January 26, 2018

Screen-used TNG skant documentation

As I mentioned in my TNG skant analysis, thanks to Steve Barnes, I recently had the opportunity to examine an original, screen-used women's TNG skant.

TNG skant


And now, as a supplement to the costume analysis, I'd like to give you a sort of "virtual tour" of it, as well - paying it forward, as it were!

This thing was just so freaking weird, it has to be seen to be believed.


You've already seen some of these photos in the actual TNG skant analysis, but whereas that was about the TNG skants in general (their role in the show and general construction), this is a far more detailed look at this particular TNG skant, specifically. 

So settle in; this is a longer blog post than usual, with lots of photos, but I hope you'll find it enjoyable, and as illuminating as I did when I examined it!


Fabric

The first thing that struck me about the skant was how bloody orange it was - especially considering how green-ish gold they looked during The Next Generation's first season, when they were primarily seen. 

(And, as you'll see, the flash on my camera really brought out the orange in the fabric! I tried to avoid using flash whenever possible.) 

In fact, Kate and I have a friend who comes over every week or so to watch Star Trek. She does both alterations for a living and costuming/cosplaying as a hobby, so she works with a lot of fabric, too, and she had was similarly stunned. 

Michael Cowart, who owns screen-used swatches of gold jumbo spandex from uniforms worn both by Data and Chief O'Brien, was gracious enough to provide me with the opportunity to do a color comparison between those swatches and Steve Barnes' screen-used gold TNG skant. 

Interestingly, the gold Data and O'Brien swatches were already different colors, with the O'Brien swatch being a bit more orange, and the Data swatch being a bit shinier. 

But compared to Steve Barnes' screen-used gold TNG skant ... well, the color difference was practically shocking.

Here's a serious of comparison photos I took, under different lighting situations:

TNG skant - gold fabric color range
Outside, no flash
TNG skant - gold fabric color range
Indoors, with flash
TNG skant - gold fabric color range
Indoors, no flash


The color difference between the Data swatch and the TNG skant was enormous. 

TNG skant - gold fabric color comparison
TNG skant - gold fabric color comparison
Outside, no flash


The O'Brien swatch was a bit closer, but still a far cry from the TNG skant.

TNG skant - gold fabric color comparison
TNG skant - gold fabric color comparison
Outside, no flash


The next thing I noticed was that the division-colored neckline/yoke piping wasn't jumbo spandex, shiny-side-out, as I'd originally thought, but a different fabric entirely!

Furthermore, it didn't quite match the gold jumbo spandex used for the body of the skant!

TNG skant - fabrics
TNG skant - fabrics


It was difficult to determine with only a sliver of the fabric available for observation, but it appears to have been a different, lighter-weight spandex, cut on the bias/diagonal.


Interestingly, while neither swatch was a close match to the screen-used TNG skant, both swatches were much closer to the color of the neckline and yoke piping on the skant!

TNG skant - gold fabric color range
Indoors, with flash
TNG skant - gold fabric color range
Indoors, no flash


Here's a three-way color comparison with each swatch, the neckline trim, and the skant body.

TNG skant - gold fabric color comparison
Outdoors, no flash
TNG skant - gold fabric color comparison
Outdoors, no flash


I did my best to color-match some thread to both "gold" fabrics. 

For the body of the skant, G├╝termann #561 was a very close match.

TNG skant - gold fabric color
Outdoors, no flash
TNG skant - gold fabric color
Indoors, with flash


For the division-colored yoke/neckline piping, I wasn't able to find a very close match, but G├╝termann #875 was the closest that I found.

TNG skant - gold fabric color
Outdoors, no flash
TNG skant - gold fabric color
Indoors, with flash


Here's what they look like, together.

TNG skant - gold fabric color
Outdoors, no flash


Exterior Dimensions and Construction

After all the color shenanigans, I grabbed my measuring tape and began the process of documenting the skant's dimensions and construction, generally working from the top down; front, then back; outside, then inside. 

The neckline was only 4 ¾" from edge to edge, at its widest.

TNG skant - neckline


Both the neckline and yoke piping were precisely 3/16" wide.

TNG skant - neckline trim
TNG skant - front yoke piping


At the center front, the yoke was about 1 ⅛" deep (including the neckline trim).

TNG skant - front yoke


Measured from the neckline end of the shoulder seam, the front yoke was 4 ¼" deep.

TNG skant - front yoke
TNG skant - front yoke


The front yoke extended onto the upper sleeve approximately 4 ½".

