Vintage Team Jacket Prototype


So here’s a new project I have been thinking about for a while.  I like team jackets and those old sweaters baseball players used to wear, so I wanted to design something along those lines but something I could make.  Also, I wondered if I could make a piece of clothing I would actually wear?

I decided I wanted to make a simple, unlined jacket that could incorporate team cresting.  As usual, I also wanted to make structural changes to the garment to make it really unique.  Otherwise, I could just go buy a jacket and sew some crests on.  I actually went so far as to buy a couple of jackets with this in mind, but wound up taking them back once I decided I wanted to make the whole thing.


There are a lot of differences working with this type of fabric as opposed to stretch knits used in most jerseys.  So I got some cheap canvas material and experimented with different designs.  This is the first true prototype, and there are still many revisions to do, but at least it is starting to look like the real thing.

The biggest hook, if you will, is the large pocket at the front with the placket curved to avoid it.  I thought it would be fun to create a jacket that had a big pocket at the front to hold a specific piece of player equipment, so that the final garment would be closely associated with the sport of the team.  Kind of a combination jacket and equipment bag.


It’s not such a weird idea when you think about it.  Many players have equipment custom made or that has been broken in just so, and they would probably want to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t go missing.  Things like custom-molded goalie masks and baseball gloves come to mind.

I also tend to like obscure, fictional minor-league teams, so I could imagine a stingy owner or equipment manager wanting the players to hold onto their expensive gear so it doesn’t go missing from the dressing room.

I also added this fun text to the back, thinking the owner of the team would want to promote the team when the players were out and about:


I designed the pocket to be folded over when not in use, with two buttons in place to hold it in close.  It’s still functional as a regular pocket, but can expand out to hold a bulky item like the mask shown.


This one is made from a lightweight denim that looks quite nice.  The collar is a baseball jacket type, with a nice double blue striped pattern.  I plan to experiment with other fabrics like various colours of canvas and cotton twill.  The overall look is part team jacket, part workwear jacket like a chore coat or denim jacket.

The cresting was done with a tan felt that looks really nice with the shade of blue and also the rust-coloured buttons.

Lots to do before I think this is something that is wearable.  I made the pattern myself by trial and error, and there is still some tweaking to be done to optimize the fit.  I also have to finalize how I am going to finish the seams inside for a professional look, among other things.

I resurrected my old Fin Whales team for this one.  Here’s a picture of me wearing it.

fins portrait 6


Ain’t Cheatin’, Ain’t Tryin’


**Apologies in advance for the not great photos, took these at night with a flash as I feel like posting tonight and don’t want to wait for daylight.

Goalies have long had an interesting relationship with their equipment.  It serves the dual purposes of personal protection and puck blocking.  Sometimes these issues become intertwined, and the line between the two can be confusing.

But sometimes the issues are not confusing, as in the case of flat-out cheating.  That’s the topic of today, and of this jersey I just finished.

My favourite era of goalie equipment was sometime in the early to mid ’80s, during the transition from the all-leather stuff with fairly straightforward designs, to the era of modern materials.  There was a period when things went a little too far, but the experimental era of how to stop more pucks was fun and lead to some really interesting designs that pushed the limit of protection vs. puckstopping.  Cheater bars on gloves, puck foils, and other fun stuff came about and were often banned, and probably rightly so.


I’d often heard of tales of goalies putting webbing under their arms, or between their legs. Mind you I’ve never seen such a piece of gear in action, or in any vintage photos.  It might be they were tall tales, it might be they were just banned or prohibited right away and we never saw them.

So I thought this would be something fun to make.  I also wanted to make it a real, functional jersey, so I made it from polyester mesh as opposed to the vintage-looking wools I often use.


The colour selection was based on me finding a nice piece of old-stock twill cresting material.  I went with yellow and green as it’s such a great look for hockey jerseys, just like the Seals or North Stars.  I applied the cresting with the classic zig-zag stitch.


I used a different, wider mesh for the under-sleeve inserts, that are just there for a little extra help catching pucks.  The jersey is a wide goalie cut so there is plenty extra material already.  I made the inserts small enough that the jersey could be worn without the wearer looking like Batman.

