    Posted at 20:06h, 02 July Reply

    Great way to upcycle a garment, love the new sleeveless version.

  • Katalin
    Posted at 07:04h, 03 July Reply

    What a great idea! Your top turned out lovely!
    I really like how you always achieve the perfect fit. Do you have any favourite resources that you would recommend? I do own several books on fitting, but thinking that perhaps an online class would be more beneficial for me.
    Many thanks!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 14:16h, 03 July Reply

      Thank you so much, Katalin 🙂 I do own Sarah Veblen’s fitting book which has been helpful, but for me muslins are the secret of achieving a good fit for garments made from patterns AND basting those tricky areas before stitching. Craftsy has several good classes as well. Good luck!

      • Katalin
        Posted at 03:26h, 04 July Reply

        Thank you Sara! I do own Sarah Veblen’s book and just enrolled on a Craftsy fitting class yesterday. Must add that I am very impressed with all Craftsy classes I have enrolled on so far!
        I’m thinking of watching the fitting class with my husband, so I would have a fitting buddy. Highly unlikely that this will ever happen, but one can dream. 🙂
        Have a great day!

  • Jean
    Posted at 07:16h, 03 July Reply

    Fabulous refashion. That top looks so much better without sleeves and paired with your white pants will be a great outfit for the warmer weather.

  • Amy G.
    Posted at 08:37h, 03 July Reply

    Great Save! – I think it looks much better as a sleeveless top. You look Wonderful as always in your summer outfit.

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 08:53h, 03 July Reply

    Love your re-fashion! (Oh, how I envy your arms) And your commitment to the fast. I can tell from the comments that many sewers are inspired … and this former sewer (it’s been decades) is getting closer and closer to the return. Your blog is one that inspires me to get going….get a new machine…and get sewing! Thank you for the kick in the pants. 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:24h, 03 July Reply

      What a nice comment, Jennifer! I have a feeling you’ll be unstoppable once you sit down at the new machine 🙂

  • Barbara
    Posted at 09:10h, 03 July Reply

    A very smart looking top now, a great fit.

  • gingermakes
    Posted at 10:32h, 03 July Reply

    Perfect! This looks great as a sleeveless top!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:25h, 03 July Reply

      Thanks, Ginger! It’s much more my kind of top now 🙂 🙂

  • Cindy C.
    Posted at 16:38h, 03 July Reply

    Thanks to you, I’ve started a refashion bin to stash out-of-style favorites made in beautiful fabrics. Then when inspiration hits, a beloved old garment will be magically transformed (notice the wishful thinking there) into a lovely new garment. I never even thought this to be an option before seeing how you perform such miracles updating your old faves. What a great idea!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:06h, 03 July Reply

      I need a bin like you, Cindy rather than stuffing unwanted clothes under my bed 😉 As a matter of fact you have inspired me to go get a collapsable clothes hamper for such projects! Many thanks for your comment!

      • Cindy C.
        Posted at 19:35h, 04 July Reply

        Oh yes, the old “under the bed” trick ! I’ve been doing that for years! But the problem is out of sight, out of mind, and some pretty things that could have been refashioned sadly end up aging out before they’re rediscovered. This way, it’s donate or bin, and the bin is out in the open where the pretty fabrics within can tantalize and call out to me. Hopefully it will work, and I’ll be interested to hear if yours does, too.

  • annsfashionstudio
    Posted at 19:38h, 03 July Reply

    Your top looks wonderful. A perfect alteration to make it a much more functional piece in your wardrobe 🙂
    For the armhole seam finish, Did you use the cover stitch instead
    of serging? Sounds like a nice way of finishing the armhole.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:09h, 03 July Reply

      Ann, I am using overlock and serger interchangeably. I ran the edge through the serger to cover with a finishing stitch before turning and hemming 🙂 Many thanks for your comment!

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 21:01h, 03 July Reply

    I’m glad you were able to rescue the top from the back of the closet! It looks fabulous on you!!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:10h, 03 July Reply

      I’m glad too, Carolyn! I have a real problem buying clothes and NOT EVER wearing them. Thank you for your comment !

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:15h, 04 July Reply

      What I meant to say is- it troubles me to spend $$ on clothes which are not worn 🙂

  • Ebi Poweigha
    Posted at 19:50h, 05 July Reply

    I love how intelligently you altered the armholes — the finished top looks intentionally sleeveless, and very well fitted.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:26h, 10 July Reply

      Thank you so much, Ebi! A slightly cut in shoulder is my favorite type of sleeveless garment and it was an easy fix 🙂

  • scooterphoenix
    Posted at 08:27h, 07 July Reply

    What a win in the refashion column! The top is perfect & looks fab with those white pants! I don’t follow the Tim Gunn rule of getting rid of clothes I haven’t worn in a year either, but refashioning must count for something:-)

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:27h, 10 July Reply

      LOL – I agree! I mean I’d have nothing to refashion if I got rid of clothes I didn’t wear at least once a year 😉

  • Suz
    Posted at 17:50h, 07 July Reply

    Brilliant! It really suits you and it fits perfectly.

  • prettyfloralmail
    Posted at 17:51h, 07 July Reply

    Brilliant! It really suits you and the fit is perfect.

  • Joy
    Posted at 18:26h, 08 July Reply

    It looks WAY BETTER sleeveless, in my opinion. And you would look good in a paper bag, so OF COURSE it looks marvelous on you!
    Hugs, Joy

  • Laurie Rockman
    Posted at 10:21h, 09 July Reply

    I have to cmment because when I first opened and saw the picture I thought I was looking at one of your first misses. It looked like a very heavy top on you. Viola…you turned a sows ear into a silk purse. Now it looks totally wondrful on you! I always stop in to your blog and love your posts. I too toally agree with you on Tim Gunn…love the guy but I keep favorites for years and rediscover and wear later and still love them. Thanks for a great post on refashioning.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:32h, 10 July Reply

      Thank you so much for your nice comment, Laurie! You’re right – the top looked heavy, but I couldn’t put my finger on the reason I never wore it other than it was generally too hot 🙂 J McLaughlin fabrics are perfect for refashioning due to their excellent stretch and recovery.

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