Free Pattern: Happy Heart & Ribcage T-shirt

While designing Halloween-themed items, I sketched out a t-shirt with a plush heart and loopy crocheted “ribs” that would not necessarily be anatomically correct (at all!) but would still evoke both spookiness and cuteness! I wanted to borrow from today’s skeleton trend and make it a little more Twinkie Chan. What I really like about this project is that you can pick your favorite color t-shirt or tank top and wear it year-round. You can even make the heart a removable brooch and give it to somebody at any moment! (Oh hey, Valentine’s Day project!) You can also have lots of fun decorating and customizing your heart, giving it a face, arms, legs, heck, you could even sew clothes for it if you want!

The pattern is below! Please note, that I did this really quickly before leaving on a trip to Seattle to see the Plush You opening at Schmancy (today, Friday, 5pm – 9pm!).  I need to shoot better photos, and there are probably some weird mistakes in the pattern itself. Let me know if you attempt it! 🙂

You will need:

  • T-shirt (I suggest washing it first in case it shrinks. Also, crochet CAN get a little heavy, so this project might pull your shirt down a little if it has a loose/wide/cut-off neck, which mine did!)
  • White worsted weight yarn
  • Pink (or Red) worsted weight yarn  (I used Red Heart Super Saver, so a heavier worsted weight like Super Saver or Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice would probably work best for this project.)
  • H hook
  • Pins, tailor’s chalk, or disappearing ink fabric marker to help mark areas on shirt
  • Needle and thread to match your yarn colors
  • Optional:             1 inch pinback and felt, buttons, or safety eyes



Sc dec (single crochet decrease): Pick up a loop from next st, pick up another loop from st after that, YO, pull thru 1st 2 loops, YO, pull thru last 2 loops.


With Pink, you will work a 3D heart. There are many different ways to create a 3D heart, so you can use whatever pattern you like or find. Here’s one I whipped up:

Make a magic circle, or ch 3 and sl st to 1st ch to form ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 1 and work 4 sc into loop. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (4)

Rnd 2: Ch 1, TURN. Work (2 sc) 4 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (8)

Rnd 3: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc), 1 sc] 4 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (12)

Rnd 4: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc), 2 sc] 4 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (16)

Rnd 5: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc), 7 sc] 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (18)

Rnd 6: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc), 8 sc[ 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (20)

Rnd 7: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc), 9 sc[ 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (22)

Rnd 8: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc), 10 sc[ 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (24)

Rnd 9: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc),11 sc[ 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (26)

Rnd 10: Ch 1, turn. Work [(2 sc), 12 sc[ 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (28)

Here’s where you form the top of the heart, one side at at time.

Rnd 11: Ch 1, turn. Work 7 sc evenly, then skip 14 sc, then work 7 sc evenly. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (14)

Rnd 12: Ch 1, turn. [Sc dec in FLO, sc dec in FLO, 3 sc evenly] 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join (10)

Rnd 13: Ch 1, turn. [Sc dec in BLO, sc dec in BLO, 1 sc evenly] 2 times. Sl st to 1st sc to join. (6) Break off leaving 8 inches of yarn. Weave through remaining 6 sts, pull closed, and finish off. If you want your heart to have a little stuffing in it, now is the time to stuff. I left mine un-stuffed.

Now you will work on the other side of the heart.

Rnd 11: Join at the 1st skipped sc of the previous Rnd 11. Work 1 sc in this sc, and in each remaning sc. SL st to 1st sc to join. (14)

Rnds 12-13: Repeat previous Rnds 12-13. Weave in all ends.

If you want your heart to have arms and legs (and a face): Join your yarn wherever you want an arm and/or leg. Ch  7, sk 1st ch, and sl st in remaining 6 chs. Sl st one more time back into the heart to join limb. Break off and weave in ends. Length of limbs is easily adjustable by adding or subtracting chs and sl sts. I think limbs make the heart funnier because they look like little veins and arteries, but a plain heart is probably cuter with a cleaner look. If you want to glue, stitch, or paint a face on the heart, now is the time!