I love lace-up collars so that’s what this jersey received.  I happened to have some smooth green material for the collar, which means there are three different green materials on this jersey, all the exact same shade of kelly green.


Since the cresting material was a scrap, I got a little less than a metre.  I wanted to keep some for future projects, so I made this jersey number 1 to conserve material.


I’m happy with the way the jersey turned out, and I really like the striping/panel design, although I think it looks better without the cheater webbing.  I think I’ll use this design for future jerseys.

I suspect I will be in polyester mode for a while.  I love this mesh and twill combination for a classic jersey look.  I also really enjoyed coming up with the concept, so I might do a series of these, all with different forms of cheating built in somehow.  A complete series of cheater goalie jerseys.

Oh, and of course, ACAT stands for ain’t cheatin’, ain’t tryin’.  You can decide for yourself if you think that’s true or not.

Jersey Fiction Part 1: A Jersey Made for Fighting


This unusual jersey is part of a series of three I made a couple of years ago.  I had been making fictional jersey for a while, and wanted to get into more unusual designs.  I realized the difficulty might be in recognizing these as actual sports jerseys.  The one above looks more like a costume from a pirate play.

So I came up with the idea of writing a short story to explain the reason for the jersey’s existence.  I should mention I’m not a writer, and have no aspirations to be one.  But, I thought, maybe this would be an interesting way to provide more details in an interesting and fun way.

I will spare you the actual story, but I’ll try to break it down so you can see what I was getting at with this jersey and what all of the parts mean.

The story was this: a serial entrepreneur, sometime in the late ’40s or early ’50s, went to a hockey game and was amazed at the reaction the crowd had to the fights that broke out.  He reasoned that if he started a league that emphasized fighting, it would be even more popular than regular hockey and he would make a pile of money.

The rules would state that players that didn’t fight at least once a game would be fined, and, eventually, kicked out of the league if they didn’t fight enough.


The league was called the Knock-Out Hockey League, or KOHL.  This is the logo I created for the league, with the tag line “See Stars,” which of course has a double meaning.  No top players were going to be found in this league.

Here’s a quote from the story as to how the jersey was designed:

“In watching regular hockey games, [he] noticed players often had a hard time holding onto each other, and this affected the quality of the fight.  In addition, the knit sweaters the players wore would often tear, which meant additional costs, which his underfunded league could hardly bear.  With these observations, [he] came up with a concept he considered his most brilliant: he would design a jersey specifically intended to enhance the duration, intensity, and appearance of the fights.”

The leather handle was there for the opposing player to grab onto, as opposed to trying to get hold of the collar.  It was riveted into the jersey for maximum strength.

The overall construction of the jersey was modular, with all of the pieces laced together though grommets.  This would allow separate pieces to be replaced with ease of they were damaged during a fight.  This also allowed the use of very heavy, thick material that would stand up to a lot of abuse.


The white canvas bib was designed to absorb and enhance the appearance of blood.  This was patented and trademarked as the “Blud-Byb,” as the owner was sure others would try to copy his design for their own blood leagues.

Here’s another quote from the story that explains the single collar:

One design issue that became apparent early on was the neck and collar design.  The handle needed to be central on the jersey for balance, which meant the lace-up collar had to be offset.  This left no room for a formal collar, which [he] demanded.  ‘Our players need to represent their team and the league with the utmost dignity and respect’ he said.  ‘I absolutely insist on it.'”

The story also describes how no team was allowed to wear red, and all jerseys needed to be rendered in dull colours, both to ensure spilled blood would have the maximum contrast and would show up the best.  I stole this directly from Jaws, the movie.  I watched a documentary of the making of the film, and they mentioned this technique was used to give the shark attack scenes maximum impact.

Finally, the jersey was so unusual it couldn’t be made by standard jersey manufacturers, so they had a maker of apparel for the meat processing industry build the jerseys.  Company name: Slaughtertime.  The sleeves of course using a “butcher stripe” fabric, which presumably the manufacturer had plenty of lying around.


You may be wondering if the league was successful.  Here’s the answer:

So how did the KOHL fare?  It was a dismal failure right from the start, and only lasted a few games to mostly empty arenas before the money ran out and the league was forced to fold.  He completely underestimated the blood lust of the fan, and only later came to realize it was the surprising and forbidden nature of the hockey fight that made it so appealing in the first place.  Once he legitimized it, made it official and sanctioned, it lost all of its appeal.  No one cared, because it was all supposed to happen.”


