Sewing the Star Trek Next Generation men’s uniform jacket
My darling husband thought I needed a challenge (he is completely unaware that living with him can be challenging enough) and asked if I could make star trek top.
Having seen a few I was thinking something fairly simple like the t-shirt type fancy dress costume below:
So, of course, I said I would.
Little did I know that what he meant was a full blown, fitted, lined, jacket with shoulder pads something like he had seen on the Anovos website
The pattern arrived at around Christmas time and I had a brief look at it, panicked and quickly put the pattern back in the envelope.
With the onset of Spring, I could put the challenge off no longer though and had to make a start.
After much head scratching and more huffs and puffs than the magic dragon, I ended up with this:
The first thing I learnt with this project is that the pattern has very limited instructions, no finished size measurements, a fairly mixed review on line, and very few tutorials to help. It seemed, therefore that I would need to fumble along and see what happened. I started by making a trail piece of the outer jacket only.
My first , trial piece was the large size which pulled a little across the chest. The extra large however fitted really well.
Large size: measured from side seam to side seam under the arm: 23.5
XL size: Measured from side seam to side seam under the arm: 25.5″
So, with the trial piece not being a complete failure, I took the plunge and ordered the supplies needed to make the ‘real’ version.
This blog is to help anyone who might be ‘boldly’ following the pattern for the Star Trek Next Generation men’s uniform jacket. It may not include all points and you may still be left scratching your head a little wondering how to put the many pieces together. If so, please feel free to contact me and I am happy to help where I can on more specific details. I am also happy to take commissions subject to fabric and time availability.
|Fabric / notions||Meters / amount needed||Sourced from||Cost ex. p&p|
|Super spandex||I only purchased half a meter of this fabric||Funki Fabrics||£7.00|
|Invisible thread||Small reel of Gutermann Sulky Invisible 200M 1001 clear (although not completely necessary)||Crafty Trading||£2.50|
|Lining fabric||1.5m Premium Anti Static Lining Fabric Black||Minerva Craft||£4.49|
|2″ wide elastic||1m 50mm Flat Value Elastic Black||Minerva Craft||£1.19|
|Shoulder pads||Milward Raglan Shoulder Pads Black – pair||Minerva Craft||£3.32|
|Piping||1m 10mm Atelier Brunette Stardust Piping Amarante||Minerva Craft||£1.49|
|Open end zip||One nylon open end coat zips 60cm Burgundy||Minerva Craft||£2.29|
|Wool gaberdine in division colour||1.5m /1.5 yards||Minerva Craft||£23.98|
|Wool gaberdine in black||1.5m / 1.5 yards||Minerva Craft||£23.98|
Cutting the pattern and sizing
The pattern is hand drawn on A0 paper and has the following markings:
- Coded lines for small, medium, large and extra large but no indication of finished size;
- Each piece only has an indication as to if pieces are to be cut with fabric side up but is silent as to if double pieces should be cut with fabric right sides together and which way the grain should be running.
In addition to this, the pattern only came with written instructions. Pictures are always useful to confirm that you are reading the instructions correctly.
Some points that may help when cutting the pattern:
- DO NOT try and iron the pattern pieces flat. The ink runs. I cut mine out roughly so that all sizes were in tact. I then taped one pattern piece to my cutting table before using Swedish tracing paper to create my pattern pieces to work from;
- Unless otherwise stated on the pattern pieces, I applied the general rule of folding the fabric selvedge to selvedge right sides together and cut pieces with the grainline running top to bottom along the pattern piece;
- Pieces that only needed one piece, I cut with the fabric and pattern both right side up and with the grainline running from top to bottom. The only exception to this was for pieces cut on the fold where the fabric was folded with right sides together.
Making the jacket
It should be noted that I have not gone into depth when writing this blog but have simply highlighted where I had problems or where I adapted the instructions a little bit.
I found the pictures on Anovos helpful (not being a Star Trek fan) and a blog on Taptalk .
The main body
Point 2 – front piece A and E
Line up the two pieces so that the notch on the black piece sits along the left side of the red piece leaving a little red triangle showing at the very bottom left. When you sew using the seam allowance then fold the piece right side up you will see how the fabric aligns.
You will only be able to sew one side at a time. Before you start pin the fabric to one edge. With the fabric laying top to bottom and starting at the centre V raw edge mark a point 3/8″ vertically from this raw edge point. Sew from the bottom raw edge (in this picture) to the point but not past it. Snip from the bottom of the V to the stitches but not into them. You will then be able to adjust the fabric to allow you to continue attaching the pieces together.
The front piece should now look like this with a wide straight section at the top of the piece and the black fabric sewn to the bottom of the piece. I folded the seams to the toward the top of the piece before top stitching. I felt this gave a better finished and helped the pieces lay flat.
