A Polyester Ribbing Hockey Sweater

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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???

    Like

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