In the story, the only remaining jersey from the league is this number 14 jersey.  Here’s how it survived:

“The only remaining jersey from the league is the number 14 jersey from a forward from the Knuckleburg Hammerers.  In the first game of the league, he was knocked out cold in a fight.  He only began to bleed while he was horizontal, which spared his jersey from the bloodstain it was meant to enhance.  It went with him to the hospital, where he spent a few days with a concussion, a broken orbital bone, and no memory of the fight.  Once discharged, the league was already gone, so he held onto the jersey as a keepsake.”

And the rest of the jerseys?

“The assets of the league were auctioned off, and the local fish processing plant was thrilled to buy all of the jerseys for a few dollars, to use as worker’s apparel.  They were cheap, durable, and could be discarded once they became too foul with the smell of fish.  And, as an added bonus, the leather handle proved handy to pull out the occasional and unfortunate worker who fell into the giant vat of fish guts which was used to produce plant fertilizer.”

The story ends with the entrepreneur working on his next scheme, an auto racing league with mandated crashes.

Overall a very fun project that fused many different disciplines and of course the jersey was a blast to make, since I wasn’t limited by any notion of a traditional sports jersey.

Up next: more jersey fiction.



Beautiful Blue


I’m pretty sure this is the most beautiful jersey I’ve made, hence the title of this post.  It’s another hybrid jersey, this time a baseball/hockey goalie blend, but made out of wool and canvas fabrics that evoke the flannel baseball jersey era.

Imagine this: at some point in the past, a hockey team had jerseys made by a flannel baseball jersey manufacturer.  The team worked with the supplier to make sure the design was adapted to meet the needs of a hockey team.  The canvas sleeves add durability to the forearms, while the extra external arm pad provides the goalie with a little extra protection in the soft inside of the elbow joint.

Some vestigial remains of the baseball jersey are intact: the cadet collar and style of cresting.

What the photos don’t reveal is the magnificent nature of this sky blue pinstripe fabric.  It has a soft, high-quality feel I haven’t found in other fabrics I use.  Specialty flannel baseball fabrics are not available, so I’m limited to what I can find in stores.  So it’s always a bonus when I find something that looks like authentic old material.  Matched with the darker shades of blue, I think this is a great colour scheme.

The CH logo is done in a baseball-ish font, and is meant to be reminiscent of the Habs logo.

I really like fancy-style baseball fonts, and for the back used an attractive symmetrical number 1 that I think looks great.


This wasn’t the first jersey of this style I made.  This one came first:


I like the idea of external padding, but I went a bit overboard on this one, my first attempt.  The padding is kind of crude, and there’s just too much going on here.  For the blue one I pared it back to just the one oval-shaped arm pad.  I like the more refined look and asymmetry that resulted.

I do like the colours of the NBW jersey, and the windowpane check reminds me of some of the early baseball jerseys in this style.  I also used a very attractive font for the number 1 on the back:


These are the only two jerseys I made in this style.  This was a couple of years ago and I never did anything with them so I decided to write about them now.

I still have several jerseys I will be posting here in the next little while.  Up next is a really unusual jersey that really pushed the boundaries of both jersey design, and the fictional back stories that usually accompany these designs.  Check back as I will be posting the next ones soon.


Toothed Whales Jersey


Up next is another pinstriped hybrid jersey very similar to the Sea Kings jersey.  This time it’s a beautiful green pinstripe polyester fabric, with unbleached cotton canvas arm insets laced in with jute twine.  This was designed as another hockey jersey, but I think you could argue it’s just a baseball jersey.  Many had detachable sleeves and a short henley-like front during different eras.

The most notable feature is the zip-up collar that incorporates the zipper as the whale’s mouth.  Since this resembles teeth more than baleen, I made the whale look kind of like a sperm whale, so the team name makes sense.  The entire reason for this jersey’s existence is I wanted a zipper smile, everything else on this is pretty much filler.

Because the tail swings to one side, I placed the diamond TW logo to the lower right to balance it out.  The diamond is similar to many emblems seen on baseball jerseys in the flannel era, but also reminds me of corporate logos from the ’50s and ’60s, like some kind of chemical company or something.