Point 3 – front side pieces V
Place side pieces right sides together on front piece A. Make sure to line up the notches carefully as there is a gentle curve as you reach the top of the piece. You can see at the top of the picture how I have added more pins and the fabric is pulling a bit.
To help ease the fabric around the curve, clip into the seam allowance before pressing the entire seam flat.
Point 4 – front yoke piece I
Make sure that notches are matched and the sides of the bottom outer corners of the yoke meet with the point of the side pieces V. I pressed the seems toward the bottom of the piece before top stitching again.
Points 5 – 8 – back pieces K, C, L, B, G,and H
I didn’t take any pictures of this as the sewing techniques are similar to the front. You are aiming for the back to look like the picture below:
The tricky bit is making sure you place the small pieces C and B correctly at the bottom edge of the back piece.
To help, make sure you the mark the notches as you cut the fabric and ensure that you mark the right and wrong side of the fabric. Always remember the golden rule of sewing pieces right sides together and matching notches. The information is there to help you to sew the pieces on correctly.
When you have attached pieces C and B, press the seem allowance towards the neckline and top stitch the seam.
The side pieces are sewn on in a similar way to the front. Press the seems open and snip into the seam allowance on any curves.
When attaching the neckline, again, match the notches. When placing the yoke make sure that the edge that is straight and has a curve at the top lines to the centre back side and not the armhole side. Press the seems towards the bottom of the piece and top stitch.
Point 9 – sewing front and back together
You are joining the side seems and the shoulders.
Points 10 -12 piece D, N, R and M
Like the lower back piece, this is tricky to get the orientation right. Again, follow the principles of right sides together and matching up notches and you should get the placement looking like the pictures. You will know if you get it wrong as when you try to insert the arm you will have way too much fabric to ease in If in doubt though, tack the pieces together before sewing them.
Point 13 – sewing inset sleeves
The trickiest part is always setting in sleeves. You Tube will help. I quite like Professor Pincushion for technical tutorials. One thing you will need to note is that the central point of the under arm piece is not the seam and you won’t be able to match this with the side seam. I have added some pictures below which might help, along with some additional pointers.
Be clear as to which is the front and which is the back of the arm hole. You will see in the picture that the back has two notches and the front has one. This will correspond to the sleeve. Generally speaking all notches will match, however, this is not the case here. You will only be matching the back notches. The pin in the picture marks the centre underarm which needs to line with the side seam of the body.
The you tube video I suggested above shows how to gather sleeves to ease them in. I prefer marking points and using clips to hold the fabric. First of all, make sure that at your sewing line, the shoulder seam matches exactly along with the two seams either side of this. You can see at the top of the picture where I have the three pins. It is imperative that these match as closely as possible as this is integral to the finished design. Next, you can pin the under arm centre point. Clip the back sleeve at and matching the double notches. Then, moving toward the under arm from double notch to single notch (the under arm seam will match here) simply clip pieces into place. The remaining parts of the sleeve need to be gently eased into the body by either gathering or manipulating the fabric. Remember though that you are easing, not gathering. There should be no tucks showing on the outer part of the piece.
Point 14 – 15 – attaching the collar piece O and P
This is fiddly but really needs to be done well.
Before you do anything, stay stitch the neckline of the main garment. Necklines, by default are cut on the bias and therefore are prone to stretching when sewing. Click the link for a tutorial on stay stitching.
The pattern suggests interfacing the outer collar pieces with Pellon. Pellon is simply a trade name for interfacing. You do need to use interfacing to give the collar some structure. I used medium weight iron on interfacing which was perfectly okay, although I could have used a firm weight too to add even more structure and stability. When applying interfacing, always follow the instructions provided with the product. You need to be really careful to not burn the fabric, yet use enough heat to fuse the fabric and the interfacing together. For additional information on interfacing click on the link.
To attach the piping, pin the raw edge of the piping the the raw edge top edge of the collar outer. Leave about an inch of piping free at each end. Using a zipper foot baste the piping into place. The picture above shows how the ridge in my machine foot sits over the raised piping cord. I also tend to not use pins for this. Once you have attached the piping place the lining piece, right sides together with the outer piece and sandwiching the cord before sewing all three bits together. Ensure you sew and back stitch the centre point of the collar pieces.
When attaching the collar at the front centre neckline you almost need to overlap the pieces. Make sure when sewing each side of the collar in place the raw edges start at the front centre, notches are matched and you are precise with your seam allowances. Leaving some extra piping means you don’t trim too close to the corner and leave visible frayed piping. When you are happy with the placement of the collar, press seem allowance down and away from the collar. You can trim the piping down to be concealed in the lining when you sew that in later.
Normally I would under stitch a collar. In this case though, I top stitched the seem allowance in place to stop the collar rolling.
