Cosplay Finished Project Sewing

Star Trek Cosplay

So, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a HUGE fan of Star Trek. Sometime ago.. I can’t remember how long ago I found out that for the first time ever, we were going to have a Comic Con here in Salt Lake, I KNEW I had to go, and I KNEW exactly who I was going to go as; my character from Star Trek Online. I did this because most of the time, a Trek Cosplay is usually from one of the series or the movies.. I wanted to do something different! There was quite a bit of research and time and money that went into the components of my costume, but I’ll just focus on the jacket bit for this post.

So the first step was to take screenshots of my character in the game to get as many angles of her jacket as possible.

Back, Front, Left-ish and Right-ish angles of my jacket.
Back, Front, Left-ish and Right-ish angles of my jacket.

A bit of background for those who are less than familiar with the Star Trek Universe. My character is not full blooded anything; in fact she’s half Vulcan and half Trill. I’ve incorporated the Trill spots for my character, and she’s got the pointed ears and eyebrows seen with Vulcans. I ended up getting a lot of weird looks from people and had to resist quite a few times from saying “What are you staring at?” but those who took the time to ask were pretty impressed with the concept of a Vulcan/Trill hyrid. One guy told me “That’s pretty creative, most of the time when someone’s half something, they are always half human.” And he made a valid point there. The reason why my character ended up being Vulcan/Trill is because when I was creating my character in the game, I couldn’t decide which of the two species to do, so I figured, “Why not both?” and went with it. I even came up with a bit of a Biography for ingame as well.

Name and Rank: Wam Tas; Captain

Current Post: USS Kir’Shara, registry number NCC-93763 Hermes Class Fleet Patrol Escort

Biography:

She was born of a Vulcan father and a Trill mother. Due to the extenuating circumstances about her heritage, special permission by the Vulcan Science Academy and the Trill Symbiosis Commission had to be given before she was joined with a symbiont.

As a result of the joining, many members of the Trill planet became angry that a half-Trill was given a symbiont. As a result, Wam came to the logical conclusion that her presence on her home world was causing friction and decided the best course of action would be to go into self-imposed exile, which led to her eventually join Startfleet.

Yeah I’m a nerd 😛 I left out explaining to people that my character in game was joined with a symbiont. But anyway, back to the matter at hand. Once I got the screenshots, the next bit was to find a jacket pattern that had the proper seaming and whatnot. I initally found and planned on using a Kwik Sew pattern, but when I went to Joann’s to buy the pattern and fabrics, they didn’t have the pattern I had selected, so I had to sit down with the pattern books and find one. Luckily though, I quickly found a pattern by Burda, style B7140, View A. I got incredibly lucky with my shopping trip and was able to buy everything on sale; I think my total cost ended up being around $49; had it not been for the sale I would have ended up paying over $100. Armed with my Nook HD and a closed door I set to work. I spent probably the first 2-5 hours of the project measuring myself and tracing pattern pieces. Rather than cut out the tissue paper, I used Freezer paper to trace out my pieces, and I traced and made each individual piece; rather than using the ‘mirror’ copy of some of the pieces like the sleeves and whatnot. I think between the lining and the outer jacket, there was something like 31 or 33 pieces. And because the original pattern called for a peplum design, I ended up having to tape and reconfigure the jacket pattern to eliminate the peplum parts. The red outer part of the jacket was made with a woven Wool/Polyester blend specifically for suiting, while the lining was a thicker red jersey, and the white outer part of my jacket was made with a ribbed jersey knit.

After all That was done, I had to iron the freezer paper bits down and then kind of did a rough cut out of the pieces. This was immensely helpful, because I was able to write on the freezer paper to keep track of what pieces were what, and ironing the freezer paper to my fabric enabled me to cut it out with precision and not having to worry about the fabric slipping around. I didn’t do this in one fell swoop since I quickly found out that the suiting I had picked really liked to fray, so I also had to serge every. single. piece. of. fabric I had cut out. Which is what I was planning to do in the first place, because I had the foresight to realize I was going to end up having to take apart my seams quite a bit. I absolutely love my serger! And then after all of that, I finally started sewing! I took a number of progress pics to share on Facebook.

The body of the jacket all serged and sewn together.
The body of the jacket all serged and sewn together.

I ended up doing a ton of hand basting which is what the white threads are. I wanted to mimic my jacket in game as much as possible, so when I did the parallel stitching -not really sure what else to call it?- I kind of tucked the seam allowances like this:

Facsimile of my stitches.
Facsimile of my stitches.

