Mindscanner Issue #78
Summer 2010

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by Qob! (Bill Hedrick)

When you get serious about making stuff you start digging for info, and authentic sizing of the elements.This is where a lot of people run  into problems. Most Klingons you saw on ST:TNG were large guys. Christopher Lloyd, was a tall drink of water. Michael Dorn was. IIRC,6'-4". Martok is about the same. So the basic sizing for Klingon costuming was set on "Extra Large" and all the bits and pieces were scaled to fit that. I'm sorry, something scaled for a 6'-4" guy looks wrong for a 5'-4" woman.

yolkFor instance Belt buckles. I've seen some really nice fan made pieces that are EXACTLY the size used on the show, but look way too big on our 5'- 4" woman, I'd recommend scaling it down to 3/4 size. Also the literature I've read recommend the strips on your uniform should be 1 3/4" - 2" wide, that looks fine on me, I am 6'-3" 275 lbs. That is really too small for some fan Klingons who can push 400 lbs, and is way too big for our sample woman. I am currently making a shoulder yoke for my line sister who is maybe 5'-3" and 110 lbs after a big supper. I am down-sizing everything to look right. So rather than 2" striping with 1 3/4" metal(ish) trim the strips on her yoke will be 1 3/8" with 1" metal-ish trim.

So you need not only accurate information, you need to have a good sense of proportion. Don't just use your tape measure, use your eyes!

We have some real nice patterns for armor out there, and you can find them in the files section of the Yahoo KAG QM site


As well as the CTF Quartermaster site


mantle-frontBut something to remember is that the people you are putting into the armor may not be shaped like the patterns.

Now back to my line sister K’ilf, she is small as noted before, but she has fairly wide shoulders. If I used the standard pattern, it wouldn't look quite right. I decided to not only take measurements but to do a fitting before I cut any cloth.

You can do good measurements, cut out your piece and not have it look right. I have been working with professional costumers and they do something called “sloping,” which is a process of making your own pattern from the existing patterns fitting to the person directly. I had a batch of heavy paper so I roughed something up put it on her and did some marking and trimming. I cut out a pattern, cleaned it up a bit and cut out a test on some light canvas I had lying around. She wanted a little more cleavage showing, so I did some more trimming and finally cut out my base in cotton broadcloth.

mantle-backLooking at it on my table it looks odd, even though it looks great on her, it is not the rectangle you are used to seeing, it is much narrower in the front than in the back, also the straight bits aren't straight! They are curved!

As you see by the pictures, once full assembled and worn, it looks square without being boxy. The key is to always consider patterns as guidelines, not as carved in stone rules. Everyone is different and we have to use an artist's eye when building costumes.

 - Qob!
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