There’s something joyous about the whale, like he’s breaching out of pure happiness.  And, of course, he’s smiling.

Here’s the back, not sure why I opted for a basic 1 as I normally like something more interesting, but maybe I was feeling lazy that day, or maybe the zipper was enough.


Speaking of lazy, I should really take some close-ups of the zipper, but the jersey is downstairs in storage somewhere so I don’t have it handy to take a picture.  I really should, as I did a pretty good job of matching the pinstripes on the collar to those on the body.

As an additional fun detail, the whale’s eye is a grommet, same as the ones on the sleeves.

Sea Kings Hybrid Baseball/Hockey/Goalie Jersey



OK, so I haven’t been doing much sewing lately, I’ve been busy working on some paintings instead.  But I came across several jerseys I made a while back that I never posted or did anything about, so figured its time to write about them here.

I enjoy making these weird fictional jerseys, hybrids of different materials, sports, and eras.  I’ve mentioned a number of times before how I like hockey but think baseball has the best jerseys.  So at some point I decided to blend the two, as if a hockey team had their jerseys made by a baseball jersey manufacturer.

This one is for a team called the Sea Kings, again using my favoured whale-based team names and logos.  Of course, the whale is wearing a crown, and I also added a crown to the number on the back.  The jersey body is made from a red pinstripe baseball polyester material, with a combination baseball collar and hockey lace-up top.


I’ve made a number of jerseys with the detachable forearms.  This was based on observing old hockey sweaters that were shredded from the wrist to the elbow, from all of the sticks coming up.  I envisioned a jersey with durable canvas inserts that were laced in with twine, so they could be replaced when worn out.  Although canvas is so durable maybe they would never need to be replaced.  I used a contrasting teal colour, as I love red and teal together, it gives it a really nice ’50s sort of look.  The teal crown on the white with red pinstripe material is a bit of a nod to the Phillies jersey, which I really like.  It reminds me of one of those old-fashioned popcorn boxes, or maybe a striped paper pop cup.

Since this is also a goalie jersey, I added an external pad to the catching arm.  If you look at pictures of early goalies from the ’30s, ’40s, and I think even ’50s, they would often add a pad on the outside of the jersey to protect the delicate inside of the elbow.  I really like jerseys that have external padding, so I make a point of trying to add these whenever I can.  I laced it in with jute twine for a nice vintage look.

It must be at least two years since I made this, not sure why I waited so long to write about it, I think it looks quite nice.

I think I have at least 4 or 5 more jerseys like this that I haven’t written about, so check back soon for more if you like.  There’s a couple of REALLY odd ones if you want to see me push some jersey boundaries a bit.


A Handmade Jersey Board Game


So last year some time I got the idea of making a board game based on sports jerseys.  I wound up making the project and it was featured as part of my interview on Uni Watch.  I’m not a huge gamer or anything like that, I just like making stuff and trying new ideas.

But I realized I never really dug deep into explaining the game play and all of the other details.  So here’s a deeper look at what was a really fun project.


I love vintage hockey and goalies, so this formed the basis for the game.  The idea is the competing players are ’70s goalies who are in search of their missing jerseys.  It’s a typical roll-the dice move-your-piece-around-the-board type of game.

The game itself is a hinged wooden box that contains all of the game parts.  It folds open to create the playing surface.


I bought some blank wooden game pieces and painted them to look like goalies without jerseys on – just their chest and arm padding, pants, and masks.  The coloured pants indicate which team you are on.


Here’s how the game works: each player selects a team.  Within that team, there are three jersey numbers available: starting goalie, backup, and third string.  You are the starting goalie and can pick whichever number you like of those available (all old-school ’70s goalie numbers).

Place a peg on the zero under your chosen number on your team.

Shuffle the cards and sort into three piles, making sure they are separated into three categories: your jersey, teammates’s jersey, and other team’s jersey.

Each player starts with their game piece on their own jersey.  You roll the dice and move your piece forward.  Different actions occur depending on where your piece lands:

-Circle with arrow: no action, wait for next turn.

-Your own jersey: select a card from the “Your Jersey” pile.

