Handmade Christmas Ornaments: My New Favorite

How to make a Christmas tree ornament to remember a loved one that is no longer living using an article of their favorite article of clothing.

I have quite a large collection of handmade Christmas ornaments that my mom made over the years.  I love opening the ornament boxes after we bring them down from the attic every December to find my favorites safely tucked away. Each one brings my Christmas tree to life each and every year.


If you have ever read the children’s book, “Noel” then you know what I am talking about.  It is as if the ornaments come alive and are eager to bring warm and happy memories to the tree each Christmas. My Mom’s ornaments include Miss Pitty Pat, the knitted poncho, hat and gloves, and the toothpick houses.  I’ve added to this collection with the memory ornaments that I posted about here, which are all easy to make.

I also have a few favorite ornaments that I bought or that were given to me – It’s a Wonderful Life movie theater with a marquee that lights up, a Hershey Kiss Hot Cocoa elf, a little change purse that my mom would put money in each year for my brother and sisters and I to find on the tree on Christmas morning.

This year I just finished making a new ornament, actually 6 – and one door decoration out of this red velvet shirt.


This was my dad’s Christmas shirt.  My mom’s Aunt made it for him as a Christmas gift the first year he and my mom were married.


He wore it every Christmas Day since –  if my math is right – that would be 59 years.  Little did my mom’s Aunt know how much her handmade gift would be loved and cherished.  It is not Christmas for my family without my Dad wearing his red velvet Christmas shirt.

I know I have mentioned that my dad has been in hospice the past few weeks and I have been spending my time with him.  On Friday, he passed away.

As sad as I am, I know he is in a better place and out of pain. I like to think he is now happily hanging out with all his family and friends who passed away before him.

A few Christmases before my mom passed away, she noticed that the elbows on the shirt were getting worn. She casually mentioned to me that when my dad was no longer with us, I should make heart ornaments out of the shirt for everyone in the family, so that we will always have fond memories of my Dad wearing his Christmas shirt.

To help me deal with his loss,  I felt I needed to make the memory heart ornaments right away since Christmas is only two weeks away.

Handmade Christmas ornament hearts using a beloved family members shirt

Seeing parts of my Dad’s shirt hanging from our trees this year will help my brother, sisters, and I cope and keep his memory alive at Christmastime for many years to come.

Making the first cut into the shirt was the hardest, I cried and held the shirt up to my cheek for awhile, but knew that giving the shirt new life in the way of memory ornaments was a good thing;  knowing this made making that first cut a bit easier.

How to Make Memory Heart Ornaments from a Beloved Shirt

How to make Velvet Heart Christmas Ornaments from a shirt.

supplies needed:

  • shirt
  • heart pattern
  • marker
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • pillow stuffing
  • sewing needle

Optional: greenery clipping from a fake wreath, red bead, florist wire

I made the hearts using as much of shirt’s details as I could – which included the buttons, button holes, cuffs, and hem.

How-to-make-heart-ornament for a Christmas tree-out-of-a-shirt

1.  Make a heart template using a piece of cardboard.  Place it on the shirt and trace around. Cut two for each ornament.

2. For the loop hanger:  Cut the hem as close to the stitching as possible without cutting the stitches open. I made each loop 6-inches long.


3. Place right sides of the heart together. Fold the hanger in half and place the loop inside with ends sticking out the top center about 1/4-inch.   Pin together, leaving about a 2-inch opening to turn fabric to right side after sewing.

How-to-make-a-fabric-heart- handmade Christmas ornament

4. Sew seam, remove pins, and turn fabric so right side of fabric is to the outside.

5. Stuff with batting.  Hand stitch the opening closed.

Handmade-Christmas ornament-ideas

6.  Thread a piece of florist wire through bead and wrap around the center of a piece of greenery.  Hot glue to heart right under loop hanger.  Bend greenery to shape.

Handmade Christmas ornaments to make

I also made a door knob decoration using the shirt’s pocket.

Handmade-Christmas-Decorating-Ideas using repurposed items.

I cut the pocket and shirt backing out as close to the stitching as possible.  I knotted ends of decorative cord and hot glued them onto the front.


When I was a teenager, my mom placed a piece of fake holly in the shirt pocket one year. My dad liked it and kept it in the pocket ever since.

A very special decoration that I will cherish forever.


I hung the hearts on the tree. I will let my brother and sisters pick out the one they want.  Leaving me with one that I will… cherish forever.  XO

How-to-make-handmade-heart-Christmas ornaments-out-of-fabric-from-a-shirt

If life’s journey has made this memory ornament relevant, you may need to take a pause after completing this post and project. But there’s always tomorrow when you may want to head back to my Christmas project ideas gallery.