The waist band
Points 17 – 18 – attaching the waistband piece F
The pattern suggests that you simply wrap the waistband around the elastic and sew. If you are confident you can do this but I would suggest taking this in stages.
The first thing to do is to consider the direction of the stretch of your fabric. Mine was a 4 way stretch so as long as I didn’t cut on the bias then I could cut along the width or the length. If you have just a two way stretch fabric you will need to make sure that the stretch is along the length of the band not the depth as you want it to stretch going around your waist.
If you have a mat or shiny side to your fabric you will also need to make sure that the mat side is used as the right side of the fabric.
You will note that the waistband is shorter than the lower edge of the jacket. To make sure that the waistband is evenly distributed around the jacket, mark equal points on the waistband, i.e. centre point and quarter point – mark both the top and bottom of the band. Mark the centre and quarter point on the jacket and then match your markings. The waistband can then be stretched into the jacket before you clip into place and sew within the seam allowance using a narrow long zig zag stitch. Try and keep the markings on the waistband in place. Note that you have not folded the waistband in half along the length yet and pieces are right sides together.
Now fold the band only in half length wise, right sides out this time. Match the raw edge inside the jacket and also the top and bottom markings on the waistband, thus ensuring the fabric is not being pulled out of line. Pin in place and if you are happy sew using narrow zig-zag stitch on a slightly shorter length on the seam allowance line.
Waistband sewn on, you can now feed the elastic through and secure each of the ends using an overlock, zig zag or elastic stitch on the short edges of the band.
Sewing in the zip
Like the waistband, it is not as easy as simply sewing in the zip, mostly because it is important to make sure that the black parts need to appear continues despite having a zip in the middle.
This is how I did it, although there are probably easier ways.
When you are happy that the zip is sewn in correctly and sections are in line along the back, fold the zip back in on itself. Lightly press and top stitch along the length of the zip to help keep the fabric away from the zip teeth.
The waist band flap
Point 20 and 21 – piece J
The instructions are fairly detailed for such a small part. The only thing I would add to this is at point 21. When the flap is folded over to cover the zip pull rather than simply press, top stitch as well. This will keep the flap facing the direction you want it to go as well as concealing the raw edge. I would also hold on sewing on the snaps, and the hooks (point 22) until right at the very end.
The only comment here is that you might want to trim some excess fabric if you have short arms. Make sure to press the sleeves the length you want them which will give you a line to follow and then trim about 1″ below this line toward the raw edge. I would also be inclined to overlock or zig zag the raw edges around the cuff.
Making the lining
Points 22 -28 and pattern pieces Q,R,S,T and U
This part really is the easy bit. If you have managed to sew the outer jacket the lining is a breeze! Enjoy it as ahead of you there is much hand stitching.
A few points that may help:
- If you are using a proper shiny lining fabric, try using a walking or teflon foot (picture below). This will help the fabric glide through your machine much more easily;
- Overlock or zig zag raw edges on lining fabric. It likes to fall to pieces as you sew;
- Finally, when the lining has been fully constructed, gently press under the width of the seam allowance around the collar, down both back edges and all the way around the bottom. This will give a guidance line when hand sewing the fabric.
The last bit!
Before you sew in the lining you need to attach your shoulder pads. There are no instructions for this in the pattern at all and they do make a difference. Placement of the pads is personal choice, along with securing them. I had hook and loop tape on mine so I took the free strip and sewed it on the seam allowance fabric of the outer jacket. I then attached the other part of the pad to the tape and secured in place by sewing three small holding stitching in the seam of the outer jacket.
You then need to slip stitch the lining into the outer jacket. The jacket will be right sides out and the lining is then inserted into the jacket so wrong sides are together. You do need to be careful to not twist the fabric so match at known corresponding points such as notches, seems and centre points.
Using your folded line on the lining you can then sew the lining into the neckline first and then the bottom of the jacket covering the collar and jacket seams. I did find on this that my lining collar was longer than my jacket collar. In this instance at the centre I inserted a small pleat to ‘loose’ a few millimetres. You will then be able to ease the lining into the back side seams to cover the zip stitching before slip stitching in place.
Remember to check that the lining is not pulling the outer jacket out of place as you slip stitch.
At the wrist, mark the length you want the sleeve to be either by folding and pressing or pinning. Cut the fabrics one inch longer than needed and overlock the raw edges before turning up the outer sleeve at the marked line. Fold the lining about 1/4″ shorter that the outer sleeve and slip stitch in place.
All you need to do now is sew the snap fasteners / poppers onto the flap and the hook and eye at the gap on the neckline. I did only use one hook and eye at the neckline as I felt that was all I needed.
Hope this helps anyone trying to make the STNG jacket – A final note: if you sit down in the jacket and find yourself doing “the Picard Maneuver” – you know you have done a fantastic job!
Sarah & Ripley xx