Have you heard that saying about wearing your heart on your sleeve? Well, that’s actually happening on both sleeves with this DIY Embroidered Heart Sweatshirt!
Let me show you how I made it in case you’re feeling festive and want to make something similar!
Materials Needed For A DIY Embroidered Heart Sweatshirt:
- sweatshirt (This is the one I chose.)
- red embroidery floss
- fabric pen (if you want to trace your heart shape on the shirt)
- paper heart to trace around (unless you want to freehand your heart)
My Skill Level Disclaimer: I know enough about beginner embroidery to get this project done but would never claim to be an expert. I watched some YouTube videos of people stitching hearts without any sort of guides and that is not my skill level. Bottom line, use whatever technique works best for your skill level! Even if you’ve never embroidered before, you can do this project.
DIY Embroidered Heart Sweatshirt Directions:
Step 1: Overthink heart size and placement on your shirt.
Did I say overthink? I meant to say decide.
I Googled “free heart clipart,” found the heart shape I liked, resized it on my computer, and printed it out. After trial and error, I decided to stitch a .6-inch wide heart.
1/2 inch was too small and 3/4 inch was too big in case you’re wondering how I settled on 6/10 of an inch. There really is no right or wrong. Select the heart size that works best for your shirt and the look you are going for. I was going for a little understated.
I used the paper heart that I cut out to trace the heart shape onto my sweatshirt. This became my stitching guide.
If you can draw a really nice heart on fabric the first time, then you don’t need to trace a shape.
Ideally, if you have a water-erasable fabric pen or an air-erasable fabric pen, I’d use that to draw the heart on your shirt. That way, if you mess up, it’s quickly fixable. I didn’t have one, so I used a sharp pencil. Not ideal but it got the job done.
As far as placement on the sleeve goes, using the natural fold of the sleeve, I went up about an inch from the top of the cuff. You can’t go up too far or you won’t be able to maneuver your needle easily.
(As a side note about placement, it would also look fantastic to embroider hearts like elbow patches too!)
Step 2: Stab and stitch.
Or start embroidering. Whatever you want to call it.
If you’re embroidering your heart on the sleeve as I did, it’s going to be tricky to use a hoop unless you have a really small one. I didn’t use one (living on the edge, I tell you) and it worked out fine for my purposes.
Using all 6 strands of the embroidery floss, I started at the bottom point of the heart, working my way around the heart outline I had drawn. I used a backstitch to do this but if you have a favorite embroidery stitch for outlining shapes then you are clearly better at this than I am and you should go with that.
My original intent was to fill in my embroidered hearts. I watched 2 YouTube videos on how to do it properly, so I was clearly an expert. However, I decided to stop while I was ahead. I think I should practice filling in shapes on an old shirt I don’t care about instead of a brand-new one.
If you decide to embroider only the heart outline or fill it in completely, I know it will look awesome either way. Also, don’t worry if your hearts don’t look perfectly the same. That’s part of the charm and who’s looking that close anyway? (Only people reading blog posts.)
I flat-out love that I took a plain white sweatshirt and put my personal twist on it. It has a bit of personality now. Some unexpected flair. It’s festive for Valentine’s Day but I won’t feel weird about wearing it other times throughout the year.
That’s a DIY win for me!
P.S. Did you know the origins of the phrase “wear your heart on your sleeve” are undetermined but likely date back to Shakespeare’s time? According to Merriam-Webster, the phrase might have originated with medieval jousts where a sleeve referred to a piece of armor that protected the arm. The first recorded use of the phrase was in Shakespeare’s Othello. Learn more here.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me! I hope this was a light-hearted few minutes of your day. Here are some other blog posts you might enjoy.
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