[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site (although he’s still writing his weekly Bulletin column and may pop up here on the blog occasionally). Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month.]
Hello Uni Watchers, and a pleasant good morning to you all!
Yesterday was another very quiet day, uni news-wise (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but I do wish sometimes teams would space out their new uni unveils!
I have another fun one for you guys and gals this morning: I’m joined by one of my favorite readers once again, Chris Diamond, who I’ve worked with on several articles previously; I’m sure you’re all familiar with his helmet maps, and more recently, his “What if?” think pieces. But I didn’t know until recently that Chris has yet another talent — DIY! He’s here today to talk about how he goes about…
by Chris Diamond
Hi everyone, as well as my Helmet Maps and What-If stuff, I also do more hands-on Uni-related projects. In particular using a computer controlled cutter, heat press and heat transfer vinyl (HTV) to create t-shirts and custom football jerseys or soccer shirts. One particular one I did was turning a Nike Limited Raiders road jersey into a Steelers one and I took photos during the process so here is a brief how-to for anyone else obsessed enough to try it themselves!
So first of all, why did I do it? Surely you can buy a Steelers Road jersey? Well yes you can, but I wanted the road equivalent of this jersey — Nike Limited Women’s Steelers Jersey. I had already done a custom job on one of these ones to make a Steelers Home jersey with #22 (this was years before Najee Harris signed) and there wasn’t anything in the same template for road. In fact now it seems you can’t even get the home Limited jersey! The only one you can get (on NFLShop anyway) is in the Nike Elite style. What’s the difference? Well the Elite collar isn’t in the Vapor style and the numbers aren’t tackle twill. So my only option was to convert another jersey in the same template, but it had to be one where I could remove all the team graphics. My only possibility was a #15 Crabtree Raiders jersey — which apart from the twill numbers is completely blank — that I found on eBay.
The first thing I needed to do was remove the numbers, nameplate and letters. Although these are twill and have sewn edges, experience with the #84 Brown Steelers home jersey told me they would likely also be glued on and this was the case. So after unpicking the stitching, careful heating with an iron allowed me to pull them off. But then there was a nasty sticky residue left which I used Goo-Gone to remove followed by a thorough machine wash.
This left me with a nice blank canvas to work with. First of all I started on the numbers. I already had the correct #22 template in the computer from doing the home jersey so all I needed to do was cut them (see below for how I did this) from iron-on tackle-twill and then press them on and sew the edges.
Now I needed to create the sleeve stripes. These are more or less the same design on home and road so I scanned the home jersey sleeve and imported the image into my vector graphics software Xara. Then I used Xara to create vector graphics for the stripes – black and (athletic) gold. This is then exported as an SVG file and imported into Cricut Design Space which is used to control my Cricut Maker cutter. A bit of editing and I got it to cut the stripes.
For some jerseys I have been able to press the stripes on without surgery, but the design of the Nike jersey means I had to unpick the sleeves first. One unpicked I laid each flat then pressed on the black stripes, followed by the gold on top using my Cricut EasyPress. I used a similar method to above to create the new letters for the nameplate and then all that remained was to machine sew the sleeve seams closed!.
Finally I found a Steelers embroidered logo badge on eBay and again used my sewing machine to edge it and attach it to the front. And Hey Presto I had myself a Nike Limited Steelers Road jersey! I was really pleased how it came out, although I hope the Steelers don’t change their uniforms any time soon so that I need to do something like it again!
This has actually been the only regular sports jersey that I have done. All the rest have been retro pieces (original USFL), soccer faux-backs or t-shirts for my favourite bands.
Thanks for reading and good luck to anyone who tries this!
Readers? What say you?