Emily Bode on How to Make a ‘Sweetheart’ T-Shirt

Emily Bode on How to Make a ‘Sweetheart’ T-Shirt


The latest installment of our Designer D.I.Y. at Home series teaches you how to whip up a present for the significant other you may not have seen for a while.

May 19, 2020

At a time when everyone is isolated at home, nervous about spending money and without an occasion to dress up, what can we do to help you pass the time?

Styles has started a series of print-and-keep D.I.Y. wardrobe customization ideas, similar to the sewing patterns that glossy magazines used to provide. We want you to remember the joy of fashion and learn (or remember) how to make things at home. Some of fashion’s best-known creative talents will be on hand to guide you through the process.

The environmentalist precept of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is an aesthetic touchstone for the designer Emily Bode, isolating since mid-March in British Columbia. Since graduating from Parsons a few years ago, she has established herself as a maverick presence on the men’s wear scene, her quirky designs attracting the attention of awards committees as well as a passionate fan base.

The notion of repurposing whatever is at hand was thus no challenge for Ms. Bode, who often makes clothes from vintage and scavenged materials of all sorts, including French mattress ticking, quilts, embroidered tablecloths and even old pennies.

For this project, she proposed making a “sweetheart” T-shirt as a present for that significant other you may not have seen IRL for some time.

“There’s no experience in sewing necessary,” Ms. Bode said. “The more homemade and messy, the better.”

STEP 1

Choose thread colors that contrast with the T-shirt. “This is a great time to use all of the pre-threaded needles from those miniature hotel mending kits,” Ms. Bode said.

STEP 2

Sew a simple loose running stitch along the edges of the cuffs, collar and hem of the T-shirt. Repeat as many times as you like, using different colors, and feel free to experiment with harder stitches like a whipstitch or a zigzag, if you’re undaunted by those. Stitch loosely so the shirt can stretch over your head and body. Tie the thread ends to your last stitch so the knot does not pull through the knit of the shirt.

STEP 3

Very lightly, with your pencil, outline a large heart on the front of the T-shirt. “I like to draw an arrow through the heart,” she said.

STEP 4

Using the same running stitch, trace the heart with the needle and thread.

STEP 5

Again, very lightly with a pencil, write your chosen initials or name diagonally inside the heart. Stitch the initials as in Step 4.

STEP 6

Wash your T-shirt to erase pencil marks.

Photograph by Karsten Moran for The New York Times



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