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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Tom Qualls (that’s him above; no relation to Jimmy, I hope), who recently DIY’d himself an excellent St. Louis Stars Negro Leagues jersey. Enjoy. — PL]
By Tom Qualls
Last summer, as I settled in to watch my 100th Cardinals game of the summer on TV, I realized that my beloved Redbirds were wearing some magnificent St. Louis Stars Negro Leagues throwbacks. As soon as I saw them, I knew I must have one. Problem is, short of buying one that was auctioned off after the game, there was no supply. That’s where my new sewing skills came into play.
First I went to Epic Sports and ordered a gray jersey with navy pinstripes, made by a company called Alleson. I was on my own for the placket/collar piping, as I was never able to successfully locate one with the piping already sewn on. As for the uni number, some research indicated that the St. Louis Stars’ best player was Cool Papa Bell and that he wore No. 17, so that’s what I decided to go with.
First I had to find the right font for the chest lettering and create a template. I printed out two of those, cut out the inside white for the smaller, blue letters and cut around the gray for the outline. Next, I did the same for the 1, the 7, and the sleeve embellishments.
Next I cut everything out. I had both some iron-on and adhesive twill so I used the adhesive for the top layer and iron-on for the lower layer. I find it’s easier to use the adhesive to stick the two layers together, because you can easily peel off the top layer and reset it if you mess up (which wouldn’t be possible if you’d used iron-on for the top layer). And I use the iron-on to adhere the letters to the jersey itself because it doesn’t move around when I’m trying to sew.
Now it was time to sew the layers together. I hand-cranked every stitch for the chest lettering because there were roughly zero straight lines on them.
After sewing all of the letters and numbers together, I worked on the piping. I had no idea what I was doing, so I just laid some ribbon down and started putting stitches in it. I didn’t adhere it to the jersey in any way before I began. It was going well so I kept going and made it all the way around with one long piece of ribbon. It bunched up slightly around the turns near the top button, but nothing too noticeable. I also added two small colored stitches at each end of the ribbon. No particular reason for this — just a nice little detail for myself, but that’s what Uni Watch is all about, right?
After I got the piping on, I ironed everything onto the jersey and stitched it using the same technique I used to sew the letters and numbers together. I was extremely pleased with the result. The chest lettering, the sleeve star, the sleeve number, and the back number all turned out exactly as I wanted them to.
If you see me down at Busch Stadium this summer, you can bet this is the jersey I’ll be wearing.
By any other name: Paul here. My latest vintage uni acquisition is this jersey from a florist’s baseball team (click images to enlarge):
It’s cotton twill, not wool. I love the colors, natch, but I also love lots of other things about it, including the endearingly clunky chest insignia, the chain-stitched “Florist” in the swash (that’s the proper term for it, gang — swash, not swoosh), and the magnificent rose sleeve patch (moth hole and all). A real beauty, no?
I was curious about Lamanna Florist, so I did a bit of research. Further details on that are available over on Permanent Record.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Everyone got all excited yesterday because Dolphins safety Sean Smith leaked a photo of a Miami’s new Nike jersey. Exciting! Except the photo only shows part of one sleeve, and it looks pretty much the same as the orange jersey we’ve seen before. Not so exciting! … Ads on MLB uniforms? Turns out that happened way back in 1911 (from Todd Radom). … Todd has also found yet another case of a World Series team wearing an alternate uni. This time it’s the 1917 Giants, who normally dressed like this. … Manzell Blakeley, inspired by my Meats and Franks T-shirts, has come up with a Mariners-themed concept. Not bad! … Superb article by the great Steve Rushin on the visual aspects of the March Madness (big thanks to Jeff Mayer). … Lots of photos from the Liverpool Football Club’s official print archive here (from Thomas Moore). … Not often that you see eye black and glasses together (from Judd Allan). … There’s ugly camo and then there’s really ugly camo (from Joe Coveney). … Check it out: Lego Steelers logo (from Art Savokinas). … Someone has done a bunch of redesign concepts for every NHL team (from Pascal Hudon). … Good photo of Joey Votto’s jersey being lettered up (from Michael Martin). … Love this hockey magazine cover (nice find by Pat Sharon). … New logo for Colorado Mesa University. “It looks like a depressed overweight cow instead of a rough, mean maverick like the old logo,” says Dom Lewis. … Here’s a great site devoted to police patches (from Brady Graham). … No more third jersey for the Sabres, which is a pity — I liked that design (from Mike Cline Jr.).