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  1. What a beautiful post. I am so sorry to hear about your Dad passing. Anytime we lose someone so close to our heart is such a sad time, but knowing how many memories of that person we have in our head and heart, has always helped me to cope. Making these ornaments out of his shirt is perfect to have to hang on the tree! I have an old flannel shirt from my step-father that I always wore working outside in the Fall, but now after reading this, I’m going to make hearts for my 2 daughters and 4 nieces and 2 nephews, all of whom remember Grandpa Chetty from growing up!! I. LOVE. THIS. IDEA.!!! Thank you, thank you so much for sharing… Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  2. Diane, it’s just too sad to read about your dear father. I’m so sorry. I’ve followed you for a long time because you make sense to me. It’s wonderful that you are totally your genuine self. Know that you and your family are in the hearts of strangers. Although, you are not a stranger to those of us who love you

  3. Lorri Rauscher says:

    What a lovely memory keepsake. I’m sure there was tears making them but every time you see it I’m sure you have loving thoughts of your Father. ❤

  4. I am so grateful you posted this!!
    My dad passed away a year ago and I saved several of his shirts that I loved…wish he had an awesome Christmas shirt like your dad!
    Anyway, I am going to do this, thank you so much!?
    My sympathies for the loss of your father. Even when it’s a good thing and expected it can still be hard. ?

  5. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh my love your story about your dad and Aunt so touching and beautiful…I wish I had kept one of my dad’s shirt and one of my brothers Thank you for sharing the story and the gift of hearts

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Norma – It was very hard making that first cut into the shirt, but it warms my heart now to hang the hearts on my tree since my dad passed away. Maybe you have something else of your father’s or brothers that could be made into an ornament. I make what I call Memory Ornaments using stuff we keep and save, but don’t want to throw away. You can read that post here: https://inmyownstyle.com/2010/12/memory-ornaments.html

  6. I enjoyed reading your story, not without tears, though. It was beautiful. I lost my dad last December and was looking for something to make for the family with his beloved flannels, that is how I came upon your site. Thank you so much for the inspiration and I intend on getting busy with these. I am like, you, I like to think that my dad is singing with his brother and the angels (he was choir director at our church), and that makes me a little less sad. Thank you again.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Janice –

      Thanks for taking the time to write to me. It is so hard losing loved ones, but around the holidays it is even harder. I am so happy that my story and heart ornament post will help you use your dad’s beloved flannels in such a loving way. They will become your most cherished ornaments. It is nice that you have such fond memories and visions of him singing with his brother and angels. XO Wishing you a warm and loving holiday season.

  7. Helen Burton says:

    I took 2 of my husbands sweaters and made stockings for our 4 grandchildren. I embroidered their names on the solid colored flannel cuff-another way to remember their Grandpa each year.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Helen – The stockings sound beautiful and made with so much love. I like that you made a flannel cuff to personalize each one so each child has a little bit of their Grandpa. They will be loved and enjoyed for many generations which to me makes them the best type of Christmas decorations ever. :-)

  8. I recently lost my mother and have been ripping apart her homemade cotton dresses and making quilts for the family (8 in all…whew!). I have quite a bit of material left and have been searching for ornament patterns I can make to go along with the quilts. I love yours. Thank you, I am sorry for your loss.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Shelia – Sorry that you lost your mom, but it sounds like you are putting your fond memories into something very positive. I bet each quilt is beautiful and made with lots of love. Your family must love them.

  9. Jennifer Peyton. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. My mom passed away unexpectedly in January and I have been trying to figure out something to make for my brothers and sisters as well as her close friends and I think this is a great idea!

  10. Marilyn Gray says:

    This is such a heartwarming story! I am so sorry for your loss, especially at this time of year! May God hold you in His shelter a little tighter,while you grieve. This is such a wonderful idea (your mother is a very wise woman) and I know you and your siblings will treasure these hearts for years to come.
    Thanks for blessing us with this sweet , yet sad,story!

  11. Peggy Breed says:

    What a wonderful way to remember your Dad. I am facing the loss of my father in the near future. His loves flannel shirts and even tho he is 94 and not outside anymore, he still wears them most every day. When I was little I loved snuggling with Dad with his soft shirts. I think this would be a great way to have a piece of Dad still be with us.

  12. Thank you for sharing your sweet keepsake idea. I hope to do this for our family as our father recently passed away. Even when this brings the end of suffering, we miss him of course; thank you for sharing your heart for your father.