Placing the heart on the shirt in the right place will help you plot out your ribcage. Put the t-shirt on, place the heart where you want it to go, and mark the center of that spot with a pin (careful!), chalk, or invisble ink pen. If you want to sew the heart to your shirt, do that now with matching thread. If you want your heart to be removable, it’s a good idea to still mark the right spot on the shirt so you don’t forget, and then glue or stitch on your pinback.



With White, ch 6.

Row 1: Sk 1st 2 chs and work 4 hdc evenly across.

Rows 2-27: Ch 1, turn. Work 4 hdc evenly across. 27 rows for me equaled approx. 10 inches long. If you want your spine to be longer, you can keep going. Break off and weave in ends.



All the ribs have the same basic pattern, just different lengths.

With White, make magic circle, or ch 3 and sl st to 1st ch to form ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 1 and work 1 sc into ring. Then work 3 hdc into ring. Don’t join rounds.

Rnd 2: Work 4 hdc evenly around. Continue to work hdc evenly and form a tube until you’ve reached the desired length. Then sc in next st, and sl st in following st. Break off leaving about 8 inches of yarn for sewing.


4 inch tube: Make 2.

6 inch tube: Make 2.

7 inch tube: Make 2.

You can make more ribs in longer lengths, but I’m sticking with 3 pairs of ribs for this basic pattern. It will already look like you’re hosting a tamponathon.



  1. Weave in the starting-tails of the ribs to keep things tidy, but keep the 8 inch ending-tails for sewing.
  2. Sew each rib to the sternum with the ending-tails, starting with the 4 inch ribs on top, the 6 inch ribs next, and the 7 inch ribs last. I leave a row or two of hdc on the sternum sticking out, and then attach the 4 inch ribs. About half way down the sternum, I attach the 7 inch ribs. Then I attach the 6 inch ribs in the middle. At this point, your project will look like a facehugger from Aliens.
  3. Pin the sternum to your shirt. You may want to put the shirt on first and mark where you want the top and bottom of the sternum
  4. Sew the sternum to the shirt. Check out the chart. The red dots show where I put my stitches.
  5. After sewing the sternum down, your ribs will be hanging freely. Play with the placement a little bit and mark where you want the ends of the ribs to be. Sew the ends of the each rib securely to the shirt.
  6. Put it on and have fun! I would recommend hand-washing and air-drying to preserve your hard work!

* This pattern is intended for your personal use only and not for creating items to sell. Please do not sell this pattern or re-post it without my permission. Thank you!

36 Comments on “Free Pattern: Happy Heart & Ribcage T-shirt”

  • Sami


    I so secretly hoped this was going to be tampons and a facehugger from your Instagram previews haha
    If you ever feel like make cute and funny tampon plushies send them my way ;D hahaha

  • Joddles Crellin


    Love it 🙂 I’d be tempted to make a cute liver and lungs and such lol have the whole works 🙂
    Seeing your crochet works was what made me learn to crochet 🙂 they are fab!!!! Keep up the amazing cuteness that is your crochet 😀

    • TwinkieChan


      Oh for sure! I had that thought, too, re: all the organs with little faces and arms and legs! But it would get pretty heavy since I was using a thicker yarn to work up the project more quickly!

      • Joddles (Lady Boganesque) Crellin


        It would be awesome as a scarf to go with it hahaha have all the organs linked up. I’m so morbid sometimes LOL

        • Megalina Cupcake


          Not morbid a bit– I would totally rock a skeleton tshirt with organ scarf.. that’s amazing!

          • TwinkieChan


            I will have to create an organ scarf for you! 😉

  • Jessica


    oh omg such cuteness! cute for all year round.

  • Ellie


    Brilliant!!! Gorgeous! Will make this! Thanx Twinkie xoxoxoxoxxxxx

  • I’m definitely making this! So cool, thank you xx

  • Yasmine


    My Halloween costume is so SORTED!!! Thanks a bunch, Twink!!!

  • Belen


    …must make it

    thanks for the pattern ^^

  • Lisa


    That is so cute! What a great idea!!

