Clear Heart Can’t Lose

How to make a cut-out-valentine shirt.

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?

Stuff you’re gonna need (you can get most of this stuff at JoAnn or Michaels or your local craft-supply store):

  • a well-fitting button-up shirt
  • chalk
  • lace trim (about half a yard or less should cover it)
  • a hook-and-eye fastener
  • sewing pins
  • fray check
  • scissors
  • 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. ♦


  • Susann February 15th, 2012 3:07 PM

    Such an amazing idea! That shirt looks stunning!

  • rosiesayrelax February 15th, 2012 3:08 PM

    That’s so pretty!!

  • RockHatesMiriam February 15th, 2012 3:11 PM

    This is sooo rad! I’ll definitely be trying it! <3 MEGA VALENTINES DAY VIBEZZ….!

  • moonchild February 15th, 2012 3:15 PM

    AHHHH!!! Amazing! I have loved these shirts for a long time! I think I may do this and then put a panel of fabric where the cutout is…

    Great job, Marlena!

  • ShakespeareRules February 15th, 2012 3:29 PM

    What a cool idea, I’ve never thought of doing this. That shirt looks so cute. :)

  • katieeleanor February 15th, 2012 3:38 PM

    i think i want to go out in my heart-cut out top with my bejewelled tights and unicorn crown – this is so beautiful, rookie, your tutorials are better than cake.

  • Lela February 15th, 2012 3:38 PM

    Girl, you just made my day!

  • Jessie February 15th, 2012 4:07 PM

    Cute idea,I wish I had the patience!

  • Naomi February 15th, 2012 4:07 PM

    this is the best!!! i miss luella :(

  • youngfridays February 15th, 2012 4:07 PM

    This is so great! So totally doing this!

  • coppolagrrl February 15th, 2012 4:21 PM

    This has reminded me how much I miss Luella oh gosh :-( [such a funky idea though!!]

  • Dayzee February 15th, 2012 4:29 PM

    i really really really really need to try this.

  • littleDani February 15th, 2012 4:44 PM

    I need to try this, like NOW.

  • crimsonandclover February 15th, 2012 4:44 PM

    Loving the Friday Nights Lights reference in the title and the awesome shirt! :)

  • MissKnowItAll February 15th, 2012 4:46 PM

    I know what I’m doing this weekend…

  • Stephanie February 15th, 2012 4:57 PM

    So awesome!!!! I’m definitely going to make this!

  • ReneeRevolution February 15th, 2012 5:19 PM


    Definitely going to give this a go tonight!!!

  • ankal February 15th, 2012 5:20 PM

    this is awesome!

  • Carneece February 15th, 2012 6:08 PM

    As adorable as the shirt is, I have to give even bigger props to the Friday Night Lights title. So much to love!

  • queserasera February 15th, 2012 7:28 PM

    that is simply so so brilliant!

  • Chloe Elizabeth February 15th, 2012 7:28 PM

    OH MY GOSH! Its SO cute! I feel like mine would be a big tangled mess though.

  • Adrienne February 15th, 2012 7:47 PM

    Ohmygosh! So cute Marlena!!

  • Pashupati February 15th, 2012 8:08 PM

    Oh, amazing. I think I’ll do something similar, but with multiple tiny bats patterns around the shoulder and under the neck! I’m amazed at the amazinganess. (don’t care if it’s not a word!)

  • MissKnowItAll February 15th, 2012 8:20 PM

    I wish I could pull this off, but ‘m pretty flat chested…:(

  • princecherr February 15th, 2012 8:29 PM

    Damn this looks so cool but I know I’ll never actually get around to doing it.
    It would look super cool if you used small flowers around the heart or bows or something similar, though that would take a million year sewing them all on.

  • Juli February 15th, 2012 8:44 PM

    That’s pretty darn adorable. I was just thinking about what to do with this pale blue button-up shirt I have that I can’t stand to wear. Now I can dress it up! Thanks for the inspiration! Actually, one could do all kinds of shapes instead of a heart, eh? Like a cat head or crown or something. :)

  • supdudebro February 15th, 2012 9:12 PM

    where is the pizza shirt DIY?

    step 1: smear gratuitously slice of choice

    step 2: there are no more steps.

  • TheDemoiselle February 15th, 2012 10:33 PM

    So pretty!

  • darksideoftherainbow February 15th, 2012 10:34 PM

    this is soooo HOT! especially for a cleavage enthusiast like me! perfect, thanks!!!

  • chelsead February 15th, 2012 11:35 PM

    rookie rules for adding marlena to the team *_*

  • Narita February 16th, 2012 12:41 AM

    Amazing! We learn to sew at school and once I’ll get better I’ll do such a lot of your DIY’s.

  • SweetThangVintage February 16th, 2012 1:22 AM

    This. Is. Greatness.

  • ivoire February 16th, 2012 1:23 AM

    aah! pretty and i love luella </3

  • Rainbow Dash February 16th, 2012 1:37 AM

    thats..thats..thats AWESOME!

  • Danoninoe23 February 16th, 2012 2:04 AM

    Love the Friday Night Lights reference, impressed by it too. Cute shirt also.

  • Libby February 16th, 2012 6:29 AM

    This is lovely, and I reckon it would be much more wearable than one of the crazy dresses that also end up barely covering my knickers.

  • Besu February 16th, 2012 6:36 AM

    Love this and the frills round the sides just look great so cute!

  • aguas15 February 16th, 2012 7:53 AM

    Wow, at first I was unsure of how this would look on an oxford shirt but I have to say Marlena really knows how to make clothes!

  • KinuKinu February 16th, 2012 10:23 AM


    Safiya <3

  • KayKay February 16th, 2012 3:15 PM

    Wow, that looks great! Now, if only I could learn how to handle scissors and pins.

  • Kaleidoscopeeyes February 16th, 2012 4:18 PM

    I would say I’m going to try this, but I could never pull it off, so instead I’ll say that this is awesome and super creative.

  • mayaautumn February 16th, 2012 5:10 PM

    Nice! I would be too scared to ruin the shirt though!!x

  • Kailey February 17th, 2012 4:12 AM

    Omg MARLENA – I am constantly impressed with your creativity! This is SUCH a clever idea, and you did such an incredible job! Also, thank you so much for sharing this with us xoxo

  • zety February 17th, 2012 8:54 AM

    oh this is so cute!

  • isabellehungryghost February 17th, 2012 3:03 PM

    ohhh! where is this supppersweeet skirt from??

  • smilingrottenflesh February 17th, 2012 3:51 PM

    mayaautumn – You could go thrift a new shirt specifically for this project, that way you’re not disappointed if the first try turns out a little iffy. :]

    Marlena – I didn’t expect to like this style, but the end result is lovely. You convinced my aesthetic!

  • javizj February 18th, 2012 2:41 AM

    had to comment just because of title name friday night lights anyone? lol

  • Sleepless_Swan17 February 20th, 2012 5:52 PM

    Very Creative :)

  • mawiateacake May 1st, 2013 8:19 AM

    i love the concept! but i think it would look better on a different shirt?