Good Saturday morning, Uni Watchers. I hope you all had a good week. Lotta sports on tap today (including potential Divisional Series clinchers for the Phillies, Astros and Padres), so lots of Uni Watching to do!
I have a little chicken soup for the soul type of post today, as we welcome long-time reader, contributor, DIYer, 5 & 1er, Vilkmas-er, etc., the one and only Jimmer Vilk, who has a few fun DIY’s he’ll share. My past few DIY posts have highlighted the work of professionals, may-as-well-be professionals or long-time hobbyists who’ve really done some intricate uniform creations. I marvel at their skill, and am pretty sure I could never — ever — create anything as good. Jim is definitely skilled, but his efforts are definitely more my speed. I think to myself, with a bit of time and some practice, maybe I could make something like what Jim does. And I mean that as a sincere compliment.
So gather round for some good ole grilled cheese and tomato soup as we take a look at…
My Most Recent DIY Projects
by Jim Vilk
This past year has been an extremely busy one for me, as readers of the 5&1 know when I posted photos of all the firewood I split and hauled. In spite of that and the usual busy-ness of life, I’ve managed to do quite a bit of DIYing on the side. It started last Fall when a local sporting goods store had a sale where you got a free t-shirt if you bought a hoodie. I picked a light blue hoodie and chose purple for my free shirt. Then I had the store number the shirt on the front, back and sleeves to make an early 70s Fred Cox Vikings shirsey (seen in action as I practice my straight-on kicking).
I told my wife the hoodie could be my Christmas present. After the new year began I asked if she could help me DIY a Houston Oilers hoodie. I wanted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Best NFL Uniform Ever, and the year my other favorite kicker, Skip Butler, joined the blue-helmeted Oilers.
The numbers and logo I could print onto iron-on transfer paper. I just needed my wife to sew the stripes. So I went to a thrift store with the intent of finding a red, white and blue striped shirt. That’s not something a thrift store is guaranteed to have, but lo and behold, they actually had one.
My wife did her thing…
…then I did my thing.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the numbers any bigger. I was on a budget, so I had to use a free number font that was close to the Oilers, and this was as big as I could get on a single sheet of transfer paper. I could have made the logos bigger, but I wanted them small because most of the time the hood will be down and I was afraid big logos would make it stiff. Yes, I like big numbers and logos on the actual players, but for my purposes this is good. And I got finished the day before the anniversary of Skip’s first game with the team!
While all of this was going on, I was working on a real Uni Watch collaboration. I used to have a 1970 Punt, Pass and Kick book, featuring my man Fred Cox, along with punter David Lee and quarterback Bill Nelsen. (Here’s a clearer view of that image):
I gave the book to Paul more than ten years ago. I thought the artwork inside would look great on a t-shirt, so I searched online and found that Paul scanned the pages on his Flickr account.
Obviously the page breaks were a problem, so then I asked Phil if he could use his MS Paint magic to make them disappear. As you can see he did a great job!
Phil also talked me into trimming the pictures instead of ironing it on as a rectangle. A lot more work, but it was worth it.
Instead of making a Bill Nelsen shirt, I gave that transfer to my cousin who is a big Browns fan. Looking forward to seeing it on him!
There’s still some leftover iron-on paper, so I kept going. I have an old Oilers ski hat…
and I thought a transfer of the patch would look really good on a t-shirt. It sure does…
Even if/when the Titans throw back to the Oilers, most likely they’ll never throw back to this glorious-looking era, After all Houston went 1-13, 1-13 and 7-7 in these helmets before breaking my heart and switching to white lids. So it’s safe to say I have some one-of-a-kind DIYs here. Now, what do I make next?
What’s next? How about a crew-neck Cavs championship jersey? (I kid, of course…kinda.) Thanks Jimmer for sharing those. Readers, what should he make next?