TNG skant - front yoke
TNG skant - front yoke


Here's the interesting thing, though: using the horizontal "weave" of the jumbo spandex as a guide, one can observe that the lower edge of the front yoke wasn't cut straight, but it curved downward away from center!

The front yoke curved downward about ½" from center front to armscye.

TNG skant - front yoke


It continued to slightly curve onto the sleeve, although the sleeve actually curved outward, which is part of what gives those sleeves their "bell" shape.

TNG skant - front yoke
TNG skant - front sleeve


The back yoke was 3 ⅛" deep at the center back, including the neckline trim.

TNG skant - back yoke
TNG skant - back yoke


Here's the dimensional breakdown of the back yoke: slightly over 1 ⅛" upper yoke, 3/16" yoke piping, and approximately 1 ½" lower yoke.

TNG skant - back yoke
TNG skant - back yoke piping
TNG skant - back yoke


The back yoke also curved downward away from center; like the front, it curved downward ½" from center to armscye.

TNG skant - back yoke
TNG skant - back yoke


It also continued to slightly curve onto the sleeve, although the back sleeve's upper edge also curved outward.

TNG skant - back yoke
TNG skant - back yoke


The outer sleeves were 2" long, measured from the lower, outer corner of the yoke to the hem fold.

TNG skant - sleeves
TNG skant - sleeves


The under-sleeve seam was also 2" long, measured from the upper armscye seam to the hem fold.

TNG skant - sleeves
TNG skant - sleeves


The skant's front panel was 29" long at the center front, measured from the bottom of the yoke to the hem fold.

TNG skant - length
TNG skant - length


The back panel was also 29" long at the center back, measured from the bottom of the yoke to the hem fold.

TNG skant - length
TNG skant - length


The upper edge of the front panel was curved similarly to the lower edge of the yoke, although it was curved a bit more - ¾" from center front to armscye.

TNG skant - front panel
TNG skant - front panel


I think this additional curve allowed the seam line to also function as a dart, causing the skant to hug the body a bit tighter above the bust. 


The upper edge of the back panel was even more curved - a full inch from center back to armscye!

TNG skant - back panel


This was probably to accommodate the shoulder blades. (Think about how on tailored garments like suits, the back armscye is usually "shrunk" a bit outside the shoulder blades.)


The front panel was hourglass-shaped. Its upper edge was 12 ½" from corner to corner, tapering down to 8 ½" wide at the waist, and back out to 11 ½" at the bottom.

TNG skant - front panel
TNG skant - front panel
TNG skant - front panel


The back panel's hourglass-shape was also a bit more pronounced; the back dimensions were very close to those of the front, but it had a slightly more extreme taper, going from 12 ½" wide at the top to 8" at the waist, then widening again to 11 ½" at the bottom.

TNG skant - back panel
TNG skant - back panel
TNG skant - back panel


My guess would be that this additional tapering was to help fit the wearer's back, when there was no center back seam - again, with the seams also functioning as fitting darts.


Curiously, the skant was slightly longer on the left side than the right.

The left side seam was 23 ½" long, measured from the armscye seam to the hem fold.
TNG skant - side seams
However, the right side seam was only 23" long.
TNG skant - side seams

I'm really not sure why that is, or to what degree it was intentional.


In any event, the side panels themselves had a slight hourglass-shape to them; there were no bust darts, so the additional fullness was incorporated into the side panels.

TNG skant - boobies!


The side panels tapered inward toward the waist.

TNG skant - side panels
Side front waist
TNG skant - side panels
Side back waist


Beneath that, the side panels flared outward considerably, resulting in the full "skirt" that gave the lower portion of the skant its bell-shape.

TNG skant - side panels
Lower side front
TNG skant - side panels
Lower side back


On this particular skant, the vent was 12" tall on the front panel, but the side panel was slightly shorter, with the vent only being about 11 ¼" tall.

TNG skant - front vent
Vent - center front panel
TNG skant - front vent
Vent - side front panel


The back vent was a bit shorter than the front, although the center back panel was, again, a bit longer than the side panel (11" and just shy of 10 ½", respectively).

TNG skant - back vent
Vent - center back panel
TNG skant - back vent
Vent - side back panel


Now here's where things start to get weird ... 

Looking at the lower front from the exterior, it looks pretty straightforward, right?

TNG skant - lower front


Lift the vent, though, and you get a peek at the skant's interior construction!

