[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Joe DeAngelis, who did a DIY project nearly 20 years ago — and who, I’m fairly certain, is the only DIYer whose toolkit included a cup of tea. Enjoy. — PL]
By Joe DeAngelis
It was 1991, before the dawn of the “throwback” era in sports marketing, and I wanted a vintage style New York Rangers wool jacket. None of the major apparel manufactures were offering such an item. So if I wanted one, I knew I’d had to create it myself.
I purchased two chenille patches — the Rangers’ logo and the vintage NHL shield — for $5 apiece at a card show. Then I went to my local school uniform supplier and looked to purchase a basic wool jacket. I refused to settle on stock items and asked if I could special-order my base coat in the color and stripe schemes I wanted. The reply: “Sure, but it will cost you full retail [$90] and take about a month to construct.”
In the meantime, I was preparing my patches by soaking them in tea for 20 minutes to help “vintage” them in appearance. I also searched the world over for a chenille sleeve patch of the crossed USA/Canadian flags. I couldn’t find one, so I settled for a tackle twill patch and moved forward. MAJOR BLUNDER!
With the front and sleeve patches taken care of, I turned my attention to the back of the jacket. I didn’t want a generic design, so I went back to the same uniform supplier and asked what they recommended. They hit a home run for me, as they were able to construct chenille “Rangers” lettering in the same block font found on traditional Rangers jerseys. The cost was $4 per letter ($28 total).
A week later the supplier left me a voice message asking if I wanted the letters on the back to be positioned in a diagonal arrangement, like on the Rangers’ jerseys. My reply: NO! Too common. I wanted the letters laid out in an arc, similar to the Rangers’ 1946-47 sweater. The supplier obliged, and now we were near final construction.
One final touch that I wish I could go back and change: I had my name, “Joe D.,” sewn in on the front. I hate it. I’d like to pass the jacket down to one of my two sons and possibly their children after that, so I wish it didn’t have my name.
All in all, I love my $145 jacket but I do have a few regrets. I wish I could’ve found a chenille crossed-flags patch, I would’ve colored the snap buttons red instead of blue, and I never should have had my name permanently sewn onto the coat.
Still ,I do laugh when I see what Mitchell & Ness offered fans years later — I guess I was on the right track.
Paul here. I was particularly intrigued by Joe’s use of tea to impart a vintage look to his patches, so I asked him how he came up with that technique. Here’s his response:
Years ago I was scouting a 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle card and stumbled upon a shady vendor who’s been accused of selling high-end counterfeits. With such a costly purchase looming I did some homework and learned that “tea soaking” was one of the many practices for making newly printed cards appear vintage off-white.
I wanted to make the new chenille patches appear vintage for my project, so I adapted the tea-soaking method in short increments until I reached the desired tint of off-white for my jacket — about 20 minutes total. I had to be careful not to stain them too much, as the jacket’s striping was a new bright white.
What color is your house?: Curling gets underway at the Vancouver Olympic Centre today, and Jeff Nephew has reported some alarming news: The familiar red and blue rings of the house have been changed to green and blue, to match the color scheme found everywhere else in Vancouver (and on the Vancouver city flag). As you all know, green is my favorite color, but this just doesn’t seem right.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Speaking of curling, the Norwegian team is going for the John Daly look. … The WVU hoops team wore an “FS” patch last Friday, in memory of former player and coach Fred Schaus. … Major find here: home movie footage of a 1947 Ole Miss football game, with Charlie Connerly at QB (No. 42). Note that the opposing team — Vanderbilt? — appears to have been wearing truncated UCLA stripes, which seems odd for that era (big thanks to Rodney Nichols). … Micahel Cesarano is working with the Queensborogh Community College baseball team to create throwback uniforms that the team will wear this spring to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. … New soccer home kit for Ireland (with thanks to Terence Kearns). … Roger Faso pointed out something I’d never noticed before: The A’s team card in Topps’s 1968 set shows the players wearing vests with gold undershirts. Did they ever wear that ensemble on the field, or even in any other photo shoot? … Remember the rumors of UNC wearing this helmet for the Kickoff Classic? Here’s some follow-up from Jordan Woodson: “Recruits coming in have confirmed the football staff is showing off new jerseys as well as the pewter helmet. Apparently pewter is one of several options proposed to the staff, and not highest on their list. One recruit commented on a ‘pearly white’ and a ‘smoky black’ helmet.” … Yesterday I suggested that someone might want to colorize this shot, and Marc Swanson did a nice job with it. … New installment of Joe Skiba’s Equipped went up yesterday. It’s a bittersweet episode — Skeebs’s farewell to Giants Stadium. You can access it on the Giants’ home page. … This awesome ABA pillow really needs to end up in the hands of a Uni Watch reader (big thanks to Ben Traxel). … You can download the Richamond Flying Squirrels’ official style guide specs here (with thanks to Joey Surma). … “I found pics of an interesting pair of the ‘I Love NY’-edition Nike Air Max Lebron lows,” says Matt Powers. “Unlike the highs, the lows feature a small air unit with no flywire. The LBJ23 logo has been replaced by a question mark, which doesn’t bode well for Cleveland’s hopes for retaining his services.” … New baseball uniforms for Texas Tech (with thanks to Robert Snyder). … Two American Olympic hockey goalies have been told to make some adjustments to their masks (as noted by Tyler Hull). … Awesome find by Coachie Ballgames, who writes: “Came across this astounding 1943 program for a baseball exhibition by American and Canadian Armed Forces played in Wembley Stadium in London. Curious to know what made the U.S. Army v. Canadian Forces game a ‘challenge match’ whereas the U.S. Air Force v. U.S. Ground Forces” game was an ‘all professional game.’ So many details to admire here, highlighted by the air raid warning at the bottom.” … Here’s another colorization from one of yesterday’s wire photos, this time by Shaun Ploenzke). … “I am an avid Cubs collector, and recently acquired the find of a lifetime,” writes Rob Steinmetz. “It’s a 1909 Harry Steinfeldt road jersey (Steinfeldt was the fourth member of the infamous Tinker to Evers to Chance infield), acquired from a Chicago-area family that owned the jersey for 100+ years. This is a one-year style road jersey, in all original condition. The jersey was originally obtained by a family member who had a tryout with the Cubs shortly after Steinfeldt’s departure. He didn’t make the team, and kept this jersey.” There are some spectacular details here, including the curved rear yoke, the buttonholes on the sleeves (so long-sleeve attachments could be added if desired), and the little clasp on the cadet collar. … Joe Hredzak notes that the ubiquitous Vancouver Olympics logo looks an awful lot like the image on a can of Rockman malt liquor, which hit the market at least three years ago. … One last curling tidbit: How gorgeous are these stamps? (Thanks, Kirsten.)