I will fully admit that I am a Star Wars girl. I vaguely remember my parents watching Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was a kid, but I've never really watched any of the iterations of the show on my own. Until a few months ago, that is. On the advice of a friend, I marathoned the first season of the original series and completely loved it. I reference it in casual conversation and find myself watching this scene from The Cable Guy over and over again:
I knew I wanted to make the classic tunic for Halloween (confession: I just wanted to wear it around the house). Regular readers of this blog know that I am NOT a pattern maker. The thought of taking all of my measurements and committing them to paper makes me feel physically ill. Commercial patterns seem ridiculously complicated to me--on an intellectual level I know they aren't, but pulling all of those thin little pieces of tissue paper from the envelope makes me kind of sweaty and nervous.
Materials and Tools:
1 1/2 - 2 yards of stretch knit fabric (I used a poly rayon blend in a cherry red color. I only needed 1 1/2 yards, but I am only 5' 2")
1/8 yard stretch black fabric
Gold lame (enough for a patch)
Gold trim (I used almost a yard to put one Lt. stripe on each sleeve cuff)
Thread to match main fabric color
Black puff paint or black thread for zigzag stitching
Long-sleeved t-shirt that fits well to use as a pattern for tunic
Bathing suit bottom or underwear to use as a pattern for briefs
First I doubled my fabric with enough overlap to cut out the body of the tunic. I used my t-shirt as a pattern, leaving about a 1/4" allowance around. I followed the seam where the sleeves are inset. This provided basically one half of a tank top. Using that piece as a pattern, I cut a second one. This gave me a front and back.
Placing right sides together, I sewed the side seams and the shoulders with a 1/4" seam allowance. Once the tank top was sewn together, I cut the neckline with a slight scoop (I used stills from the show as a reference).
Through trial and--admittedly--some error, I placed darts at the bustline from the sleeves and from the bustline straight down to the waist. While wearing the tank, I marked with chalk where the gaps at the sleeve hole were. It was too loose on my waist area, so I created darts there as well. I ended up extending the vertical darts all the way up to the shoulders, but that was really for looks.
I sewed the long seam of each sleeve then set them into the body. With the tank top and the sleeve both inside out, I pinned the sleeve to the arm opening in the tank. When I sew this seam, I always start in the armpit because if there's any bunchiness or imperfection when I am finished I'd rather it be in the pit than on top of my shoulder.
For the skirt, I basically cut two long rectangles. The rectangles were scientifically measured as follows: Half the bottom circumference of the tank top + 3 inches. The bottom halves of the Star Trek tunics are almost like wrap skirts (or skorts!), so the 3 inches on each end gave ample fabric for overlap.
Sew around the bottom with a generous 1/4" seam allowance. Try on your tunic. I ended up taking in the sides because it flared a bit too much for me. Then I marked the skirt for desired length. I like how short Lt. Uhura's tunic is (she's always flashing a bit of briefs underneath her uniform), so I cut mine pretty short.
To finish the tunic, I hemmed the bottom edges of the skirt rectangles and the cuffs of the sleeves. I sewed gold trim around each cuff. For the neckline, I love the asymmetrical trim in the tunics from the series. This is a double bonus because you don't have to be particular when you sew the black trim on. I made it narrower at the shoulders and thicker in the front with the thickest part over my left boob. I cut a badge out of gold lame, stitched it to the tunic, then outlined it with black puff paint. I also painted on the support staff decal in the center of the badge.