Sleeves — they come in all shapes and sizes and cover everything from human appendages, to guns, baseball bats, and surfboards. As an industrial scale sewing contractor, we’ve made them all.  


But one thing we haven’t made, or at least not literally, is a sleeve with someone’s heart on it.

To “wear your heart on your sleeve” is an idiom casually thrown around to describe someone whose emotions are as obvious as the shirt on their back.

Not to be confused with “rolling up your sleeves”, which is someone who is getting elbow deep in work, or “having something up your sleeve”, used to describe someone with a secret plan or leverage, wearing your heart on your sleeve has a peculiar etymology.

If we follow the thread of its origins back to its first documented use we find a passage from Shakespeare's Othello where the nefarious Iago speaks with one of his cronies:


Iago tortures Othello

For when my outward action doth demonstrate

The native act and figure of my heart

In compliment extern, 'tis not long after

But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve

For daws [birds] to peck at: I am not what I am.


Tracing the phrase back a bit further than Shakespear, we find similar examples of the saying appeared during medieval jousts. A “sleeve” for knights referred to a piece of armor upon which battling contenders would don their lady’s token.

Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day we thought it’d be great to encourage you to not be afraid of adorning your own sleeve with whatever emotions you feel are best and if you’d like to see what our heart looks like, just take a look at our company origins.

From all of us here at CustomFab USA — have a happy day of love <3!