Tailgate DIY: Vintage Baseball Sweater
If you love baseball like I love baseball, then you've certainly seen images of baseball players from the early 1900s wearing kick-ass team sweaters. I'm not talking sweatshirts, but hand-knitted sweaters in their team colours with their logo on one side and usually a shawl collar.
Not sure what I'm talking about? Check it:
Beautiful, right?!?! There have been a few brands that have made similar sweaters in the past (Mitchell and Ness, HillFlint, etc.) but nothing in current production.
So I thought instead of waiting for a brand to bring these back to life (which I'm sure someone will in the near future...), I decided to take a crack at making my own! And the results:
Here's my guide if you'd like to tackle this project for yourself or as a gift for another baseball fiend. The embroidery part took some time (around 2 hours), but it was a relaxing project while watching a game on TV.
- Cardigan or sweater of choice
- Felting wool or thick felt
- Embroidery floss (for this project I used one plus part of another bundle)
- Embroidery hoop
- Large eyed sewing needle
1. Source a cardigan style sweater or other sweater of choice. I found this inexpensive one randomly (aka $25) and thought it was perfect given the colours (navy and white), the button up style and the sporty white stripes on the sleeves. Of course, your sweater colour or style may dictate the logo or team colours you choose or vice versa.
2. Source a file online for the logo or lettering you'd like to add to the sweater. I have graphic design skills and programs so this was just a matter of tracing it and printing it out. That said, I'm sure you can find a suitable file from our friend Google if you don't have graphic design experience or programming.
For this project, I wanted to use the "B" from the Red Sox because it's relatively simple to cut out without any small portions and the colour combo matched my sweater perfectly.
3. After cutting out the "pattern", I pinned it to my felting wool then trimmed around. Felting wool is an excellent choice for this project because it has a bit of meat to it helping you sew it to a sweater and it absolutely has an awesome vintage feel to it. The only downfall about this material is it's often challenging to find a wide variety of colour options. If that's the case for you, try using a heavier style of crafting felt.
4. Use an embroidery hoop to stretch out the section of the sweater you plan on using. This will create a nice smooth dewing field. Pin your logo or letting to the sweater inside the hoop.
5. Take your embroidery floss and feed it through a needle with a fairly large eye. You'll likely need all the thread in one bundle of floss. To make this easier for myself, I fed the thread halfway through. Yes, it was a loooooong piece of thread, but since I used high quality floss, it didn't get tangled up.
To sew this on, I used a satin stitch along the edge of the logo joining it to the sweater. Start from the inside of the sweater coming up through the outer edge of the logo and then feed your needle back through the sweater just beyond the edge of the logo.
The piece I did is certainly not uniform, but I think it adds to the "vintage" feel.
**If you're doing a similar shape, my only advice would be to start on the inside of the "B". I had started to bunch the "B" a bit and it was hard to straighten it once I got to the inside.**
6. You'll need to do the outside shape and inside shapes separately. Once you've stitched all the way around (you'll do the same for inside and outside), you'll need to tie off the embroidery thread. Do this by feeding it through the back of some stitches on the inside of the sweater a few times and trimming it off.
7. Congrats, you just made a custom vintage baseball sweater. Take off the embroidery hoop and enjoy your masterpiece! The finished look is what I like to call perfectly, imperfect.
If you make your own, I'd love to see the finished product!