-Teammate’s jersey: select a card from the “Your Teammate” pile.

-Other team’s jersey: select a card from the “Other Team’s” pile.

Each time you win a point, advance your peg forward.  First player to three points wins!

Here’s a shot of all of the different cards, and what happens when you get them:



A lot of stuff can happen, including being traded and being forced to trade teams with one of the other players!

Aside from the game play, here are some of the other fun details from the game:

For the team names and jersey designs, I picked some of my favourite old designs and picked team names that are similar to the real team names.  So we have a light blue team called the Auks, a purple and yellow team called the Crowns, and a green and yellow team called the Constellations.

One of my favourite parts of old sports games like table hockey is they always showed all of the other teams in the league, even if you didn’t get those game pieces with your set.  So I made sure that around the edge of the box I added other teams such as the Paws, the Fins (Whales), the Walruses, and Soviet.



And of course, what would a jersey game be without its own jersey packaging, in this case a nice green mesh with lace-up collar:


Overall this was a really fun project with lots of different things to figure out, including game play, jerseys, numbers, cards, packaging, and the overall design.  I’m pretty sure this will be a one-off.

And in case you’re wondering, yes I have played it, and no, it is not a particularly exciting game to play.  I suggest sticking with Monopoly or something.

The End of Another 30-Year Quest


OK, so like 30-year quests seem to be dropping like flies around here.  At least as far as soccer jerseys are concerned.  If you scroll below you’ll see the end of my quest for a game-worn NASL Whitecaps jersey.  And now, from a slightly later era, there is this: the beautiful diagonal-striped Adidas goalkeeper jersey from the 1980s.

First, soccer.  I am at best a casual fan, with my interest increasing during major tournaments.  Other than that I don’t follow any of the major global leagues but do keep an eye on what the Whitecaps are up to.  And this year have been taken to a couple of games by a friend, which is a real treat.


I was in high school in the ’80s, and followed the Whitecaps a bit but not as much as the Canucks and B.C. Lions.  I became aware of the World Cup in my first year of high school in 1982, and graduated in 1986 during the World Cup in Mexico.  I remember watching and enjoying the games, and, as always, taking note of the jerseys.

I always enjoyed goaltending, whether in hockey or soccer, and of course soccer goalies have the unique distinction of needing to wear something different.  Kind of like how hockey goalies can have a painted mask.  So it was during Mexico 86 that I noticed these great Adidas jerseys with the diagonal stripes.


At the same time, I became semi-obsessed with the “shadow stripes” that became all the rage during this time.  It was simply a tone-on-tone stripe, with the stripes alternating with a different sheen to produce the pattern.  I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen on a jersey (and still do).

shadow stripes

At the time, I thought these Adidas jerseys has this type of stripe, but really it’s just two slightly different shades of blue.


I love goalkeepers jersey for all of the interesting elements they bring to the world of sports jerseys.  I particularly like jerseys that have built-in padding.


The number on the back is screened on with a heavy rubbery ink.  I always liked these Adidas numbers, they look good as a one-colour design, and it’s interesting how they incorporated their three-stripe trademark into the look.

So since about ’86 I really wanted one of these jerseys but never came across one.  I never saw one for sale new in Vancouver, so I don’t know if they were sold here or not.  Over the years I would look on eBay, but eventually just forgot about it.  Recently I started looking again, and saw that when they did turn up they would be quite expensive, and always in Europe which would make shipping more expensive too.  I also wound up being outbid a time or two.

Then this one popped up.  It was in the States, and only $38 on a buy it now.  I almost sprained my wrist hitting the button, and the jersey arrived a short time later.  Another quest completed.


I have seen these jerseys in five colours: blue like the one I got, green like Paul Dolan wore for Canada in ’86, grey, red, and yellow (which is the only one with black trim, not white).  I seem to see more blue ones show up for sale, but not sure why.  Maybe since blue is a popular team colour, these blue ones didn’t get used as much and survived longer?  Who knows.


Size is also an issue.  Due to the tighter fitting styles of the time, these fit about a size small.  Most of the ones I have seen for sale have been size small or medium.  I fit a medium, but the one I got is an elusive large, which is a closer fit for me than the smaller sizes.  Again, I wonder if the larger ones got used up, worn out, and thrown away?