The blue and purple is basically the fabric and the red just represents how I sewed it together. The white stitches are kind of going up and down between the two red lines just to give you an idea of what I was doing. While it’s more time consuming, hand basting in my opinion is easier and in the long run faster than machine basting, since you do have to take them out. It was just a matter of clipping off the knots and pulling on the threads.. with machine basting you have to kind of sit there with a seam ripper and it takes about 3x longer.

Front of the jacket after the inital sewing together.
Front of the jacket, stitching complete.
Back of the jacket with seaming done.
Back of the jacket with seaming done. I actually didn’t realize some of the stitching wasn’t very flat so after this picture was taken I undid some stitches and resewed the stitches; in particular the shoulder area.

With this portion complete, It was on to the bottom white trim. I had some concerns on how I was going to execute this, because appliqueing it was going to be bulky and thick, and I had realized at this point I had taken the jacket up too much which resulted in it being kind of short -which truth be told was a first-, so I knew I was going to have to add some length to it. But how? and then it struck me; look at quilting methods! I ended up using a slight variation of a quilting block called Drunkard’s Path (no affiliation with that website, by the way) which came out much better than I expected. Again, freezer paper came to my rescue for sure!

White hem added, tada!
White hem added, tada!

The next portion of the jacket that needed to be done was the white epaulets -the bits that go on the shoulders- and the white trim that goes down next to the zipper. I went and took a bunch of measurements and then utilized my compass and more freezer paper and traced and cut out and sewed the white bits. I sewed the knit onto a lightweight sew in stabilizer so I could do the ‘flip it inside out’ thing to get a nicely finished seam to not worry about unwanted seam allowances hanging out or undoing themselves later. I had initially planned just to sew it down by hand, but the result was less than pretty, so I ended up slowly sewing them down with a 1/8″ seam allowance. I did stitch the panels by sewing machine first; the epaulettes were sewn down on the flat seam, and then I machine stitched the front panels down after I did the top stitching after sewing in the facing for the neckline and behind the zipper; once I had installed the zipper I sewed down the front panels parallel to the zipper.

Speaking of the zipper, that was a pain in the butt. I had bought a 22″ zipper during my initial trip, but when I got ready to get the zipper on, I realized I had not purchased a separating zipper, and had to go back to Joann’s to buy a separating zipper. And of course, there was an issue with the not finding the right shade of red in a 22″ zipper, so I ended up buying a 16″ zipper instead. I had already planned on reshaping the neckline which went really well; I just free-handed one side and then traced it and did it to the other side. in this situation, I’m really glad I have a short torso, because it worked wonderfully. You’ll notice the jacket length goes past the end of the zipper, but since the jacket has a lining, it has to be tucked up and sewn to the lining.

ccjacket08
White trim in progress; the left white frontal trim was completely hand stitched down, and I had started on the right side. The epaulettes had only been sewn down at the flat seam and were just hanging free at this point. Note the rippling in the hand sewn front panel.

At this point after everything was sewn down, I decided I was getting burned out on the outside of the jacket and work on the lining. I was having issues with the sleeves; they weren’t fitted enough, but I was not going to be able to make any adjustments unless I had the lining put together. I ended up just serging the lining pieces together, rather than serge and sew it; it went together fairly quickly. Once it was done I was able to figure out how much to take out of the seams on the sleeves.

Seams touch seams! The 'right' side of the lining goes against your body, while the 'wrong' side goes against the inside of the jacket.
Seams touch seams! The ‘right’ side of the lining goes against your body, while the ‘wrong’ side goes against the inside of the jacket.

The last bit on the outside of the jacket was to add the cuffs, and figure out the sleeve lengths, which was mostly fairly straightforward, although I had to be careful with the cuffs so they didn’t end up wavy and rippled.

Cuffs added!
Cuffs added!

The next part was sewing the outer jacket and lining together! I did this all by hand. I started by taking the jacket, flipping it inside out and zipping it closed on the dress form. Then I flipped the lining so it was wrong side to wrong side and slipped it on over the jacket, and then used a ton of pins to keep the layers of fabric together. I started in the middle of the back of the neck and worked my way down one side, and then started at the middle of the neck and worked my way back down again.

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Hand stitching had begun!

After that, I worked on the bottom hem, and then lastly did the sleeves; and I went over the ends of the cuffs of the sleeves with white thread to prevent the sleeves from going inside out a bit everytime I put it on and took it off.

And here it is completed!

FINALLY FINISHED!
FINALLY FINISHED!

 

Of course, there was more to my costume than just the jacket. I’ll quickly go down the list of the rest of my costume and how I sourced the pieces:

Boots: I already had a pair of boots that I bought last year. They aren’t exactly ‘Starfleet issued standard’ but they were good enough.