  13. What a moving story and wonderful keepsake idea. Thank You for sharing both!

  14. Hi Diane,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss of both your mother and father. I too have lost both of my parents and my passed away a year and half ago. I took out her Christmas decorations this year and I too cried thinking of her. I know she is having the best Christmas ever spending it with my dad and Jesus. I will be praying for you as you move forward and sending hugs your way.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks so much Angie. The holidays are always hard when loved ones who were always a part of our life are no longer joining in the festivities. I hope you enjoyed Christmas and your fond memories of your mom and dad. XO I hope you have a wonderful 2014

  15. Hi Diane-I just finished catching up on a few of your recent posts and had to comment here. First let me say I’m so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. Your post was so touching and heartfelt and brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful tribute to your father. I know how especially hard it is to lose loved ones at this time of year. Wishing you and yours the best in 2014.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks so much Patti for taking the time to say hi and comment. My dad was missed at Christmas – my brother and sisters loved the hearts and hung them on their tress. They made us all very happy since we all have such fond memories of him wearing his shirt. I hope you have a wonderful 2014! Happy New Year!

  16. This my be my all-time-favorite way to keep a memory alive! I know that no one in our family wore the same shirt every year… (our tradition is to wear something new every year) but for someone like your Dad, who did…. well, I can only imagine how the smiles will come every year when you hang those ornaments! What a fantastic idea! Your momma was one smart cookie!

  17. Thank you for sharing. This is such a great way to remember your dad. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  18. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I am so sad with and for you losing your dad. Words fail me. Except to say that I believe from what you have told about him in past blogs, that he was a good, loving, God fearing, Christian man and I know that meant the world to me when my dad passed away from us. For me, it gave me peace of mind that he was with God and no more pain, suffering or worry for him to deal with.

    And you said you did not sew…. very beautiful work you did on the ornaments from his shirt. God Bless you all.

  19. Mary Alice says:

    I loved this idea!

    My father in law passed away last year and I took several of his button down shirts (he wore them everyday) and made baby quilts out of them. The older granddaughters got small teddy bears that I made from some of his shirts. I also took one of these button down shirts and made a throw pillow out of it for my mother in law. She loved it. I got the idea from the blogger Maiden Jane (http://maidenjane.blogspot.com/) – she has lots of creative ideas for turning clothing into a precious memory.

  20. Susan Krauss says:

    Diane, I am so very sorry for your loss. <3

  21. This post brought tears to my eyes, and sadness to my heart for you. I am so sorry to learn of your Dad’s passing, especially so near to Christmas….it just seems to intensify the loss, if that’s possible. But knowing it was coming and being able to spend really quality time with him, had to be so special for you. I’m glad you were able to have that time. And I imagine your Mother smiling down on you, loving you all the more, as you remembered her request about the shirt. Such a difficult, yet sweetly satisfying task. They are a beautiful, tangible piece of the legacy your parents have given you all. Another idea for preserving those special ornaments would be to make a small shadow box with a picture of your Dad in the shirt, alongside the heart. God Bless you and your family, Diane.

  22. I am not one to comment very often, however, this touched my heart in more ways than you know. And I cried, for memories long past, that this story made me think about. Thank you for that. May God Bless your fathers soul and may he be reunited with long passed love ones. Blessings to you and your family. Suz

  23. I am very sorry to hear about your dad’s death. Making the ornaments was a wonderful idea for sharing him with others. I know this will be a bitter sweet Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Diane, I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful way to remember and honor your dad. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I cannot remember ever reading of a more loving tribute. May you always love Christmas memories of your father as you hang this very special remembrance.

  26. Marilyn Holeman says:

    Dear Diane,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your mother was brilliant to think of this idea–such a meaningful way to remember your dad. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Merry Christmas.

  27. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my Daddy about 10 years ago and I still hurt. Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute to him by using his shirt to make hearts for your family. My husband is in a nursing home because he had a stroke, has dementia, and congestive heart failure. He was not expected to live to see the first anniversary of his stroke, it has now been 15 months and he is doing well under the circumstances so I feel each day with him is a gift from God. Some day I will be using his shirts to make pillows and a quilt for his family.

  28. Thank you so very much for this post. My sister has some of our most beloved clothes that belonged to our Grandpa and we haven’t been able to figure out what to do with them. I’m going to take his amazing 70’s plaid suit that he wore to every single family wedding and make these ornaments for us for Christmas. What a lovely idea.

  29. Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. A girl’s daddy is so special. I know. Mine
    passed away 11 years ago. There is seldom a day that passes that I don’t
    think of him. Miss him and wish so much that he was still here. Then I
    remind my self how incredibly blessed I am to have a Dad that I feel that
    way about.

  30. Lou-Ellen says:

    This brought tears to my eyes, my father now has the very same thing as your father had, so very sorry for your lose, Diane. l am so very sure that he would of loved the hearts that you had made out of his shirt. Beautiful keepsake! Wishing you and all of your family a very Merry Xmas!~

  31. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful remembrance of your Dad. I wish I knew about this when my mom passed as my brothers and sisters would cherish such a personal item as a piece of favorite clothing.

