Refashioned Football Jersey

Refashion an old football practice jersey into a trendy top!

Sustainability in the fashion-world is so important and sewing enthusiasts all over the world are doing their part to help save unwanted garments from landfills.
The concept of recycling once loved garments into fashion-forward trendy pieces is being featured all over social media.  And while we see the typical items being repurposed like denim, sweaters, suit coats, and t-shirts, one of my favorite items to reinvent is sports apparel.

finished refashioned football jersey

Let’s take football jerseys, for example, they serve a purpose as a uniform for a team sport, but think of them in a fashion sense, they come in pretty-cool colors and the fabric is silky with a texture that is durable.

So since we’re in the rip it apart and remake it mindset, let’s give those practice jerseys a starting position in your closet with this simple yet stylish update. If you’re ready, let’s make it!

Brother Sewing

As a Brother Sews Ambassador I get to create all kinds of sewing projects using the BEST sewing and embroidery machines on the market.  There is so much you can do with a Brother machine and some fabric but my favorite is to refashion old clothing into a new style…giving it a new life.  This football practice jersey was on it’s way to the landfill until I created a unique way to give it a refresh for today’s fashionista.

Sewing supplies

Supplies: 

Brother sewing machine
An old football practice jersey – there might be one in your closet but if not, call the local high school or check the thrift stores to find one
Extra fabric for the sleeves
Extra fabric for lining the shirt (this is optional if you don’t mind a shear front)
3 or more different length zippers
Fabric scissors
Measuring tape
Straight pins

Make it:

Start by cutting the sleeves off at the seams. You should save the sleeve fabric scraps to use in a quit, patchwork pillow, or as a mini purse.

Cutting off sleeves

Measure and fit the jersey to your body by trimming the sides or by using a pattern that you already have. You can also choose to leave the sides loose.

altering sides of shirt Chalk marks on sides of jersey Cutting sides of jersey

Because of the mesh knit material, you may want to add a lining to the front side of the jersey.

knit mesh is see-thru fabric

If you would like to line the front, cut a piece of coordinating fabric to fit the front panel, fold the raw edges in, pin and sew it in place across the top and bottom.  If you are shortening the length, then leave the bottom loose and you can trim the bottom and hem it later. Press the seams of the lining. 

Adding panel to front of jersey Sewing front panel on jersey pressing front panel of jersey

Next, with the right sides of the jersey facing each other, pin them in place leaving an armhole opening to fit your size, typically I use a 9.5” opening.  Sew the side seams.  Turn the garment right sides out.

right sides pinned together Sewing side seams

Now, add the exposed zippers to the garment. You can add them across the front, down from the neckline, up from the bottom, around the side, and one on the back. We are using zippers for fashion over function on the remake of this garment.

Adding zippers to jersey Pinning zippers to fitted jersey

Pin the zipper in place and using the zipper foot on the machine, sew the zippers in place.

Sewing zippers on

After the zippers are sewn in, you can cut the fabric under the back zipper, and use it as an opening if your shirt is fitted, or, leave the fabric opening whole if you can slide the shirt on over your head. 

Cutting fabric under zipper Back opening Back opening of jersey Opt to leave jersey whole with no back opening

Next, decide on the sleeve you want for this garment and create a pattern.

choosing sleeve pattern and pinning it to fabric

Because of the nature of this type of garment you can add a puff sleeve, cap sleeve, bell sleeve, whatever sleeve you like best.  If you want to keep it simple, simply add long knit sleeves from an existing shirt, or no sleeves at all. This demonstration shows a puff sleeve.

Different types of sleeves

Pin the pattern on the coordinating fabric and cut out the sleeves.

cutting sleeve pattern from coordinating fabric

Using a long basting stitch across the top of the puff sleeve, leave the thread long allowing you to gather the sleeve.

gathering top of puff sleeve Puff sleeve prior to adding it to the jersey

Insert the sleeves into the arm holes, pin in place and sew the sleeves on.

Add sleeve inside armhole pin sleeve and armhole together

Sewing the arm hole and sleeve

Turn the raw edges of the sleeve under finish the hem.  

One sleeve added and right side out Hemming the raw edge of the sleeve

At this point, you will also hem the bottom of the garment, if necessary.

Hemming the bottom of the jersey

Press the seams on the garment for a professional look.

Pressing the seams for a professional look

Your refashioned football jersey is complete.

Turn right side out for a finished project

Turning sports apparel into everyday fashion eco-friendly, trendy, and stylish.  Today we used a football jersey, but you can also recycle jerseys from any sport.

Jane wearing the refashioned jersey Back of the refashioned football jersey

Refashioned Football Jersey

Active Time3 hrs
Course: Intermediate

Equipment

  • 1 Brother Sewing Machine
  • 1 fabric scissors
  • 1 Straight pins 
  • 1 Measuring tape
  • 1 Pattern Paper

Materials

  • 3 or more decorative zippers any color
  • 1 football practice jersey If you don't already have one, you can find a football practice jersey at a thrift store, youth organization or local high school
  • 1 yard fabric for the sleeves
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric

Instructions

Preparing the Jersey

  • Cut off the sleeves of the jersey and be sure to save your scraps to use for another project.
  • Measure and fit the jersey to your body by trimming the sides or use a pattern. You can also choose to leave the sides loose.
  • To add a lining to the front side of the mesh knit material, cut a piece of coordinating fabric to fit the front panel. Fold the raw edges in, pin and sew it in place across the top and bottom.
    Note, if you are shortening the length, then leave the bottom loose and you can trim the bottom and hem it later.
  • With the right sides of the jersey facing each other, pin them in place leaving the armhole open.  
  • Sew the side seams. Turn the garment rightsides out.

Adding Zippers

  • Before you add the exposed zippers to the garment, determine their placement. You can add them across the front, down from the neckline, up from the bottom, around the side, and one on the back.
  • Pin the zippers in place.
  • Using the zipper foot on your machine, sew the zippers in place.
  • Cut the fabric under the back zipper after it is sewn in place and use it as an opening if your shirt is fitted.

Adding the sleeves

  • Decide on the sleeve design you want for this garment and create a pattern. You can add a puff sleeve, cap sleeve, bell sleeve, or repurpose a an existing shirt. Skip this step if want a sleeveless shirt.
  • Pin the sleeve pattern on the coordinating fabric and cut out the sleeves.  
  • With the right sides together, pin and sew the arm length of the sleeve.
  • Insert thesleeves into the arm holes, pin in place and sew the sleeves on.

Finishing touches

  • Turn the raw edges of the sleeve under to finish the hem.
  • Hem the bottom of the garment, if necessary.
  • Press the seams on the garment for a professional look.
  • And your refashioned football jersey is complete! What a great way to give this once loved sports apparel a new life!

About Jane

Hi I’m Jane!
A television host by day and a creative maker my entire life. I spend most moments of the day thinking about what I am going to make next, whether it be in the craft room or kitchen, I always have the urge to create.

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