I recently finished this stepped-placket art deco baseball jersey. I had this design in mind for a while and finally got around to making it.
This isn’t the first art deco jersey I have made, I made and tweeted this one out a while ago as well:
My interest in combining vintage flannel-era baseball jerseys and art deco design stems from the simple question I have asked many times before: why didn’t sports jerseys of the 20th century adopt some of the popular and amazing designs of the art deco and mid-century modern eras?
Of course, part of the appeal of vintage sports jerseys is the timeless design, so maybe its a good thing it never happened, because this would have meant perhaps teams would have also adopted some very bad designs. Nonetheless, its something I continue to explore and really enjoy doing.
Unlike the Top Hats jersey, I wanted to make structural changes to the jersey, not just add art deco appliqués. The stepped design element is one of my favourite aspects of art deco design. Apparently it was derived from the construction of ancient pyramids.
In some ways, this jersey is as much inspired by art deco architecture as it is art deco design in general. Here’s an example:
Part of the delay in making this jersey is I had never done machine-made buttonholes before. I’d heard they were hard to do so I put it off, but it turns out it’s quite easy. Here are some of my tests:
So with that out of the way I was finally able to make my first button-front baseball jersey.
I choose an art deco font that was very blocky, as opposed to the more detailed one I used on the Top Hats jersey. I had envisioned this type of font while I designed the jersey in my mind, and it turned out to be the correct choice. I was very happy with how the text fit nicely into the stepped design.
A word about the choice of the name Rays: the real Rays team has a double meaning, referring to both the sea creature and the sun. I like the name, and thought it would work well with this design as art deco often features sun rays as a design element.
I am always on the lookout for interesting vintage buttons, and choose a salmon pink art deco button style for this jersey. I associate this colour with the era, plus it adds a nice bit of colour to an otherwise muted palette.
It was fun to get back to a vintage wool jersey, but I suspect I’m not done with the polyester stuff yet. We’ll see.