DIY of the Week: Heart-Embroidered Top

Creativity can strike when you least expect it, and for me, it recently struck in the form of a funny little top I found at the vintage store. It’s a snap-button crop top in a pastel plaid, and unmistakably ‘80s. It’s not necessarily my usual style, but I fell for the heart-shaped cutout on the back of the shirt. I started thinking about how I could give this top a bit of an update, while still keeping its quirky charm.

The solution: an embroidered heart, pierced by an arrow to give it a retro tattoo feel. I’m no stranger to adding hearts to my shirts, but I think this one is particularly cute. This heart would look wonderful on a denim shirt, or really any button-down in need of a little spice. This project is also super simple—if you have all of your supplies on hand, it takes under an hour to complete!


  • Button-down top
  • Red embroidery floss
  • Black embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Piece of paper
  • Ballpoint pen

Craft away:

  • Fold the piece of paper in half. Draw a 1-inch wide, half-heart shape with the center against the fold. Cut out the shape and unfold it to make your heart template. Below, you can see the fun cutout that inspired this update!
  • Trace the heart template onto the upper-left side of the top, or pin it in place (I opted to pin my template in place, since the fabric of my top makes it hard to see traced lines).
  • Cut a couple of feet of the red embroidery floss. Thread the needle, and tie a knot at one end of the floss; leave the other end (the one sticking through the eye of the needle) loose.
  • Stitch the outline of the heart onto the shirt, going over your traced marks or following the outline of the template. Use a simple in-and-out motion to make a basic straight stitch. Once you have stitched all the way around the heart, stitch back around the other way, passing between your previous stitches to give the look of a solid line.
  • Cut a couple of feet of the black embroidery floss, and thread the needle the same way as before.
  • Stitch two 1-inch lines on a diagonal through the heart, leaving a gap in the middle. These will make the shaft of the arrow. Use basic straight stitches, and go back over your work to give the look of a solid line.
  • Add little diagonal lines to the end of the left line to make the feathery base of the arrow.
  • Add four diagonal lines at the end of the right line to make the arrowhead.
  • You’re finished! Pair your updated top with some shorts or skinny jeans, and show off your sweet style!