How to make your own NFL jersey

Written by mercedes valladares
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How to make your own NFL jersey
Make your own NFL inspired football jersey. (young football players image by Michael Drager from

Football jerseys inspired by favourite NFL teams will include team logos, colours and numbers. If you want to create your own, looking through sports magazines usually spurs inspiration for jersey designs. Before making the jersey, a sketch is required showing all fabric panel placements as well as the team number position. Team logos such as iron-on embroidered patches also are applied to the sketch to avoid construction errors. Use the sketch as a road map during pattern-making and construction. Choosing the team colours, fabric and trim while sketching will also ensure smoother production.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pre-made football jersey pattern
  • Pattern paper
  • Drafting pencils
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Felt-tip marker
  • Scissors
  • Notcher
  • Straight pins
  • Fabric scissors
  • 2-3 yards of fabric
  • Cotton rib (1/4 yard)
  • Number stencil (optional)
  • Fusible web
  • Iron
  • Serger or overlock machine
  • NFL heatseal embroidered patch (optional)
  • Teflon sheet (optional)

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  1. 1

    Trace a pre-made football jersey pattern onto pattern paper to use as your base pattern. Although making your own pattern is possible, it is challenging for a beginner. There are multiple seam and yoke inserts with curved panels which must be accurately measured to ensure fit.

    Skip this step if you have knowledge of pattern-making. Draft your own pattern according to your jersey design on the pattern paper. Use drafting pencils until the patterns and measurements are accurate. Your patterns will consist of a front and back panel, a sleeve and collar.

  2. 2

    Measure the chest by placing a flexible tape measure 1 inch below the underarm and extend it across the chest. Add 1 to 2 inches to your chest measurement to ensure the jersey has a boxy pattern cut. Keep in mind that a football jersey is generally an oversized cut.

  3. 3

    Measure the sleeve length by placing your tape measure at the top shoulder seam and drape it to your desired length.

  4. 4

    Measure the length by placing your tape measure at the highest point of your shoulder, referred to as HPS. Run the tape vertically until you reach your desired length.

  5. 5

    Make changes to your traced pattern using the dimensions taken in steps 2 through 4.

  6. 6

    Review your coloured sketch and make your pattern changes. For instance, if your design included contrast yoke, sleeve, side panel, or chest inserts, the front and back pattern panels must be split to accommodate the insert. Remember to add a half-inch seam allowance to all split patterns.

  7. 7

    Label your patterns by colour with a felt-tip marker. For instance, if your team colours are purple and yellow with white accents, label each pattern cut in purple as pattern "A" and label all patterns in yellow as pattern "B". You will continue to do this for every different colour associated with your jersey. This will avoid confusion while cutting your fabric parts.

  8. 8

    Notch your patterns with your notcher and cut them out with your scissors. A notch is a pattern marking which aligns fabric parts accurately prior to construction.

  9. 9

    Pin your patterns onto each fabric colour separately with your straight pins and cut out with your fabric scissors. Fabrics such as cotton, cotton blend jersey and polyester nylon generally are used for football jerseys. Cotton rib is generally used for the neckline.

  1. 1

    Draft a pattern for your football jersey number using a stencil. If you want large numbers, enlarge your stencil to your desired width and length.

    Skip this section if you plan to silkscreen the numbers onto the front and back panel.

  2. 2

    Cut out your number patterns and pin to your fabric. Make sure you use the NFL team complementary contrasting colour for the number. You will need to cut two sets of numbers if you plan to appliqué the front and back jersey panel.

  3. 3

    Pin your number pattern to your fusible web and cut out.

  4. 4

    Remove the protective backing from one side of the fusible web. Position it on the reverse side of the numbers. Set your iron according to your brand's recommended setting. Glide the iron back and forth until the numbers have fused to the web.

  5. 5

    Remove the remaining protective backing from the fusible web. Position your numbers on your front and back panels and iron on.

  6. 6

    Select a double needle or zigzag stitch on your sewing machine and stitch around the edges of each number to reinforce the fused appliqué panels.

  1. 1

    Serge the contrasting panels together, one panel at a time. For instance, if your jersey's front panel has a contrast yoke and side, stitch all of the front panel parts together to complete a full front. This step applies to all contrasting back and sleeve panel inserts.

  2. 2

    Pin your front and back panels together, making sure the wrong side of the fabric is facing out.

  3. 3

    Serge the shoulder and side panels together using your serger or overlock machine. This is the jersey body.

  4. 4

    Pin each sleeve and collar to the jersey body and serge. Turn your jersey inside out to apply your trims.

  5. 5

    Remove the protective backing from the NFL heatseal embroidered patch. Set your iron on your brand's recommended setting. Cover the heatseal patch with a Teflon sheet and glide the iron over it until the patch is applied onto the jersey. Skip this step if you are not including patches in your design.

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