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Thrift Store Find, All Fancied Up


BallWonk

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Last fall, I found at a certain Christian-soldier themed thrift shop on whatever the heck they call Duke Street west of Alexandria a USA WBC jersey ... with the patches ripped off. And not well ripped off. Can't tell if someone wanted the jersey without the patches but then did such a bad job ripping the patches off that he scrapped the whole project, of if the original owner really, really wanted the patches and didn't care how badly he messed up the jersey to get them. Either way, the jersey sleeves were in bad shape.

But I love the USA jersey, and I didn't much care for the official patches anyway, so I set out to fix up this jersey for my own patriotic holiday use. (I go pretty crazy for national holidays, especially Independence Day. I freakin love Independence Day. The Declaration of Independence rocks.)

Step one, I needed some patches to cover the ripped-up patch areas on the sleeves. On the right side, I needed something no smaller than a US flag patch. At a local military surplus store, I found three flag-shaped patches: a Betsy Ross U.S. flag, a Bennington flag (the one with the reversed stripes and the "76" in the canton), and the "Don't Tread on Me" Navy ensign. Eventually, I opted for the Betsy Ross flag, since it communicates "American Revolution" most clearly. For the left sleeve, I needed something roundish and, I thought, fairly large, to cover the large round WBC patch with its spiky angles. It came down to an expensive US national seal with gold thread that would have completely covered the WBC patch versus a much less expensive patch of the Minnesota state seal that would only mostly cover the damage from the ripped-off WBC patch.

Cost and Minnesota pride won out; it is the best of the states after all. It's like Texas, but with better weather, and civilization. :P Anyway, since the patch wouldn't entirely cover the damage on the sleeve, I developed the plan to put the patch on a round tackle-twill backing that would give the patch a bit of a border and echo the Minnesota state flag.

Step two, I wanted to put a big old patriotic 76 on the back, but I wanted the numbers to match the look of the USA script on the front more than the block numbers the US national team uses. I tried various iterations of copperplate, but despite being basically the same font as the USA script, it just wasn't working. It was identical, not similar, and anyway the numbers just weren't shaped right for a jersey back. At just about that point, I found on these boards the new Cincinnati number font, which I'm still pretty much in love with. I love how it looks old-fashioned, but in a modern way. I thought it would be perfect to put the number 76 on the back of my Independence Day jersey. So I played around with it until I matched the drop-shadow effect of the USA script on the front.

These plans in hand, I sent instructions to Exclusive Pro Sports to do the patches and numbers. Turns out the sleeves weren't as badly damaged as I feared, at least not in EPS's professional hands, so I didn't need the patch-backing on the left sleeve to cover damage from the WBC patch. EPS was able to clean up the damage quite nicely.

Got the jersey back today; here are pix. Total cost was about $70 for the whole thing -- $12 for the jersey plus about $50 for the custom work plus a few bucks for cheap patches and shipping. Here are the pix:

usajersey-front.jpg

usajersey-back.jpg

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I hate to break it to you but....your flag patch is backwards. Union faces forward.

No, that's specifically a military practice, not part of the U.S. Flag Code, which is the authoritative guide to flag etiquette for civilians. The reversed-design patch is also a relatively recent innovation, not longstanding military practice. On U.S. military uniforms, the flag is displayed as though flowing from a hoist that is advancing forward toward the enemy, even if that puts the hoist on the viewer's right. For the rest of us, the union should always be displayed on the viewer's left. (And, strictly speaking, the flag should never be affixed to an athletic uniform of any kind. But I'm counting this as a "patriotic" rather than "athletic" shirt.)

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Minor detail that's not the end of the world. Less people will notice that than would ask him why the flag on his sleeve is backwards.

I like it. I love it. The number font is about perfect.

+1 for the 32nd state tribute, the Star of the North.

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I hate to break it to you but....your flag patch is backwards. Union faces forward.

Looks correct to me.

(i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
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Except on many military and athletic uniforms (along with all aircraft and ships that feature the flag) when it is on the right side the flag is backwards, that is - the union faces the front. This makes it appear as if it were flying while being carried into battle.

shuttleza1.jpg

040503najafvmed10awidecmd5.jpg

I wish I had my own space shuttle...

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I'm thinking that having the flag on the left side would have solved the union problem, plus I like the idea of having the flag on the left arm, anyway.

Still, that's pretty cool.

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Awesome job. It's cool when you get an idea in your head and can bring it to life like that. Nice work by EPS. It's nice having a resource out there who can actually follow directions and think outside the box along with you, ain't it?

By the way, not to start an whole discussion on it, but that military practice of the "non-backwards" backwards flag drives me batty. I like yours just the way it is and applaud your choice of the Betsy Ross Flag version. Good graphic design is timeless.

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Except on many military and athletic uniforms (along with all aircraft and ships that feature the flag) when it is on the right side the flag is backwards, that is - the union faces the front. This makes it appear as if it were flying while being carried into battle.

Again, this is not an issue for athletic uniforms: The U.S. Flag Code specifically states that the U.S. flag should never be affixed to an athletic uniform. If you have a flag patch on an athletic uniform, there is no correct direction for it to face. Its presence is a violation of American flag etiquette, and any uniformed Boy Scout is legally empowered to kick your ass, remove your jersey, and dispose of it with burning. (Not really.) Since I don't plan to wear this jersey while playing ball, and since I intend it only for patriotic display, I'm exempting myself from the Flag Code's ban on athletic-uniform flag display. But even so, as a civilian, the military's rule about appearing to be advancing into battle doesn't apply to me. What governs the etiquette of civilian flag display is the U.S. Flag Code, which does not provide for reverse-display flag patches but instead demands that the union be on the upper left, or on the north or east side of flags that can be seen from front and back.

Someone else pointed out that flag on the left would have solved the problem of misinformed people objecting to the proper display of the flag on the right, and indeed that would have been my preference. But I was limited here by the need to cover specific shapes and sizes of damage from the improper removal of the previous patches. The First Naval Jack would also have solved the problem, since it has no union, but I would have felt like too much of a poseur if I went that way; I've always regretted backing out of a Navy ROTC scholarship just before I started college. (In my defense, it was to take a better scholarship at a better school, in the midst of a long period of peacetime, but still. I admire the Navy to no end, and would never do anything that I felt could give the impression that I served in the Navy when I did not.)

I wish I had my own space shuttle...

We share that dream, my friend ...

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