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.




2 thoughts on “A Polyester Ribbing Hockey Sweater

  1. Ryan McLennan says:

    Dude. My hockey team is called the Bees and we need jerseys this season. The Bees jerseys *ahem* sweater you made is gorgeous. You sure you don’t want to outfit the real-life Bees???


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