I’m far from an expert on these, so if anyone reading has more info, please do comment!  A few questions I have are:

  1. Did these come in any colours other than what I listed above?
  2. Were these sold new in North America?
  3. These were the first goalkeeper jerseys I remember with a bold pattern.  Everything before seemed to be fairly plain.  Was this the first jersey we could consider with a true bold look, and did this lead to the more outlandish jerseys that came in the late ’80s and into the ’90s?

Any other info of course is welcome.

Oh, and there is that issue of that particular Uhlsport jersey from the early ’80s I need to get my hands on one of these days…



How to Start Making Jerseys

val bw

Making sports jerseys has turned into a very fun and rewarding hobby.  I wish there were more people doing it, as it’s always more fun when you can share ideas and projects with other enthusiasts.  In other words, you’re all missing out.

So, what follows is a brief piece on how to get started making jerseys of your own.  There is a lot more to know than just this, but the goal here is to get you started if you’ve been thinking about doing it.

1. Remember: anyone can do it

People of all descriptions all over the world sew, and have for ages.  You don’t need any special predisposition or skills to get good at sewing, although practice and patience are needed.  But if you just work at it you’ll get there.


2. You need a machine

Actually you don’t, you could totally sew a jersey by hand.  But most people will want a machine, and I didn’t really get into it until I bought one of my own and had it in the house to use whenever I felt like it.

Someone you know has a machine you can have, borrow, or buy.  Old machines are fine, you just need to make sure they are in working condition.  It’s a real benefit if you know someone who can show you the ropes, such as threading the machine and how to select stitches.  Or, you can sign up for a course to get you going.  And of course there are unlimited tutorials on youtube, which is how I learn to do stuff I haven’t done before.

Failing that, you can buy a good machine for $100 or sometimes less.  Mine cost $100 on sale and is a basic model.  All you really need is a basic machine that does a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch, which most machines do.  No need for one of those computerized ones, although there’s nothing wrong with them if that’s what you have.


3. Use the best needles and thread

If your machines comes with needles and thread, throw them away as soon as you get them as the quality will be horrible and they will cause you nothing but frustration.  I always tape needles between two pieces of cardboard before discarding so no one gets poked.

Good needles are essential for good sewing, so buy new good quality ones.  I use the Schmetz brand as they are everywhere and work well.  There are many types of needles available for different applications, I have had good luck using topstitch needles, which have a larger eye and seem to like the fabrics I use.


For thread I use the Gutermann stuff as it’s also sold almost everywhere.  I’m sure there are other good brands but this is the easiest stuff to find for me.  I generally want my thread to be smooth with no fuzz hanging off of it, it think this makes it hard for the thread to pass through the fabric.

ties 1200

4. Start small

I didn’t jump right into making jerseys, I started with small novelties like neckties and puck bags.  This allowed me to work my way up, and have smaller projects I could finish quickly.  You could consider the classic beginner projects like pillowcases or an apron for barbecuing, maybe with a sports theme since that’s probably what brought you here.


5. You don’t need a lot of fabric, or expensive fabric

I’ve used a lot of different materials, from melton wool that costs $20 per metre, down to scraps recycled from salvaged materials.  You don’t need to spend a lot to make cool stuff.  I’m lucky that I have a great fabric store close to me that sells a lot of scraps and roll ends, so sometimes I can make a great jersey for a few dollars.

If you start with small projects, you don’t need a lot of fabric.  Plus, a lot of jerseys are made up of different colours, so you might be able to do a design with contrasting sleeves etc. that allows you to buy smaller pieces.

6. You can buy specialty sports fabrics online

I’m really lucky that I have a local store that sells almost every kind of sportswear fabric.  If you’re not so lucky, you can buy fabric by the metre (or yard) on sites like Etsy.  Just search for sports mesh.  NOTE: do yourself a favour and avoid any fabrics, including mesh, that have any spandex/lycra content.  Avoid “4-way stretch,” and opt for 2-way or mechanical stretch.  The spandex stuff is very hard to sew and doesn’t look right for a sports jersey except in some applications.

Having said that, you can make great jerseys with stuff you can buy at your local store, but that’s a whole other topic for another day.

