Last month I ran an entry from reader David Byrne’s father, Dick Byrne, who was making David a Detroit Tigers jersey from scratch. As you may recall, this wasn’t a typical DIY project, because Dick wasn’t starting with a blank shirt or jersey — he was actually sewing the jersey pieces from scratch, using fabric and a pattern.
Today we have the second installment of this project. Dick, take it away…
Building a Tigers Jersey: Part Two
By Dick Byrne
At the end of Part One, we had cut out the various pieces of the pattern. Now it’s time to sew them together.
The first thing to sew is the front pieces to the back at the shoulder seams using a straight stitch about 3mm long. This is done with the good sides together and a ¼” seam allowance so the raw edges wind up on the inside of the garment. Press the raw edges flat with a dry iron with temperature set for the proper material for about 10 seconds. These steps are described in detail on the back of the pattern sewing instructions under “View B – Shirt.” When you’re done, it should look like this (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):
The facings [this is Dick’s term for the placket — PL] are strips of fabric that stiffen the collar and edge of the shirt where the buttons attach. The pattern shows it on the inside of the shirt, but we’ll put it on the outside, since that is how a typical jersey is made, and it will give us a place to attach the navy blue piping.
Once you’ve cut out the facing shape, cut iron-on interfacing to the same shape as the facing and collar pieces and iron it to the back of the material in the same way as above. Inter-facing comes in 20” rolls with names like “Sheer Delight.” I was told to buy a yard of Pellon 880F Sof-Shape, which was more than I needed. Attach the interfaced facing pieces to the collar similar to the way we did the fronts to back:
In that last photo, the piping has already been attached to the placket and collar, so let me back up and explain how I handled that. The piping on baseball jerseys appears to be rather flat and ¼” or a little more wide. Good luck finding that anywhere locally! And regular fabric won’t work for the piping, because it needs to be cut on the bias (45 degrees to the direction the threads run) so it will bend around the collar curve and still lie flat. So Ruth, my sewing instructor, had me purchase a three-yard package of 7/8” Double Fold Bias Tape Quilt Binding for $2.90 and wrap it around two old Venetian blind cords (stitched together side-by-side with a zigzag stitch). The binding is then pinned tightly every 2” against the cords and sewn with a zipper foot and straight stitch:
This is where my lack of skill shows. One must not push material into the machine –- the machine pulls it in with moving feed dogs. It’s hard to keep the cords tightly bound in the binding as the stitches start drifting away to the side. Ruth didn’t have any trouble, but the only way I could do it was to set the foot down directly on the cords. Ruth gave me a slight smirk when I told her.
The piping is then basted to the outside edge of the facings and collar on the good side. The reason for this will become clear in a minute. Basting is the use of big stitches about half an inch long, done by hand in and out to take the place of pinning when it’s important for the material not to shift. Baste the piping along the whole edge keeping the ¼” seam allowance on the gray material and using the iron to press it into the sharp curves of the collar while keeping it lying flat. Sew the piping to the facings and collar using a straight stitch. Notice we are sewing our piping onto the opposite side of the facing from piping in view A of the pattern for the other style of pajama (which you’re not supposed to be looking at anyway). If you look at this next photo, you’ll see the reason we sewed piping on the good side: so that the piping edge will be turned under, as shown to the left of the canister, to hide the raw edges and leave just the piping exposed:
Now it’s time to attach the placket and collar to the rest of the jersey. Baste and then sew the facings and collar to the fronts and back all the way around, keeping the ¼” seam allowance. Don’t just sew the edges together the way the material lies in the last photo. Instead, flip the facing over upward and to the left at the edge (away from the piping), so the good side of the facing matches to the bad side of the front (and back) piece.
After joining the above, run a blind stitch all around the fronts and back 1/8” from the joint. A blind stitch is just a straight stitch on the bad sides of the fronts and back ,applied using a blind stitch foot on the sewing machine. The foot just has a little tab that rides directly above the line where the facing and front come together when opened out, so the raw edges are underneath and can’t be seen. The blind stitch doesn’t allow the material next to the joint to lift up, so it lies flat. It’s “blind” because it’s on the inside of the finished garment and can’t be seen. Turn the piping under and pin as shown in the last photo and use a similar blind foot straight stitch with blue thread at the joint between the piping and the facing to sew the piping down to the good side of the front (and back). The shirt should now look like this:
Paul here. I don’t mind admitting that I’m pretty lost on most of this step-by-step stuff, so I hope it’s making sense to you sewing enthusiasts out there. Dick will be back with the next installment soon.
ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is about an Indian tribe that’s largely okay with the use of Native imagery in sports, at least under certain conditions. People seemed to like this one a lot — thanks for all the nice feedback.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Superb article on MLB’s new mandatory batting helmets. The best part about this is that we won’t have to see the Cool-Flo anymore. … If Michael Jordan had played in last weekend’s NBA All-Star Game, the patches on his warm-up top would have looked like this (from Jay Sullivan). … The Terrible Towel will now be made by a Pittsburgh-based company, which seems like something that should have been happening all along, no? (From Chris Weber.) … If NFL teams were British, the league might look something like this. … Ever wonder why Georgetown wears that kente cloth pattern? It’s spelled out here. … Here’s something I didn’t know: In 2006, the Spokane Indians revised their logo in consultation with the Spokane Tribe. Ben Hill wrote an article about it at the time. … FSU baseball is putting Twitter handles on the bases on Tuesdays (Jay Sullivan again). … Fun DIY project from Chris Edwards, who transformed a plain bench into a showcase for his ticket stubs. … This is interesting: Ron Hextall wearing a Flyers uni and what appear to be Islanders pads. Particularly odd since he was never traded from the Isles to the Flyers in the middle of a season (from Travis Souders). … Some good eBay finds from Michael Clary, including an Orioles usher’s cap, a KC Chiefs “Chiefs Club” blazer, and an amazing Pirates beanie.