    Bless you for sharing this idea as I’m sure it will bring great comfort to others.

  32. Kim @ Sand & Sisal says:

    Tears are streaming as I read this because I know the pain of losing a daddy, to smell his scent on a shirt …. well, you know. I think this is the most wonderful thing you could have done and it will be passed down for generations. Hugs and prayers of comfort I’m sending to you today.

  33. Diane,

    I am so sorry for your loss. The ornaments are a wonderful way to share happy Christmas memories of your dad with your family. They will be cherished for many years to come. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  34. I’m so sorry for your loss Diane but what a beautiful Christmas shirt story. Tears came to my eyes as I pictured you holding the the shirt to your cheek before you cut into the fabric. My Mom passed away in ’09 and my Dad passed away the next year, the day after what would have been their 52nd wedding anniversary.

    The heart ornaments you made out of your fathers Christmas shirt will ensure that your father is a part of your family’s Christmas celebrations for years to come.

    Bless you and your family Diane. Take comfort in the fact that our parents never leave us, we always hold a loving piece of them in our hearts.

  35. Joanne B. says:

    simply beautiful. Prayers to you and your family…

  36. Sharon Eberlin says:

    So sorry for your loss.

    Loved the ornaments and that you will always have a loving memory of your father. I know your family will cherish them.

  37. I am so sorry for your loss. This post is so touching; I don’t think I’ve ever teared up reading a blog like I just did with yours. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Elizabeth Verderosa says:

    Dear Diane,
    What a brilliant way to remember your dad, not that you would ever forget him.
    My dad died 5 plus years ago and my sister, brother and I all took some article of clothing to wear to help us with our grief. He was renting at the time and we had only 1 week to empty his apt. As you can imagine, it was hard to make decisions about what to keep and what to give away.
    I wish I had had your inspiration. I would have made everyone ornaments, too.

  39. Sincere sympathy wishes to you and your family, but what a great way to bring remembrance for everyone.

  40. Toqua's Crafts says:

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. I wish I would have thought about this when my mom died. Like you, I know she’s in a better place and enjoying her family and friends, but I miss her terribly (even after 5 years). I love your heart ornaments!!

  41. So sorry for your loss at this time of year. Such a great way to honor your father.

  42. Helena Dias says:

    I’m sorry about your dad. The ornaments are beautiful and a great tribute to him.

  43. I am so sorry about your Dad. The heart ornaments are a beautiful tribute to your Dad.

  44. This brought tears to my eyes. We lost my grandmother in September, and I’ve done similar things with clothes she made for my daughters when they were young. I know she would love seeing them repurposed, and I’m sure your dad will be with you in spirit this Christmas and again each time you hang his shirt ornaments on the tree. Prayers for you and your family.

  45. Janice Careins says:

    I have a few things I brought home 2 years ago when my parents past.
    Dad died right before Thanksgiving and Mom passed 31 days latter of
    a broken heart. They had been together 64 years. I think I’ll make some
    hearts. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  46. Linda Weeks says:

    I am sorry to hear of your loss too – it can be so difficult to lose someone at the holidays. But keep all those wonderful memories every year this time, and it will still be special. Here’s to your Dad!

  47. just a lovely story and even tho’ my momma never wore a red velvet shirt at christmas, she did have a blue corduroy shift she wore frequently and i will be making blue hearts soon out of them in memory of our mom. thank you for the inspiration.

  48. Patty Lucas says:

    There is never a good time to lose someone but the holidays are so much worse. Please know that you and your family will be in my prayers.

  49. Anne Boykin says:

    Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. I know your Dad is smiling down on you and your red velvet Christmas ornaments. Wish I could give you a big hug.

  50. What a wonderful way to remember your dad at Christmas. I lost my dad too this year, 7 months ago in fact. Its been a hard time without him. He wore nothing but western shirts with snaps when he was alive and Ihave a whole stack of them my mom said I could have. I had good intentions of making my mom a mini throw/quilt with them but just havent been able to make that first cut. Thanks for sharing your heart with us., Im so sorry to hear about your dad and will be thinking about you this Christmas season.

  51. melinda ke says:

    This was a difficult post to read, but what a wonderful way to remember your father. The ornaments turned out lovely and I really like that you used the cuffs and buttons…and the pocket for the door decoration with the holly in it. Wishing you and your family peace and comfort this season.

  52. Bless you for your inspirational story, its the hardest thing in the world losing a parent, and to make something so special to keep his memory alive is heartwarming. I shed a tear for you, stay strong this Christmas, I know your dad will be looking down on you with enormous pride. Beautifully written, thank you for sharing…

  53. Patricia Flournoy says:

    What a lovely tribute to your dad (and your mother); both the idea and your blog. You were truly blessed to have such a warm, close and caring family. I feel as sad as if my own father had passed with this huge lump in my throat. My husband has a red sports coat that he drags out every Christmas for parties! I (and his kids) generally roll my eyes and off we go, but now I will pass this story on to his children and I am sure we will view that sports coat as a future treasure trove of memories. My most sincere condolences.

