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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Heart Flutter Tee Tutorial

The other day I was on Zara kids and saw this adorable heart tee and thought it would be perfect for Evie for Valentine's day. It doesn't cost much but I already had 2 red tshirts sitting around that I could cut up so I decided to do my own version.

This is what I came up with. I admit the ruffle heart isn't as cute as the Zara reverse applique, but since that isn't something I'm comfortable with yet, I decided to just wing it! 

I admit this is not my best work, but I still think it's pretty cute and fun for Valentine's Day without having to be exclusive to Valentine's Day. 

Want to make one too? 
You'll need:
2 tshirts (if you decide to do it short sleeved you probably only need 1) and a little scrap of another tee (for the white ruffle)
And the basic sewing stuff

Note: This is for a size 18 months.

I had 2 of these red tees from Forever 21. They were $2.50 each so I knew it would be worth it to pick up 2. I think they usually have these for that price. The only problem is they are cheap so they are really thin knit but since it's 50 degrees here I wasn't too worried about it.

Lay your shirt out and cut up the side seam, all the way to the neck and lay it open. Leave the other tee until you need it (you might not. I hit and few hiccups and had to re-cut things) 

Now fold the far side of the right into the center seam.

This is a marker from Walmart that my husband got me for Christmas. It is probably one of the most helpful sewing tools ever. It's only a dollar or two and one side is disappearing ink, while the other is washable ink. This is what I will be using to create our pattern.

I used a shirt that fits Evie right now as my pattern. Lay it in half against the fold. I placed it so that I would use the original bottom hem of the shirt. It's just one less step if it's possible.

Trace the shirt with your marker leaving about 1/2 inch around it for seam allowance. You don't need to worry about the sleeves yet, we'll get to those later. For right now just cut the base of it. Sorry, I know my lines are hard to see in this picture. Cut your piece out!

Fold the left side of the shirt in to create a fold like you did previously. Now we're going to cut out the front of the shirt. Trace the back piece you just cut out so that they are the same, except I dipped just a little lower for the front neck.

I really wanted my neck to look as professional as possible (not saying that's what actually happened...) so I cut out the ribbing that was around the neck of the front and back and sewed it into one long strip.

Put your front and back pieces together and line up the shoulders. Pin one shoulder. Leave the other free.

Use your stretch stitch to sew the shoulder. It looks like a lightening bolt. After messing with it a lot, I would suggest making it long and turning the tension all the way down. The key to sewing with tees is to not pull. I just barely guided it through.

Sorry, that feels weird even giving tips on this since I still didn't do a very good job. If you look closely I still got a little lettucing! Don't look!

Stitch across the shoulder. Again, just one shoulder. It makes the next step way easier.

Take the ribbing you cut from your shirt and lay it down right sides facing with both raw edges together. (Once you've sewed this you will turn the ribbing up to face the inside of the neck. Does that make sense?) 

Pin it all the way from one corner down all the way to the other. If you're confused to what I mean, scroll down and look at the picture of it sewn on.

Sew the ribbing, removing the pins as you go. I would recommend going slowly to keep your stitches looking good (speaking from experience because I didn't! shhhhh)

See what I meant? Now you have ribbing attached all the way around. Notice the far shoulder is not sewn together yet.

Now stitch the other shoulder together too.

I know this picture is hard to see. For some reason that red just all blends together on camera!

So lay your sides out like the previous picture with your neckhole in the middle. This is how we are going to make our sleeves!

Trace the armhole and draw your sleeve out making it as long as you want the sleeves to be. Mine was about 9 inches for a long sleeve.

Your sleeves should look like (folded in half). See how I have the slope of the main pieces because we traced them? That helps them to fit together nicely when we sew the sleeves in! Exciting huh?!?
Before we sew the sleeves in we want to cut out our strips for the ruffles on top of the sleeves. If you don't want the ruffle than ignore this step! 
Cut 2 strips 2.5 inches x 14 inches.

Set your machine to a straight stitch. Increase the length to the longest setting and sew down the side of each strip, leaving long tails of thread at the end. Pull one thread and push the fabric down, ruffling the strip so it looks like above. I set it against the sleeve and ruffled and released until it was the same length as my sleeve inset.

Pin the ruffle into the sleeve inset with wrong sides facing. You want the wrong side of your sleeve facing the wrong (inside) of your shirt.

Now sew it in (with your stretch stitch or lightening bolt as I like to call it) removing pins as you go. Repeat on the other side.

Both sides of your sleeves should now look like this.

If you want just ruffle sleeves, you could leave the sleeves like this and skip these next steps.

Now grab your long sleeves and pin those into the sleeve insets, just like you did with the ruffle. Just make sure ruffle stays inside.

Sew the long sleeve in. Repeat for the other side. Now it should look like this on both sides. 

This shirt is really cute the way it is but I wanted to add the ruffle heart. It's a lot easier to add any applique before you sew the shirt closed.

I cut a heart shape out of another tshirt I had sitting around. You can cut it out of your red shirt, I just did it out of another one because it's thicker jersey and I wanted it a little stiffer.

Cut 3 strips of red jersey about 2 inches wide and about 7 inches long. I can't remember their exact size because ruffles are not an exact science. Plus I had quite a bit leftover.

Ruffle those strips like we did with the ruffle sleeves. Shape each ruffle to the heart, pinning each layer and then sewing it down.

Before we cut the excess off the heart, stitch around it to hold your ruffles down.

Cut the excess of your heart now and you should have a cute ruffly heart!

Since the heart is the same color as the shirt, I wanted to add a white ruffle to make it stand out so I cute 3 strips out of my white tshirt. Sew them together into one long strip. Ruffle it!

Pin it all around the heart making sure to catch the heart, the ruffle and your shirt as you pin.

Sew it down. You're almost done! ;)

Your shirt should look like this now. Next let's hem the sleeves!

Iron the ends of each sleeve on top (so the sleeve turns up) about 1/4 inch and then again about 1/2 inch.

Sew down the top and bottom of your fold, creating a nice finished look.

Note: I cut my body pieces out so that they would use the original hem of the shirt but if you didn't, now would be the them to hem it. 

With right sides together (in other words, your shirt is inside out) pin from the sleeve, down the side of the shirt to the bottom. Pin the other side and sew down both sides.

Congrats! You're done! Now grab your phone and tell your friends! ;)

Hope this helped! Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks for stopping by and have an crafty day!


  1. Wow!! so cute looking!!! great! drop by from tearose!! ciao

  2. Oh my gosh tooooo cute! I can't believe you made it all from scratch and I love the ribbing idea. Clever and crafty! Please add this to the linky party today!

  3. so clear ^^
    i can understand
    thanx ^^

  4. SO CUTE!!!! I have never been on Zara kids. Shall go look now!

    Just Another Day in Paradise

  5. All I can say is WOW! great job!!! :) and I want your sewing although mine is a beast from the 70's! :P Thanks for linking up!

  6. So cute, and it is adorable on!! Love it!

  7. That's really cute...nice work!


  8. Taylor that is so cute, look at you go!!

  9. This is awesome, you did such a great job with this!!