Pants: I found a pair of high waist skinny pants at Forever 21 for about $22. I had initially bought a pair of high waisted leggings from ebay for $6, but as you can expect, they were cheap and started splitting in the crotch seam. No thanks! I realize my character has white pants on, but I’m not that brave 😛 I wanted these gorgeous high waist trousers from Asos, that had a tuxedo strip down the side, but by the time I realized I needed to replace my crappy ebay pants, they had sold out of my size.

Undershirt: As you can see in the screenshot, my uniform has a turtleneck neckline. I ended up buying a cropped sleeveless mock turtleneck from Amazon. I did this because it’s blazing hot in Utah during the first few weeks of September, and I was already wearing a wool blend jacket with a heavy jersey lining; I figured it would be best to go with something lightweight as possible to not be uncomfortably hot. I was tolerably hot instead!

Combadge with the pips before I painted it.
Combadge with the pips before I painted them.

Communicator badge: I got INCREDIBLY lucky with this. Over the course of the Star Trek series across all of them; the design of the communicator badges have changed quite a bit. In The Original Series of Star Trek, they had these flip phone looking communicators and the badges were just embroidered/sewn on patches. It wasn’t until The Next Generation and after (Deep Space Nine and Voyager) that they had combined the communicators and badges into the combadge. Interestingly enough in the prequel series Enterprise, their uniforms looked more like jumpsuits used today, and so the Starfleet insignia really wasn’t on the uniforms at all; they instead had shoulder patches. Anyway, the events of Star Trek Online actually takes place in the year 2409 and beyond; and of course, there’s a new combadge design! I wasn’t going to settle for a combadge from one of the TV series; so I ended up doing a google search, hoping to find a combadge replica from in the game; and I quickly found out that the Collector’s Edition of the game actually came with a combadge pin. I was BEYOND STOKED, and started hunting down a Collector’s Edition of the game which was tricky because the game was released in February 2010. I was worried I was going to have to pay out of the teeth for it, but luckily I was able to find a copy on Amazon for $21. Sweet.

Rank Pips: Again, this was a bit of a challenge because the pips are different in game than in any of the series; they are Rhomboids, so I needed to come up with a way to get the right shape; so I looked no further than Shapeways, which is a 3D printing service. They have this thing where you can upload a 2D image in black and white and they will basically transform it into a 3D image for you. I had it printed up in polished Aluminide, which resulted in a silvery plastic finish, and I went to Hobby Lobby and bought model paint with bitty little Q-tip looking brushes and painted the base of the combadge in a red that matched my jacket and the top raised part of the pips were painted in a gold. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it looked close enough since they were pinned on opposite sides of my jacket.

Pip Pin has been painted!
Pips Pin has been painted!

The Ears: Oh man.. this was probably the most difficult part of my costume. I did a ton of research and went with the second most expensive option; I ordered them custom painted from a company that specializes in special effects prosthesis as well as medical prosthesis. Between the ear tips themselves, the custom realistic painting job that they did -and included my ear freckle that’s present on my left ear- the adhesive and remover and shipping, the cost came close to $100. But they were totally worth it. I got so many compliments on the quality and how realistic they were. It helped that I had gotten my hair cut the week before Comic con and got bangs, which I was able to use to disguise th seaming between my real ears and the tips. I ended up having to spend close to 3 hours trimming the ears for them to sit right with my hearing aids, but the end result ended up looking awesome. I did chat with someone there who told us that she and her husband actually make prosthetics as well, and so if I decide I want to be hardcore, I can probably contact her and her husband to have them cast and make a pair based on my own ears and not someone else’s.

Phaser: I just found a seller on ebay that was selling phasers as a costume prop; it’s from the TNG era. I had grand visions of repainting and modding a nerf gun to make a phaser rifle, but I ended up running out of time -and truthfully motivation- to do so. Luckily, since The Next Generation takes place only.. 30-40 years previous to the game, the design hadn’t changed too much.

Here are some pictures of me in costume.

Closeup of my makeup and top part of the costume. Notice I got bangs, and how I'm using them to strategically cover the seaming on my ears.
Closeup of my makeup and top part of the costume. Notice I got bangs, and how I’m using them to strategically cover the seaming on my ears.

And a picture of me standing in full costume.

"Live Long and Prosper." Notice how I can do this with both hands?
“Live Long and Prosper.” Notice how I can do this with both hands?

I forgot to mention but the thing hanging off my waist is a holster/cellphone holder I made to be able to carry around my phone and phaser, since my costume does not have any pockets.

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