Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A different kind of Sport Coat

Usually the dissections performed for this blog are of a destructive but educational nature. This time, I am called to tear something apart only to make something new again.

This project has been in the pipes for quite some time now, but my imminent departure has mean that it must be completed in the next few days. But let's back up a bit.

I got a call from a retailer who was looking for a favor; he had a call from an agent whose client had an idea- he had seen someone on tv flashing the inside of his blazer which was lined in jersey and the logo of his team, and client wanted one of those to commemorate a recent game. I was having a bit of trouble following so I asked them to just send me the jersey so I could have a look at it and have a better idea of what I could do with it.

A week went by and I had no news of the jersey so I called the retailer back. "Yeah, yeah", he said, "it had to go to the dry cleaners first". Heh. Well, the thing finally came. There wasn't enough of the jersey material itself to line an entire coat so I did a few sketches of what I thought could be done, which were sent off to the agent. Not approved. We went back and forth a few times until I hit on exactly what he wanted, but there was not enough jersey to do it. So time to get creative.

I figured these things had to be available on the internet, so I went surfing. Bingo. Found them. Authentic jerseys. I'll just buy a couple of these and I'll have enough, as long as they are a perfect match. But wait. Screen printed logos. Um, no, these are embroidered patches. Made in Thailand. No, this is made in, uh, Berlin, WI. So not a match. Damn.

Call the store back and get them to call Reebok who makes these things and see if we can get some cloth or some practice jerseys. Back and forth again.

Meanwhile I figured I should start taking the pieces apart to get them ready for when I have all the jersey I need. This is kind of like the couture technique I sometimes use for wedding gowns where I take a piece of lace, select certain motifs within the piece, carefully trim them out, then rearrange the pieces over the garment to be re-embroidered by hand. In this case, instead of lace, it is sports crests. Well, these jerseys are made to withstand nuclear attack. Sewn down with very thick and durable thread, and glued on for good measure, I sat with a seam ripper to slowly unpick them. In certain cases they numbers were double-stitched so it twice the amount of time. To get three crests and the name off took me a whole evening of work, but at least I could sit in front of the TV and do it.



I rarely watch TV except for times when I am doing mindless work like this, and since I can only half-watch I don't put on anything that requires too much attention. Antiques Roadshow is one of those shows- I can have it on and just listen only to glance up at it every once in a while. My grandparents were hard-core antiques collectors so I know all about patina and provenance and preserving original finishes, and at one point I was starting to feel a bit guilty about what I was doing to this poor jersey, thinking that maybe it should have been preserved intact, but who am I to tell this guy what he should or should not do with his used clothing? Anyway, as I look over the bits and pieces with my AR hat on, I find that there is a hologram on the back of one of the crests- could there really be a black-market trade in fake super bowl crests that they need to identify them in such a manner? And the numbers inside the jersey are puzzling- I wonder what they stand for?



OK So now I've got most of the bits I need, time to cut the coat and get sewing. As is often the case with celebrity clients, I only get a set of questionable measurements from an assistant or an agent- rarely do I get more than that to work with so the fit is not always optimal. You might imagine that they would want to get a good fit, especially since they are having something custom-made, but not everybody cares about sleeve pitch and to be fair, they probably don't have the time for fittings, either. So if you happen to see this guy on TV and his collar doesn't sit right, I'm not entirely to blame.


I cut the lining pattern out of jersey, made two breast pockets, then laid out the pieces according to the design we agreed on. The large numbers were easy enough to baste into place, but when I got to the crests I started bending and breaking all my needles- they were just too thick to baste. They didn't take to being pinned either, so for the small ones I just had to carefully eyeball it at the machine, which is easier said than done, having to pivot around tight curves on a zig-zag machine.


I will have to make up the jacket and press it before inserting the lining since the bulk from the crests will prove challenging. I will have to put a few layers of padding on the press table to "absorb" the thickness of the crests when doing the final touch-up pressing.

So from this,


came this

Brees Jersey

then this


then this


Now, looking at the photo I realize that I reversed the position of the captain's crest and the super bowl logo. Damn. Have to undo it and fix it.

I'll have the coat finished in the next few days, at which point I'll post a photo of it finished. And since I don't watch much TV, if anyone should ever see him wearing it, I would appreciate hearing about it (because yes, this jacket is for Drew Brees and yes, it is his super bowl jersey). Just so I can check the fit of the collar, of course.

Lining a jacket with Hermes scarves? meh. That's so 2009.



Lynn said...


Anonymous said...

Too, too cool.


Jordan Marc said...

Jeffery, in Chinese numerology 9, being the greatest of single-digit numbers, was historically associated with the Emperor of China; the Emporor's silk robes were often embroidered with nine dragons, and Chinese mythology held that the dragon had nine children. Further, the number 9 is a homophone, the word for "longlasting". In football, it gets you a first down or a severe concussion that turns you into a blithering idiot.


R. Jeffery Diduch said...

Well, Jordan, since he was the Super Bowl's MVP, I'm guessing he didn't get the severe concussion. But what do I know about football?


Anonymous said...

When are you going to finish the Tom Ford dissection?! I can't wait any longer!

Christopher said...

As somebody who is constantly irritated by sports fans and the whole industry in general. I would say this guy is the biggest doofus of them all.

DAM said...

This is incredible. When you are finished, I'll send you my blazer and you can do the same thing Brees #9 for me as well.

Paranzino said...

I did the same thing for Randy Moss

Cathy Steiner said...

Oh wow!
Brees is NOT a doofus! He has an Industrial Management Industrial Engineering degree --- a very tough degree, I might add, from Purdue. I went to Purdue and have great admiration for what he has accomplished. I know if I received this I would be soooo scared to cut into it!!!

This is going to be such a great and unique coat. Congrats on being chosen and I'll keep my eyes peeled for a pic of him in it!

Too cool!


Pal Zileri Suit said...

That is so cool!

Veyron Graves said...

Oh that's cool! When it comes to fanwear it can't get more stylish than this!

R. Jeffery Diduch said...

Veryon- it wasn't fanwear. Drew's agent sent me the jersey to make the blazer for Drew himself!


Anonymous said...

His agent is my cousin ... have you done a lot of work for Tom?

Suits said...

That's so cool! Nice Ben, you know something about Chinese history, your kinda fun of Chinese.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the finished product!

Kevin deLeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin deLeon said...

As a DIE hard Who Dat and New Orleanian who is a fan (and student) of the tailoring profession, I have to say I LOVE THIS! That night was so amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

The numbers in the jersey are the year (07=2007) AND THE SIZE (46)

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