TNG skant - lower front interior



Pulling the side as far out of the way as I can, you can see what appears to be a slightly K-shaped assembly, the upper corner of which was fastened to the side seam allowances.

TNG skant - lower front interior


The fabric directly beneath the vent was part of the side panel, cut-on as a single piece, but there's a separate, sort of triangular piece attached to it, the outer corner of which was sewn to the opposite side seam at the waist.

TNG skant - lower front interior


I refer to this piece as the "interior waist anchor," and we'll take a look at the interior construction shortly.


The bottom of the side front panel measured just over 14", from the side seam to the edge of the front leg strap.

TNG skant - lower front interior


Also, note that the lower edges of the skant's side panels weren't cut straight (horizontally or otherwise); just look at that graceful curve!

TNG skant - lower front interior


Closure System

Before we move on to the TNG skant's interior construction, I'll walk you through the bizarre unfastening process. 

On the underside of the center front was, unsurprisingly, a pair of hook-and-eye closures.

TNG skant - zippers and closures


There was also an invisible zipper, horizontally positioned along the right yoke/body seam allowance and extending past the center front a couple inches, where the upper side of the zipper tape was left hanging free. The zipper pull was hidden underneath the yoke and the lower zipper tape fastened down to the seam allowance.

TNG skant - zippers and closures


To start, one must undo the front hook-and-eye closures.

TNG skant - zippers and closures


Then the upper, horizontal zipper is unzipped away from center.

TNG skant - zippers and closures


Note that the zipper actually overhangs the yoke/body seam by a few inches on both ends!

The zipper extended 2" past the center front, and about 3 ¼" past the outer corner of the front panel. On the outer end, about 1 ¼" from said corner, the end of the zipper was secured with a bar tack.

The zipper was about 11 ¾" long, total.

TNG skant - zippers and closures
TNG skant - zippers and closures
TNG skant - zippers and closures


That's not all, though - now there's room for the head to go through the neck hole, but what about the torso?!?

Well, in that upper right (photo left) intersection of seam lines was another pair of hook-and-eye closures which must be undone. (This particular TNG skant had thread "eyes," rather than metal ones.) 

TNG skant - zippers and closures


The underside of the seam allowance to which the second pair of hook-and-eye closures was attached was reinforced - perhaps with silk organza, or a fusible interfacing long since detached?

TNG skant - zipper interfacing
TNG skant - zipper interfacing


Beneath that second pair of hook-and-eye closures was another invisible zipper, this one vertical, running down the front/side panel seam from the yoke to the lower vent.

TNG skant - zippers and closures


That upper side seam allowance was also tacked onto the armscye seam allowance by hand, to stabilize the area and keep the hook-and-eye closures from pulling outward. 


The top of this zipper was left hanging free, as well, and it extended a couple inches past the top of the seam.

TNG skant - zippers and closures
TNG skant - zippers and closures


Unzip that second zipper, and the skant is ready to be donned! 


(Because, of course. How else would you get in and out of this thing?!?)

TNG skant - unzipped


This second zipper was 18" long, measured from the top of the vent to the top of the zipper.

TNG skant - zippers and closures
TNG skant - zippers and closures


However, this second, vertical zipper extended downward past bottom of the opening a bit, as you'll see shortly.


Interior Construction

The neckline piping was simply folded in half, sewn onto the skant's neckline, and turned under; there wasn't a "yoke facing" or anything comparable on the underside of the yoke.

TNG skant - neckline trim


Note the catch-stitching on the underside of the neckline trim, securing it to the underside of the yoke - although, curiously, this was done in division-colored thread, rather than black. (I mean, the color-match looks good on the interior neckline, sure, but while the stitching would ideally be invisible on the outside of the garment, why risk having little pinpricks of gold thread around the black yoke's neckline?)


Also curious was that the neckline trim seam allowance appears to have been ½" along the back, but closer to ⅜" around the front.

TNG skant - neckline trim
TNG skant - neckline trim


Perhaps it was originally larger - say, ⅝" - and unevenly trimmed down before being hand-sewn?

Upon turning the skant inside-out, one of the most immediately striking things (other than its bizarre lower construction, which we'll get to shortly) was the shoulder pads. These things were enormous.

TNG skant - shoulder pads


Actually, although they had a large surface area, there was only a slight amount of loft to them. 

These raglan-style shoulder pads appear to have been custom-made, with a dart sewn into them to give them that rounded shape. They appear to have been cut out of black lining, with cotton batting as padding, stitched twice around the perimeter, and edges trimmed with pinking shears.