  54. What a beautiful story about your dad. Very sorry for your loss.

  55. So very sorry to hear of your loss. Thanks for sharing the memory ornament idea, but mostly thanks for sharing your own memories and thoughts about your family. You’ve given me comfort in thinking about my own departed parents, and judging by all the previous comments you’ve been a source of strength and inspiration for many of us at this difficult time of year.

  56. Hi Diane,

    I wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about the passing of your dad, may you be comforted in knowing he is in a better place. My grandmother passed away this year also and my mother has had a terrible time with it. I kept several of my grandmothers favorite shirts with the intention of making something from them but nothing has inspired me yet, until I saw this! This will be perfect for my mother to hang on her tree this year as it will be her first Christmas without her mom. Thanks so much for sharing this and even during this difficult time, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  57. I am so sorry for your loss but what a wonderful way of remembering your father.

  58. That’s very, very sweet. I’m so sorry about the loss of your dad. I will do this for my mom and dad as well . . . someday. Not yet. For this year I’m going to do this with one of my husband’s old uniform shirt. It looks like, after 27 years, this may be his last Christmas on the street (law enforcement) and I think our family would like this. Thank you. I was touched.

  59. This certainly brought tears to my eyes as I read it. My dad is always in my thoughts but so much more during the holidays. I don’t have any of his shirts but I did manage to hang on to his green cloth hat, one that is so worn and mended. I’m going to make some type of creative ornament with it, as you have inspired me! Bless our dads and keep them close to our hearts.

  60. Barbara Q says:

    Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss.

  61. Molly Rubick O'Connell says:

    Diane ~ I thought I read your blog every day, but I did not see one where you may have mentioned your dad’s passing. When well-meaning folks tell you ‘they know how you feel’, I am one who truly knows. My own mom passed away a few years ago on Christmas Eve. I was lying next to her, listening to her breaths becoming slower and slower. I hope you don’t regret not being at your dad’s side. Believe that his last moments came just as he would have them come. My sister was not there with me and our mom, and we (my sister and I) both totally believe that mom wanted it that way, for my sister’s sake, and for mom’s comfort.

    This isn’t a note about me. It’s a stranger/friend reaching out to you, sending a warm hug, feeling what you’re feeling. Your touching tribute of transforming a recognizable and memorable item into legacy ornaments brought tears to my eyes, and led me back to Christmas Eve a couple of years ago. Thank you for taking me there again to remember and cherish that time.

    Every good wish to you for some tough days ahead, eventually to be replaced by happier memories.

    Molly Rubick O’Connell

  62. I am so sorry for your loss, especially at Christmas time. Try to hold onto the wonderful memories you have with your dad. Your very lucky to have had so many wonderful years making memories together. I never knew my mom or dad, they divorced when I was 5. My dad (a teacher) got custidy but didn’t want us, he re-married and has never been in my life. My mom was never in the picture (I am 37 and have only met her twice). I have never knew the love of a parent, or had one in my life to love, it has hardened my heart, but today you made it feel again. Cherish the wonderful memories you have, I would have been blessed to have a mom like you. :)

  63. Mary Jane Sapko says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad. Your velvet shirt story was so beautiful! I wish I had something of my Dad’s to hang on my tree. I’m sure you have inspired many people to make mementos of their loved ones to be cherished forever. A blessed Christmas and many thought s and prayers ant this difficult time.

  64. I’m so sorry about your Dad’s death. My prayers go out to you and your family. What a lovely gesture making these ornaments is! They’re just beautiful. I hope the joy of Christmas through the celebration of Jesus’ birth brings comfort to you when you need it most.

  65. Christine says:

    Can’t stop the tears!

  66. Diane, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your response is the way that we crafters cope, isn’t it? The act of making something can be so healing and I’m sure your dad is so pleased that you found this way to bless the family through the work of your hands. Bless you, dear.

  67. I am so sorry for your loss – your attitude it great. Many blessing to you and your family. May your father’s spirit live strong.
    Merry Christmas
    * what a beautiful gift for your family to be able to make them ornaments….I hope they love and cherish them for many years to come

  68. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    Diane, I am so sorry for the pain and emptiness you now are facing. May the God of all comfort hold your close.

    These sweet heart ornaments are such a wonderful treasure of a happy memory. I hope those tears were happy tears as your remembered the Christmases past with your dad.