Awesome stuff Jim! I especially like the DIY fabric sleeve stripes on the Oilers hoodie. They somehow make it look more 1970s authentic than using heat transfer vinyl would have done. But surely you need “VILK” on the back too though?
I’m a NNOB guy, so there’s just a 2 back there.
Plus I wasn’t sure if I should have BUTLER or VILK.
I get the NNOB thing. I have an aversion to having actual player names (past or present) or my name on the back of my jerseys. But not having a name on a jersey that *should* have one, doesn’t look right. So I have developed a system for picking names. But so far no one has ever asked me “why do you have XXXX on the back of your jersey – they never played for the team and that isn’t YOUR name”, so I’ve never needed to explain it :)
But Vilk really seems to conjure up a 60-70s straight-on kicker for some reason, so maybe you should re-consider!
Jimmer did send me a photo of the back, but for some reason didn’t include a spot for it in his writeup — but here: link
Jimmer!!!!!! That’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a LONG, LONG time! And the shirts!!!! I love them! Next time you need logos and numbers, let me know! They’re on me and I still owe you coffee at Tim Hortons in Akron.
Thanks! I may take you up on that in the future… thinking of maybe a Zenon Andrusyshyn TB Bandits shirsey.
My instant coffee’s pretty good, but I should have grabbed some Tim’s before I hit the road this morning.
And no, Phil, I’m not making a crew neck anything…. especially that Cavs monstrosity. V-necks forever!
Todd, Do you have number templates? I’m making hoodies like this for the Detroit Thanksgiving game. As a Bills fan I’m going with a Dion Dawkins throwback look, and making my Lions fan fiancee a throwback Jamaal Williams, but I can’t find any good number templates to use with my Cricut machine
Hey Skott, I can probably help you with that. My email is link.
@JV: Great sweatshirt, great idea and great execution! Any chance or adding a red outline for the number?
I was a little surprised the Phillies went with the traditional home red pinstripes. Usually, home day games get the cream-colored 1948 homages with the blue caps and red bills. Since the results more than speak for themselves, I am fine with keeping the primaries.
Actually there’s a small red outline. You can see it much better in person, but if you zoom in on the photo you might spot it.
Ah! Well done again.
Love Jimmer’s beautiful Oilers’ hoodie; initiative is often victimized by a misguided wish to be perfect. Every day the oil derrick is missing from an NFL helmet is a tragedy.
Love this Oilers hoodie! I would love to have a Ken Burrough 00 version of this.
The use of the thrift store shirt for the stripes is particularly clever!
I’d love to have three hoodies… another one for Kenny Burrough and one for Billy Johnson. But Skip had to come first.
Houston Oilers uniform. One of those things at the time they existed you did not realize it would soon be gone. Goes to show you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Awesome stuff Jimmer!!!
I love to see a fellow Oilers fan in the wild. I was just a kid when I saw a MNF game where Earl Campbell ran roughshod over the Dolphins, Luv Ya Blue was in full tilt, and the Astrodome was still a wonder to behold; I was hooked for life!
Jim — I’m another fan who really loved the Oilers with the sky-blue helmets, though my favorites are the early 1960s unis. Really the first sports uniform I fell in love with back when I was five or six. I remember being thrilled to see a photo in the paper of Houston’s 9/24/72 game at Miami and discovering they had discarded the silver and gone back to light-blue helmets. And yes, quite a disappointment when they went to white in ’75.
I was extremely disappointed…for Christmas 1974 I unwrapped a surprise gift: a replica blue helmet! Then nine months later it was obsolete.
I still wore it for as long as I could, but eventually took it to a sports consignment store. I should have kept it.
Tried to remain an Oilers fan, and sort of held on for a few years. By the time they signed Stabler and Tatum, though, I was done with them.
Hey Tom — here’s a look at that helmet Jimmer received for Christmas in 1974…
Love the Oilers hoodie! And those PPK shirts turned out great. I’m a big fan of “multi-exposure” graphics, so those are right up my alley.