TNG skant - shoulder pads


These pads were approximately 7 ½" by 6 ½" and ovular in shape.

TNG skant - shoulder pads
TNG skant - shoulder pads


The dart in the shoulder pad was approximately 3 ¼" long.

TNG skant - shoulder pads


The finished pads were hand-sewn to the shoulder seam allowances.

Curiously, though, the right shoulder pad was positioned approximately 1 ⅞" from the inner edge of the neckline trim, while the left shoulder pad was positioned only 1 ½" inside of it.

TNG skant - shoulder pads
TNG skant - shoulder pads


The upper/lower yoke seam allowances were ⅜" and pressed upward.

TNG skant - front yoke
TNG skant - front yoke


However, the yoke piping seam allowances were trimmed down to ⅛".

TNG skant - front yoke


The front yoke/body seam allowances were ⅜" and pressed open. 

TNG skant - front yoke


Also note the reinforcement stitching over the upper zipper. 

TNG skant - front yoke


The back yoke/body seam allowances, however, were pressed upward.

TNG skant - back yoke


The tag was white twill tape (presumably cotton) and sewn to the yoke/yoke piping seam allowances. 

I don't know what "402" means, although it's probably something production-related. 

"36," though, appears to have indicated the size, since this particular skant has a 36" bust. (I measured.)

However, as I mentioned, this is a women's skant, and as you may be aware, women's sizes are typically numbered with a weird "0-24+" system that seems to have no direct relevance to the actual size of the garment or the wearer, while men's sizes are usually "34-52+" and are based on the chest measurement. (In other words, a men's size 42 indicates a 42" chest, while a women's size 14 represents ... well, something different to everybody, I guess.) 

This implies that a ladies' numerical sizing system with direct relevance to the size of the garment and/or wearer was common practice for The Next Generation, at least at the beginning, and I, for one, applaud the adoption of a system that actually makes discernible sense!


The side zipper was also supported with additional rows of reinforcement stitching.

TNG skant - zipper seam allowance


Oddly, though, two of the rows of reinforcement stitching were made along the uppermost and lowermost few inches, but not the middle! One wonders why the original costumer/seamstress didn't simply start at one end of the zipper and go all the way to the other end with the stitching.

TNG skant - zipper seam allowance
TNG skant - zipper seam allowance
TNG skant - zipper seam allowance


Amusingly, the front zipper/seam allowance was a bit wonky; sewing a curved seam to a straight(-ish) seam like that can be tricky - even more so on spandex! Installing a zipper over a seam of this shape on spandex can be quite frustrating (trust me); apparently the original costumer/seamstress had a hard time with it, too, and straightened out the seam a bit to make it easier.

TNG skant - zipper seam allowance


With the skant inside-out, the lower interior construction is more easily observable.

TNG skant - lower front interior


The lower front panel and "interior waist anchor" extended upward past the top of the vent by about 4".

TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior


The vertical zipper extended downward about 1" past the top of the vent, and the zipper tape was secured with a bar tack (presumably for extra security, since the zipper shouldn't be able to open below the vent, anyway).

TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior


Since the vertical zipper extended downward into the lower side panel, and this panel was cut as a single piece, a slit had to be cut into it to accommodate the zipper.

TNG skant - lower front interior


This meant that there was very limited seam allowance available toward the bottom! Observe how the right side front seam allowance tapered down from about ½" to a mere ¼" along the lowermost few inches of the zipper.

TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior


You may have also noticed the twin rows of black stitching, barely visible on the underside of the skant.

TNG skant - lower front interior


This is where the center front was fastened down above the vent. 

In addition to the stitching that attached the invisible zipper to the front panel, the front was sewn down to the side panel above the vent with two more subsequent rows of stitching.

TNG skant - front vent
TNG skant - front vent


The side panel extended toward the center 4" from the zipper.

TNG skant - lower front interior


The centermost edge of the side panel was fairly straight, vertically, before it began to curve downward toward the leg strap. The centermost edge of the "interior waist extension" was approximately 10" long.

TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior


For some reason, the "interior waist anchor" was cut separately and sewn onto the centermost edge of the side panel. The ½" seam allowances were pressed toward the side panel and edge-stitched.

TNG skant - lower front interior


Beneath that, the upper edge of the leg strap was pressed under and edge-stitched, although the allowance was reduced to ⅜" and clipped to accommodate the curve.

TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior


The long, diagonal end of the "interior waist anchor" extension was stabilized with ¼" black cotton twill tape, which was simply fastened to the fabric with two rows of topstitching.

TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior


The outermost edge of the "interior waist anchor" was 1 ½" tall, where it was machine-sewn to the opposite side seam allowances.

TNG skant - lower front interior
TNG skant - lower front interior


The result of this "anchoring" was the wearer feeling like they're wearing shorts or underwear of some kind.


At the bottom of this whole assembly was what I refer to as the "leg strap," which snapped closed across the wearer's opposite thighs (right front to left back) to form a sort of "half-boxer-brief."

The front strap was 3 ⅞" tall, but the receiving back end was actually 4". (I get the feeling that this may not have been an exact science ...)

TNG skant - front leg strap
Front "leg strap"
TNG skant - back leg strap
Back "leg strap"


On the vent, the allowances were simply turned under and hand-sewn into place - first the lower hem allowance, then the vent's.

TNG skant - vent hem allowance


Curiously, the front vent's hem allowance was 2" at the top of the vent, but this widened to 2 ⅜" at the bottom of the vent.

TNG skant - vent hem allowance
TNG skant - vent hem allowance


The back interior was basically the same construction as the front, except for the zipper (of course).

TNG skant - lower back interior


The centermost back edge of the "interior waist anchor" was slightly shorter than the front - 9 ½" or so.
TNG skant - lower back interior


The back panel's allowance above the vent was larger, too, and had only one row of stitching fastening the layers together.

TNG skant - lower back interior
TNG skant - lower back interior
TNG skant - lower back interior


If you look very carefully, you may notice a peculiarity about the back snaps ...

TNG skant - lower back interior


The upper snap was attached with blue thread, not black! So was one side of the lower snap.

TNG skant - lower back interior
TNG skant - lower back interior


Who knows if they were originally attached that way, or if the skant was (poorly) repaired at some point, but there's a detail for you "screen-accurate" junkies to embrace!


The back vent's structure was basically the same as the front's.

TNG skant - lower back interior


However, unlike the front, the back vent's hem allowance was consistently 2 ¼" from top to bottom.

TNG skant - back vent hem allowance
TNG skant - back vent hem allowance


The skant's front hem allowance was 1 ¾" at the lower front corner, but this gradually tapered down to 1 ½" at the side seams.

TNG skant - front hem allowance
TNG skant - front hem allowance


The back lower hem allowance was similarly tapered.

TNG skant - back hem allowance
TNG skant - back hem allowance


Across the sides and "leg anchor," though, the hem allowance was consistently 1 ½".

TNG skant - side hem allowance


A particularly nice touch is that the division-colored front panel and black side panel met at the yoke/body/armscye seam line, forming a three-way "intersection" of seam lines.

These body panels were obviously designed and carefully drafted so the seam lines would intersect at exactly the same point!

TNG skant - seam intersection
Front
TNG skant - seam intersection
Back


Note the multiple rows of stitching to reinforce the entire area, and that the center/side and side/armscye seam allowances were stitched yet again before tapering off to the edges.

TNG skant - seam intersection


Also note that with the exception of the front zipper, the (vertical) front body seam allowances were all ½" and pressed toward center.


However, the side seam allowances were ⅝" and pressed open.

TNG skant - side seam allowances
TNG skant - side seam allowances


The armscye seam allowances were pressed outward, toward the sleeves. 

The sleeve hem allowance was 1".

TNG skant - sleeve hem
TNG skant - sleeve hem


As you may have noticed, all hem allowances were catch-stitched to the underside of the garment by hand. 

Another particularly nice touch was that the gold areas were hemmed with gold thread, and the black areas were hemmed with black thread. (Except for that neckline trim - not sure what was up with that!)


In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this detailed look at a screen-used TNG skant! 

Let's all thank Steve Barnes again for giving me the opportunity to examine it, and share my research with you!



Needless to say, I've taken all this into account for my upcoming (Bad Wolf Costumes) TNG skant sewing patterns, and I have more goodies in store for you, too! Subscribe to my "Costume Guide" e-mail newsletter (upper right corner) for updates!

Also, you can download my entire library of high-resolution skant photos (plus more that didn't make it into this blog post) as a ZIP file here.

And finally, Steve is actually selling this skant, so if you're interested in purchasing it, message me and I'll put you in touch with him.