001 fin

7. Consider original designs

My favourite jerseys I have made generally are the ones that use atypical materials (for a jersey), and are fictional in nature.  You can use any fabric you want, not just sportswear materials.  Come up with your own concepts, use fictional teams, whatever you like!


8. Having said that , there is value in copying real designs

I generally put less value in purely technical skills and more value in originality and creativity.  But I’ve also made some jerseys that were close copies of real jerseys, and I was really pleased at how accurate and “store bought” some of these look.  It’s good to try different types to see what you can do.

9. If you just want a jersey from your favourite team, you might just want to go out and buy one

It’s kind of like going fishing to get a “free” fish for dinner.  Once you add up the tackle, time, and transportation, that fish is far from free.  But making your own jersey is very rewarding, and you will probably enjoy it more than a store-purchased one.  But for me, I like making stuff that doesn’t exist that you can’t buy.  Some of my accurate replica jerseys are designs you can’t buy today, so there is a lot of satisfaction in that.  I also like taking existing designs and changing them up a bit – again creating something that doesn’t exist, but takes references from real jerseys.

10. Conclusion

I’m hereby declaring jersey-making the world’s most underrated hobby.  It might even be an almost non-existent hobby given that I really haven’t seen too many people doing it.  But if it’s something you have thought about, I really encourage you to give it a try.  It’s something anyone can do.


A Polyester Ribbing Hockey Sweater


I’ve made a number of vintage hockey sweaters, but have always been limited by the fact I sew with fabrics.  Old hockey sweaters, true to their name, were made from knitted panels that were then sewn together.  Since this is not a material that is readily available, I had to make do with regular fabrics and come up with a fictional explanation for the design.

But recently, my favourite fabric store got in a large shipment of vintage polyester rib-knit material.  You might recognize this stuff, as it’s commonly used for collars, cuffs, and waists on things like satin sports jackets (like the old Starter stuff).


On the photo below, you can see the double-stripe section of the fabric that is used for jacket trim:


I have this vintage satin basketball warm-up top that features this material on the sides.  On a satin garment like this, the side panel adds some stretch.  For me, however, it’s just a great design element.



So of course I was intrigued by this stuff, and wondered what I could make from it.  I decided it would be really interesting to make an entire jersey from this material.  The loosely knit material reminded me enough of a hockey sweater, and there were some great colours and patterns available, so that’s what I decided to do.


I have always loved black and yellow jerseys, it’s one of my favourite colour combos.  And, as it turns out, the store had this great black and yellow stripe, plus a matching solid yellow, so I came up with this bumblebee look, for a fictional team called the Bees.  It’s loosely based on the old 1952-53 Pittsburgh Hornets jersey.

I intended the jersey to have a lace-up collar, but wound up cutting the opening too wide.  This turned out to be a good thing, as to fix it I came up with the idea of adding a small piece of the bee stripe to the collar opening.  This both filled the gap, plus added a small stretchy section that will expand and contract as the jersey is put on.  Which, of course, is exactly what this material is for.  I really like the final look, a happy accident that turned out better than what I originally planned:


One of the most enjoyable parts of the project was coming up with the logo.  I considered some bee designs before coming up with this fun bee hive design, which I think is a lot of fun and works well with the whole jersey:


I’m always looking for ways to find easy and affordable materials that look authentic.  I have generally avoided polyester craft felt, as it can be too thin to provide that vintage cresting look.  But it’s cheap and easy to find in lots of colours.  So I finally figured out I could used fusible interfacing to stabilize the material so it works better for logos and numbers.

On the photo below, I ironed the interfacing to the back of the piece of felt, then cut it out.  This prevents it from warping when being sewn onto the jersey, plus I used a thicker interfacing to provide a bit more bulk.

beehive number


For the bee hive crest, I used a different material.  This is a two-sided interfacing.  It does the same thing as the stuff I used for the numbers, but because it’s two-sided, also allows you to tack the pieces in place before sewing.  This makes it easy to get all of your piece in the right place:

beehive 1

I don’t know why I waited so long to use this two-sided stuff, it makes things so easy I feel like I’m cheating.  The good news is this means I can use the craft felt on more projects now, which is great because the colour selection is huge.

Overall this was a really fun project and I’m glad I was finally able to make a vintage hockey sweater.