Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Novelty Heart Tee sewing tutorial

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

Today I, (Jessica) am going to show you how to DIY your very own heart novelty tee!

I've been seeing these cute heart themed tees everywhere this fall/winter, and I'm kind of loving the heart theme! I've been looking around to see if I could find one I really loved. Check out these inspiration pieces below:

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

I like them all, but none of them really spoke to me. I wanted something more colorful, with more patterns...more me! I decided to take the idea of the heart shirt that I loved (pun intended) and make my own version. And even though all four of the shirts above are under $30, I was still sure I could make my own version for a lot less.

And I did! check it out:

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

Start with a plain tee. I found this striped Target brand v-neck tee at the thrift store (for $2!) and knew it would be perfect. You can choose a tee like this with a subtle pattern if you want to pattern mix, or a plain color will tone it down a bit (but who wants that?):

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

Lay your tee out. You'll need it for inspiration. Trust me. If you're like me you'll lay it out for a couple of days and agonize about fabric choice.

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

1. Choose your heart fabric. I found a floral tank top from my refashion pile, and made sure that the patterns worked together. And you all know I love pattern mixing florals and stripes!
2. Hack up your tank top/fabric and come up with roughly a 12 inch by 12 inch square. Fold it in half.
3. Just like in Elementary school! Cut a half heart shape out of the folded fabric.
4. Unfold your heart! Trim up any extra bits that need trimmed. You want your edges to be as smooth as possible.

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

5. Position your heart on your shirt. This is to make sure you don't have too big or too small of a heart. Make sure that it's evenly spaced between the two side seams!
6. Carefully pin your heart down, making sure that you only pin it to the front of your shirt! Also, sometimes while you're pinning your heart can shift positions or wrinkle. The easiest way to overcome this is to put a few pins into the center of the heart to keep it in place.
7. Make sure that over the curved edges of the heart you pin with lots of pins (about every half inch) because this is the place where you get the most wrinkling and shifting.
8. Sew along the outside edges of your heart, using a zigzag stitch. I used a very tight zigzag stitch, almost what I would use for a button hole. And I also used a jersey needle, which is almost essential for sewing knit fabrics. A jersey needle will keep your knits from tearing and putting holes in your shirt.

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

9. Now, with your heart sewn onto your tee, it probably looks all wrinkly and stretched out and awful. Don't panic! Iron it with a steam iron and the wrinkles will melt away. Or you can alternatively throw it in the dryer with a damp towel for a bit.
10. Once you've gotten all the wrinkles out, you can lay it out flat. You'll probably see that you have raw fabric edges in some places.
11. Trim these off as close to your stitching as possible. This will keep your heart from fraying and looking like a hot mess once you wash it.
12. Now lay it out again and make sure you got it all, and you're done:

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

Super cute, right? Good job! You now have a trendy novelty heart tee at a fraction of the cost.

Tee: $2// heart fabric: free// thread: from stash// New shirt total cost: $2

And on a side note, you know that simply pattern mixing stripes and florals wasn't enough for me. I had to throw on my leopard print belt too. Because I'm crazy like that and I think leopard goes with everything. And it does.

novelty graphic heart tee sewing tutorial diy

If you make one of these tees, please please send us a picture! I would love to see some other versions made by our awesome and talented readers. And if you're looking for more of our adult sewing projects, you can find those here!



  1. This turned out great! I think the patterns you mixed look awesome. Do you think pinking the edges would help with fraying, too?

  2. Hi flower, your blog is really amazing! Fascinating posts! I just love it and I'm following! I hope you'll visit me and follow mine too.

    Kisses from Russia,

  3. I completely understand your need to mix florals and stripes! I can only wear florals if I mix them with something funky because I feel like they are too feminine for me otherwise. This shirt rocks! Great tutorial, thanks for sharing!


    1. RaChil, this is exactly how I feel about florals! I'm not a super "feminine" woman, so non-sculptural ruffles and cute florals just make me feel...prissy. That is, unless I toughen it up a bit with some other fun accessories or patterns!

  4. Love this! You look lovely :)

  5. So cute! I love the pattern on the striped top.

  6. Your blog is adorable, I just found you through the link party at C.R.A.F.T. I also love turning something old into something new. I have a blog over here.

  7. I think I like your DIY shirt better than any I've ever seen in stores! Thanks for linking up for Look What I Got. Hope to see you back tomorrow!
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