I took some major inspiration from a certain Luella dress and all things Valentine-y to come up with this top. It’s quite similar to those heart cut-out dresses that have been seen all over, but this is way easier to make than a dress! And a bit more wearable, too, seeing as how it’s just a shirt, and you can pair it and wear it with just about anything. Oh, and there are pretty lace frills involved, too! What’s not to love?
- a well-fitting button-up shirt
- lace trim (about half a yard or less should cover it)
- a hook-and-eye fastener
- sewing pins
- fray check
- measuring tape (I actually ended up not using this—but it’s always nice to have on hand)
- a small heart-shaped item to use as a pattern (this would be a good way to get some use out of an empty Valentine’s chocolate box)
- a sewing machine or just a needle and thread, whichever is your preferred sewing method
How to do it:
1. Try on your shirt and figure out where you want your cut-out to go. I found that lining up the point on the bottom of the heart with the third button from the top was perfect for me—not too high and not too low. This will differ from person to person and body to body, though.
2. Lay your shirt down flat and figure out and carefully place the heart in the desired spot.
3. Trace all around the heart with your chalk.
4. Make sure the bottom point of the heart lines up with a button hole—this will ensure that your cut-out is centered and not crooked.
5. Now you’ve got an outline for your cut-out! But we’re not done with the tracing part just yet. You’ll notice that when you unbutton the shirt, the heart cuts off right at the button placket seam.
You’ll need to go in and retrace part of the pattern on the button placket.
So: unbutton the shirt and realign the heart pattern on the OTHER side—the one without any markings on the button placket. Retrace around the pattern in that one blank spot. When you’re all finished with the tracing bits both sides of your shirt should look like this!
6. Next, cut out the shapes that you just sketched out.
7. Place a piece of cardboard on the inside of the shirt, under the cut-out spots, and soak the raw edges of each cut-out in fray check so the fabric doesn’t unravel. Let the edges dry completely before doing anything else!
8. Once the fray check is totally dry, you can start pinning the lace trim to the edges of the cut-out.
9. After you get your lace pinned, sew a straight stitch right along the edge, following the heart shape.
10. Last thing: attach a hook-and-eye fastener to the button placket right above the heart cut-out. Stick the eye on the left side of the shirt, on the underside of the placket. Put the hook on the right side of the shirt, on the front side of the button placket. The fasteners should both line up with the button placket seam on their respective sides. You’ll need to hand-sew these on. If you’re not familiar with using this type of fastener, I put little slashes through them on the photo to show where you need to stitch them to the fabric.
11. OK, so now that all of that boring and semi-complicated fastener crap is done with, you can try on the top and admire your handiwork!
12. If you want to personalize your top even more, here are a couple suggestions:
• Replace the buttons on the shirt with some new ones (maybe even ones that coordinate with the color of the lace trim!).
• Cut the sleeves or collar off (this might require additional sewing, but if you’re up to it it’s definitely a great way to change the overall look of the shirt).
13. Wear your newly customized shirt out and radiate MEGA VALENTINE’S VIBEZ. ♦