  69. I was so touched to see how you preserved such a wonderful memory. A wonderful way for so many people to keep his memory alive!

  70. Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. But, as you said…he is in a better place, and no longer suffering. You created a beautiful ornament…a beautiful memory. ;)

  71. I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Diane. Thank you for taking the time to share this wonderful way to remember your dad. I hope your family memories bring you light and joy at Christmas and beyond.

  72. I am very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your dad and such a kind thing to do for your family. Your story will be shared, thank you for the telling. Wishing you a peaceful heart.

  73. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors says:

    Diane, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. You have made beautiful reminders for your family. A lovely post.

  74. Sorry for the loss of your daddy.Lovely idea, you are wonderful.

  75. What a beautiful way to honor your Dad! Having lost both parents (Mum this year), I know first hand how difficult it is. I actually have the shirt that my father passed away in…and even after 12 years, I can still smell him on it. I love the idea of making ornaments with it, as having it in a baggie in a drawer isn’t exactly honoring him. It was also his favorite shirt and in his “trademark” plaid. Thank you for the idea! Even though I don’t sew, I think I can tackle this project by hand. Hugs and blessings to you this Christmas and always.

  76. Diane I am so sorry about the loss of your Dad. I know you receive comfort from knowing he’s not suffering anymore and is in a much better place. Hope you and your family have a happy(as possible) and safe Christmas.

  77. I am very sorry for your loss. The velvet hearts are beautiful. What a lovely way to bring precious memories of a special loved one to mind.

  78. What a beautiful idea. I wish I’d thought to do that with one of my mom’s many “party” dresses.

  79. So sorry for your loss. Your ornaments are lovely and I am sure everyone in the family will be touched. Very fitting use of your Dad’s Christmas shirt.

  80. Diane, I am so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. It is never easy to lose a parent, but this time of the year can be particularly painful. Knowing that he is in a better place and that he and your mom are smiling down on you will help, but please allow yourself time to grieve.
    This will be our first Christmas without my Dad and I have been feeling very empty and sad. After reading your post I realized I have one of his shirts! I think this would be a beautiful gift to give my siblings and I know it will give me great pleasure to be able to do this for them. Thank you for sharing your story with us during a very difficult time. Because you chose to share this in spite of your pain, many, many people will be given a special momento this Christmas! What a gift!
    Thank you and please take care of yourself.

  81. Sorry for your loss Diane. What a beautiful way for you all to remember your Dad. While my Dad has been gone 10 years, I think I’ll adapt your idea for some ornaments of my own. I try to come up with something for my Mom and sisters each year in his memory. It’s getting harder-glad there are creatives like you out there for inspiration. Thanks.

  82. My heart-filled condolences to you and your family. You are keeping the magic of your father’s presence in a truly meaningful way. You only have to touch the heart-shirt to your face and know how near he is. Thank you for this lovely memory keeping idea.

  83. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one is so hard anytime, but to me seems especially so this time of year. Your ‘memory heart’ ornament is a wonderful idea, and will grow more and more precious to you and your siblings in the years to come. *hugs*

  84. Catherine D says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Diane. Your memory hearts are darling and your Father will go on living in your heart. Blessings to you and your family a this difficult time.

  85. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. The Christmas shirt tradition is so special…and the idea of making it into Christmas ornaments for your family is really precious. I can imagine how difficult it was to cut into that shirt. When my father died my sister found a woman who made Teddy Bears out of a loved ones clothing. She had one made for me too. He’s wearing a little shirt made from one of my Dad’s shirts…and little jeans made from my Dad’s jeans. She asked for a picture of Dad…and he really does look a bit like my Dad…it’s the expression on his little face! I treasure it. Your Christmas ornaments will be such treasures…and they are beautiful. I’ll be thinking of you in the next few weeks. I’m so glad that family will be coming together during the holidays to be with you and celebrate your Dad’s life.

  86. Pam Clark says:

    So very sorry for the loss of your daddy. I just love the hearts made from his special shirt. It’s the perfect thing to do! When my mother died, we just couldn’t bear to throw away a long, blue and white striped searsucker robe she wore for many years. I made garters for all of the grandaughters to wear at their weddings and a handkercheif for the only grandson. I attached a tiny silver locket to each one with pictures of my mother and my father. Sentimental gifts are the best! Merry Christmas

  87. I am So heart-soar for your loss, I losses my Mom 2 years ago on the 5th so I know how hard this can be.
    What a wonderful Story & A Keepsake that will be handed down.
    I have a RED Jacket my mother wore all the time I bought it for her YEARS ago.
    I do believe I have the perfect use for it to share with My Sisters & their Children.
    Blessings Ann/alba.

