{be my valentine - a tutorial}

Last year, about this time, my peas and I sat down to this sewing project.  If your son or daughter is begging you to teach them to sew - here is an easy peasy project they can wear.  They will love telling everyone they made it themselves (ok, no, I doubt a boy will wear this BUT wouldn't he love to give this as gift to his best girl from down the street or maybe a teacher or his sister, etc!  Boys need to learn to sew too - I firmly believe.  Both my husband and my Dad are competent sewers).

This is also an easy project for you!  With a blank tee and some strips of scrap fabric and about 30 minutes, you can create a super cute Valentine tee (and hearts you can wear all year round - not just for Valentines).

To start, you will need 2 strips of fabric cut 1 3/4" wide x 68" long and 1" wide by 68".  The length may vary based on how big your shirt and thus, how big your heart is but that length should be a pretty good fit for all.

If you don't like the look of raw edges, you can serge all along the long edges of your strips (or use a zig zag stitch) to finish the edges.

Next, layer your strips together and using your ruffler foot OR a gathering stitch, gather your strips.  I did a gathering stitch on mine using a stitch length of 6 and set my tension at 6.  The higher you set your tension, the more gathered in will be.  Looser tension, looser gathers.  Adjust to your preference.

Next, we are going to draw our outline of the heart on the shirt using a disappearing ink pen (you could also use chalk if you'd like).  I did not use a template but rather, freehand drew my heart.  You could always fold a piece of paper in half and draw half a heart on the fold and cut it out to create your template (remember doing that in school?).

Now, pin your fabric ruffle along your heart outline.  I started at the top center and folded under my end.  I also put a book inside the shirt to make it easier to pin so I wasn't catching the back side of the shirt.

Stitch right down the center following your gather stitch.  That's it kids.  Simple.  Cute.  And your kids can do this themselves.

Since the ruffles are 1 3/4" wide and sewn in the center, when you go to wash this - just a heads up, in the dryer, your ruffles are gonna go wild and not lay flat.  SO, you may want to finger press your ruffles down when it comes out of the wash and air dry your shirt.  OR you can follow this idea from the shirt my Two Peas made last year.

This is the shirt my peas made last year using a single strip of fabric cut 1 3/4" wide.  They ran a gathering stitch down the center and then pinned the fabric to the shirt.  Instead of stitching down the center, they stitched along both edges as you can see in the photo.  That way, the ruffles stay put and the look nice when you throw the shirt in the dryer.

Sprout LOVES her shirt (she's napping right now in this outfit in fact - won't take it off).  She's also a big ham.

Happy sewing and sharing the L.O.V.E.