Receiving a letterman's jacket and the letters to go with it is a source of pride for many. Wear your letters with pride and sew them on securely so they look great for your entire school career and beyond.
Placing the Letters
There are multiple patches that can be worn on a letterman's jacket. There's the school letter itself, your number if you play a specific sport, and any scholar's patches your school may give you. Your name or your school's name may also adorn the jacket.
Before sewing, take the time to place the letters and patches properly. A well laid out jacket should have:
- The letter on the left breast, just beneath the clavicle
- Numbers on the left arm just beneath the shoulder
- Scholar's patches on the right arm beneath the shoulder
- Names or words on the back, centered and moving in an arch from one side to the next
If your patches are iron-on, heat them in place before sewing to hold them in place. If they are not heat sensitive, use pins to hold them in place securely as you sew. After pinning or ironing on the letter, be sure to step back from the work and look at the jacket from a few feet away. This will help ensure your letter is on evenly before you begin to sew.
Sewing Letters on a Letterman's Jacket
To determine thread color, take a close look at each of the patches. There should be a small, thin layer of felt that extends from the back of the letter out past the edges just slightly. This layer should be in a contrasting color to the rest of the patch; this is the color you should use for your thread. Here's how to sew letters on a letterman's jacket, step by step.
- Coat thread in the color of the letter's backing
- Hand sewing needle
- Thread the needle and tie off the ends of the thread together in a knot.
- Use a variation of the whip stitch to attach the letter. Insert the needle into the back edge of the letter, in the thin felt portion. This will hide your knot between the letter and the jacket. Pull the thread through tightly.
- Poke the needle down into the jacket, just next to the edge of the letter. Pull it up again through both the coat and the letter, trying to insert the needle in the same place you first pulled it through, disguising your first stitch and hiding the knot.
- Pull the thread through tightly and once again dive the needle back down through the jacket in the same place you made the first stitch.
- Push the needle back up into the jacket and letter in the same spot you made the last push through, but instead of pulling the needle straight up, angle it to the left so it comes up approximately 1/8 of an inch away from the first stitch. Pull the thread up tightly.
- Dive the needle down into the jacket directly opposite the place it pulled up from.
- Push the needle back up through both jacket and letter, angling the needle so it comes up 1/8 of an inch away from the last stitch. Continue using this same method all the way around the letter, keeping your stitches even and pulling the needle through only the thin felt layer of the letter.
- Tie off your thread by making a double stitch next to the space you began your stitches, and knot the thread beneath the edge of the letter, so the knot sits between the jacket and the letter, hiding it in place.
Use the tightest stitches you can, spacing them no more than 1/8 of an inch apart to ensure the longest lasting job.
Preserving Your Work
Once you've completed your sewing, make sure that the letterman's jacket is well taken care of. The jacket should only be cleaned by a professional dry cleaner to avoid damage to both the coat itself and your sewing handiwork. With proper care and solid stitches, your letterman's jacket can be worn for years.