  88. Sigh…this is the first time a blog brought me to tears. I, too, am dealing with my father’s impending demise. I’m sorry for the hole in your heart, the little part of you that passed with him and the deep, deep sorrow in which engulfs you. I will use your ornament idea to do the same for my siblings….

  89. Athena at Minerva's Garden says:

    I am sorry for your loss, Diane, and I send you and your family good thoughts now.

  90. Your ornament story is so touching, thank you for sharing this special part of your family’s tradition-and how you are honoring it- with all of us. Sending you lots of love!

  91. I am so sorry for your loss. What a great way to commemorate your father.

  92. Rebecca Brewer says:

    Just… Lovely

  93. I was really touched by your post today. How bittersweet, and how precious. I’m so sorry, Diane. My best thoughts go to you and yours.

  94. Diane, I am so very sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. And what a blessing it is to remember your father in such a beautiful, tangible way with the heart ornaments. May God bless and keep you, especially this Christmas.

  95. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your Christmas ornaments are a touching way to keep the memory of your dad with you and your family for years to come. So sorry for your loss Diane.

  96. Patricia Worley says:

    Dear Diane:
    Thank you for this post…….Your father’s velvet hearts are so beautiful.
    What a wonderful way to continue his tradition at Christmas time.
    Surely he is smiling down at you, his wonderful daughter……
    Take care of you

  97. This is such a wonderful treasure you’ve made for your family. Wishing you all peace as you gather together.

  98. Dana Moore says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this heart warming story. You’re are very blessed.

  99. Dear Diane,
    Sorry to hear of your dad’s passing so close to the holidays. What a lovely way to remember him with those beautiful hearts. My dad passed away in Dec. 2003. Wished we had been so clever to make an ornament out of a suit jacket or something. Hoping the love and dear memories ease your pain.

  100. Diane, yours if my most favorite Christmas post of this season. I’m so touched by what started as a simple tradition that you have turned into such a loving and cherished token. Thank you for sharing your memories and for finding a way to keep your fathers “red velvet shirt” a part of your Christmas.
    Sending my love and condolences to you at this time.

  101. May your happy memories bring your comfort … your ornaments are beautiful and I’m sure will be treasured by all. God Bless.

  102. So sorry for your loss. What a beautiful way for your family to hold on to cherished memories of your father. May each Christmas get easier for you, and be a time of celebrating your family memories. God Bless!

  103. THank you for sharing such a heartfelt story. I think your dad would have loved how his red shirt lives on. The hearts are very special. Happy Holidays.

  104. Cheryl @ Artzzle says:

    It’s difficult to lose your parent. What wonderful stories will come to mind each year as your heart ornaments are unpacked.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  105. Teresa Riddle says:

    What a beautiful story…many prayers for your loss…thank you for sharing.

  106. Diane~

    I am so sorry for your loss. This is such a LOVING way to honor your Dad. I bet he would love knowing that you have done this with the shirt he LOVES so much. Also THANK YOU for this post. I lost my Dad a yr ago in August. I have been trying to come up with something to make with all of his FAVORITE flannel shirts. I now KNOW what to do to share them with all of the children, and grandchildren. He had a way of “Acquiring” people in his life. This will be my great pleasure to do this for all of them to have.

    With Love, Hugs and ANGELS.

  107. My sympathy goes out to you and your family. You’ve shown us a wonderful way to remember your loved one. May God bless you.

  108. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful way to remember your dad. Wish I had thought of a remembrance like that when my parents passed. God’s blessings this Christmas season.

  109. That is the most beautiful and touching story. Your family will be so pleased to all have a part of your Dad’s celebration shirt. I have subscribed to your blog for a while, and generally just read the email version, but this post moved me to click over to comment. Just had to say thank you for sharing your memories.

    Wishing you a peaceful holiday with many blessings.

  110. Oh Diane , I am so sorry for your loss. I cared for both my parents until they died and I just lost my baby sister to cancer 8 weeks ago. I talked to her son today and we were both so sad cause he turned thirty years old today, the first birthday without his mama. Life is hard sometimes but we just have to keep going . You have inspired me to make some ornaments to hang on our trees in her memory. Thanks

  111. Mary Remmes says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this beautiful blog post,
    Prayers for you and your family.

  112. Diane, I am so very sorry for your loss. The heart ornaments are such a lovely tribute to the love and memories of your dad & of your family’s holidays. May you find comfort in time spent with loved ones and recounting loving memories during this Christmas season.

  113. Christy Keyton says:

    Diane, I echo the thoughts of so many others and am so sorry for your loss, especially right here at Christmastime. This is a beautiful post- it brought me to tears. The ornaments are lovely and the absolute perfect thing to do with your Dad’s shirt. You can continue to enjoy his Christmas shirt for years to come- and what a wonderful Christmas story to pass on for generations.

