I absolutely adore the new Trek reboot style and so I decided that I wanted to make Uhura's red communications officer uniform. Several people were instrumental in helping me: Laughing Magpie on LJ, a family friend who helped me print the fabric, the guys over at StarFleet 1701st (Steve and Mike Paugh especially), and Joe of course! I made this from late 2009 through almost all of 2010, (finishing up in time for DragonCon 2010) and prior to Anovos' release of the licensed replicas. So now I'm slowly going back and correcting problems here and there. ^^
My research continued through the whole process cause I was getting new info on the daily...so I would go back and fix things, etc. So after I had drafted my pattern (using screen caps, Laughing Magpie, and the Uhura Barbie) and made alts to my mockup it was time to deal with the print on the fabric. I knew from the very beginning that the fabric was going to be the hardest part to the whole thing...I also knew that has kept a lot of other people from making their own fan versions. The guys over at the StarFleet 1701st and LaughingMagpie were really awesome in keeping me encouraged through the process...cause it got hard. ^^ And Mike Paugh was amazing and sent me a Rittenhouse card to fabric match. I used the same fabrics as LaughingMagpie: Jumbo Spandex custom dyed with acid dye in a vat for the vibrant red and cotton spandex for the body suit (Thanks again Joe ^^).
Here's my fabric before printing...
I got as much info on the process used for the film as I could (I believe screen printing with fabric dye is what everyone agreed on) and then started trying to teach myself. It was somewhat successful. lol. Laughing Magpie was able to partner with a professional screen printer artist and had amazing results. I unfortunately could never find one in my area to help me with my project, so I started by myself. I started out by making my own screening frame that was large enough for my pattern pieces (so I didn't have to worry with registration). The problem with this whole thing was that you can not screen with traditional screening ink (which is like paint) on super stretch fabric...because the screening ink sits on top of the fabric and will crack when stretched. So that means it needs to be screened in a medium that will sink into the fibers and stretch with the fabric. The next problem is that the dye I wanted to use has the consistency of water, so it has to be thickened to work like screening ink. You can buy thickeners for paints, inks, and dyes at art supply stores. Getting all the ratios for the dye, dye chemicals, thickeners, etc just so was really hard. I never quite got it all right in the color I needed. In the middle of trying to get the real method to work and accidentally ran into a opportunity to try something different.
A family friend that owns a sign printing business suggested that we both try to print the fabric using a UV wide format printer. After some struggling with setup...it worked. And I was amazed! It did not come out as sharp as I wanted, but it was as close as I was going to get at the time. I still want to go back and practice with the screening method when I find time...whenever that will be. lol.
Here's the printer in action...
...And the finished printed fabric...
The gals over on Laughing Magpie's Live Journal figured out the best way to do the Hong Kong seam finishes...which wasn't nearly as hard as it looks. ^^
My boots are the DIA boots from the same line of DKNY motorcycle boots. My earrings are also the same as the film used. The badges are QMX and the phaser is the QMX stunt replica.
Here's my original WIP thread over at the StarFleet 1701st: Uhura/Female Short Sleeve Pattern in ST09 (Star Trek 2009 Movie) Forum
And my RPF thread: http://www.therpf.com/f24/star-trek-2009-uhura-135123/