  • Janet Weidner


    Too CUTE!!! So sweet of you to include the pattern!! Know I will be making one when my Grand-daughter sees it!!! =)

  • lee


    wonderful! thank you for sharing how to make this…

    • TwinkieChan


      did you make it!??

      • Twinks HELP!!! Ive been prepping for a holiday market and just had some free time last night to try it – i started with the heart and I can not get it – and keep in mind I only crochet in the winter so I forget most things over the summer. Ive made items from your book so I should be familiar with your lingo – im a total dark and embarrased to even ask but im getting lost in the brackets – so for this > [(2 sc), 1 sc] 4 times. im doing 2 sc in the next sc and then 1 sc in the sc after that – but when I got to the ones that have larger numbers like this [(2 sc), 12 sc[ 2 times I realized I’m doing it wrong b/c 12 sc in one sc is a big bulky bulge. Help – if you have time. Thank you xoxo

        • TwinkieChan


          Hi! When I put stitches inside a parenthesis, that means work all that in one stitch. The 12 sc is not in a parenthesis, so that means work 12 sc evenly around. 1 sc in each in the next 12 stitches 🙂

          • YAY! Thanks for replying so quickly – Ill retry as soon as i get off work! 🙂

  • Krystie


    So cute! ^_^ I’m making mine right now! Thank you!
    Will you be making a new book anytime soon?

    • TwinkieChan


      Hi! Let me know if there are any problems in the pattern! I didn’t have anybody test it 😛
      No, I don’t have plans for a new book right now….. but there is a possibility I may be writing free patterns for a certain website. We will see, and I’ll keep you guys updated!

  • I-Chan


    This pattern is soooo kawaii ^^ And it is perfect for the halloween party I’m going to 😀 I didn’t have a costume yet so I just started working on this right away ^^

    I am also hoping a new book from You, since I just love all your patterns and the instructions are easy to understand even for a beginner like me 🙂 Actually what made me start crochetting was your book that I saw on a book store and thought it was just so wonderful I had to try it out ^^

    Thank You for being such an inspiration ^^

    P.S If you won’t be releasing a new book I would love a free pattern every now and then 😛

    • TwinkieChan


      Hello! Thank you so much for the lovely note! It means a lot to me, and I’m so happy you are having fun with my patterns!

      I do not have plans for a 2nd book just yet. However, I may be working on something pattern-related that I can share with everyone very soon. I’ll keep everyone posted on my blog!


  • Crystal


    I feel like I’m the only person who can’t crochet a heart regardless of the pattern.
    Does this start from the tip of the heart or the top curve? I seriously have tried various hearts for a year, to simple it’s hard.

    • TwinkieChan


      My heart starts at the pointy tip and ends with the curvey butt part.

  • Ronda Kirkbride


    This is so great! wish I had seen it earlier in the evening and I could have had it for Freaky Friday @ the Library! Have to wear it next Friday! BTW I had to shut down my Twitter acct, kept getting hacked! I will try to keep up! I’m gonna miss you and Stacey Trock!

  • Selam


    This is so cute! 🙂 Will have to make this. By the way, can you wash this shirt in the washing machine?

    • TwinkieChan


      Hi! Depends on how well you sew and crochet :). I always recommend that people handwash their handmade goods to last longer, but if your yarn is machine-washable, and if your tshirt is machine washable, and if your work is good, it should be fine in a lingerie or sweater bag, on the delicate/handwash cycle :). I wouldn’t throw it in with other items in case a rib gets caught on something else.

      • Selam


        Thanks a lot! Now I will most definitely have to make this. Do you think the yarn would felt though?

        • TwinkieChan


          That solely depends on the yarn you are using. If it’s synthetic, you’ll have no problem. If there’s wool in it, maybe.

  • CrochetFreak12


    aww im so gonna make this! i love this pattern. Gonna work on it as soon as possible!!
    from: CrochetFreak Age:12

    • TwinkieChan


      Yay! Post a photo when you’re done! 🙂

      • CrochetFreak12


        i totally wil – when i get the time. I start school tomorrow. & thanks for the fast reply!

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