  114. elizabeth says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Such sweet heart ornaments. When my dad passed away I took a huge bag of his ties to make something out of. After stuffing the bag in the closet for a few years, I realized it wasn’t a project I could really follow through on. I love that your dad wore the shirt every year with the holly sprig and that you were able to follow through on your project.

  115. I am sorry for the loss of your dad. How wonderful those hearts are, a part of a story you will be sharing with grandchildren and their grandchildren. I have hats, books, and fabric that was my mothers that I use to decorate my home and I know my children will one day have them. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Alaina

  116. Neve Hennessey says:

    This is a spectacular way to honor all those wonderful Christmases with your Dad & Mom and allow them to be always present,as they will be for sure, each and every day, but especially so at Christmas. I am sending you much love and lot’s of hugs as you head into this first Christmas with the “new normal” for your family. It will never be exactly the same, and you wouldn’t want it to be. It will be a “new normal” with your folks nearby but close at heart. Much love, celebrate how much they loved you all and were loved by you all. Merry Christmas. Love Neve:)

  117. Such a dear story. How amazing is it that your dad was always able to wear that shirt?! What treasures those ornaments will be.

    I’m disappointed you didn’t win the contest (though it must have been difficult to go through with it). I’m pretty sure no one is better than you are.

  118. So sorry to hear about your dad. Thank you for sharing your memories and pictures with us. Thank you for also taking the time to write a tutorial on how to make such thoughtful ornaments.

  119. Diane,
    I am so sorry for your loss, I know it’s so difficult especially at this time of year. I hope the fond memories of your dad help you to get through this. I can only imagine how difficult it was to cut up your dad’s shirt, but I think it is the perfect way to honor him. The ornaments are so special. I have a friend that does this with special clothing, only she makes bears out of the shirts/dresses/ etc. I thought that was special, but I LOVE the ornament idea…your mom must have been a very special person to think of honoring your dad this way.
    Thinking of you and your family in a special way this Christmas season.

  120. Diane- The heart ornaments are such a beautiful tribute to your Dad. I’m sure he and your Mom are smiling at the red shirt’s transformation.

  121. Amanda Michelle says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can empathize, as my aunt who was more like a grandmother to me, passed right before Thanksgiving. Your story made me teary and I really do think your ornaments allow his spirit to continue wearing that Christmas shirt each year.

  122. So sorry for your loss; what a wonderful way to keep the memory of your father alive for you and your family. Our loved ones are never really gone as long as we keep their memories in our heart.

  123. I’m sorry for your loss.
    I wish to know to do this, when my father passed away, 18 years ago.
    Be strong and continuing doing this, because you are many people inspiration.

  124. Nita{ModVintageLife} says:

    I’m so sorry that you’ve lost your father but oh…what a wonderful thing to remember him by at Christmas. I can just imagine how difficult it must have been to start sewing these especially since he was just gone. I would love to have something like this to remember my own father with at Xmas. We have a small blue bell that always hangs on my Mom’s tree that was my father’s when he was a little boy. It is always the last one placed on the tree. Every year my Dad would ask where is the little blue bell. He never helped decorate the tree. One year the tree fell over and my Dad immediately ran in and asked if the blue bell had survived. It had miraculously only one ornament broke. I know this Christmas will be hard for you without your father. This was such a thoughtful thing to do for your family so that they can all remember him.

  125. I’m very sorry for your loss. Your dad must have been one heck of a fellow and I love that he enjoyed his tradition of wearing his Christmas shirt. You did a beautiful job making the ornaments.
    Angie in Tennessee

  126. Erin @ FierceBeagle says:

    I’m choked up :( I’m so sorry for your loss. This is a wonderful way to remember someone so special. My mother-in-law is very, very ill, and Christmas was always the most important holiday to her. I’ll be keeping this in mind.

  127. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I think it what you did with his shirt is absolutely lovely.

    My Mom passed two years ago, between Christmas and New Year’s. I have two of her dresses that she wore to my sisters’ weddings and have been intending to make ornaments out of them. You’re right, that first cut is the hardest – so hard, I haven’t yet been able to make it. Your post is an inspiration.

    May peace be with you, and may you be comforted by all of the loving memories you have of your Dad.

  128. That is a wonderful idea! I have wanted to do the same thing with my mothers skirts. Now I have your tutorial to follow. They will make wonderful ornaments for my family. It will be 4 years tomorrow since she dies (still active at age 91). I think of her everyday as I’m sure you do of your parents. Thank you!

  129. Diane,
    First my sincere condolences on the loss of your father. As difficult as it is, I’m sure knowing he isn’t in pain any longer brings a bit of comfort. Honoring his memory with the heart ornaments is such a loving act.
    Peace be with you during this season.

  130. A touching story…and lovely ornaments for forever memories.