Introduction: Dr.Crusher's 1940's Uniform - a Big Good-Bye Homage Mash Up
I have always been a huge Star Trek fan and TNG is still my number one fav of all the many iterations. Bonus I am a redhead and I love dressing up as red haired characters, TNG certainly had one in Dr. Crusher. The Big Goodbye episode in Season 1 of TNG was so memorable to me, it combined my love of vintage 40's and Star Trek. In that episode Dr. Crusher is wearing a very pink suit, not my color but it got me thinking, what would Dr. Crusher's uniform look like if it were the 1940's? Halloween was around the corner and I had an impending arm surgery too so, I was on the clock if I wanted to tackle this project.
- Fabric Merchants Ponte de Roma Solid Teal
- Art Gallery Solid Rayon Challis Black
- Invisible Zipper, https://www.joann.com/coats-andamp-clark-invisible-zipper-20in-22in/2076446.html
- I purchased thread at Joann's, basic all purpose in black and teal.
- I used one of my vintage black button's for the back neck closure, it's been in my stash for sometime.
- Gold Rank Pips were left over buttons from another Start Trek group costume I worked on a few years before.
- I combined two patterns to create this dress, one a Vintage 1940's McCall pattern the other a reproduction Sew Over It Tea Dress pattern that I picked up on my trip London a few years back.
- Communicator pin was a gift from a friend, this one was magnetic so no pin holes to work about.
- The stockings were already mine, they are Cuban heel back seem hose I picked up on a vintage reproduction site years ago.
- Shoes I also already had but they are from B.A.I.T. (But Another Innocent Tail) https://baitfootwear.com/collections/sale/products/betty-classic?variant=19436336283717
Step 1: Make It Sew
I had an image in my mind of what I wanted this to look like. I wanted to keep the same look of Dr. Crusher's uniform but transpose it onto a 1940's dress. I knew it needed to have black at the shoulders, teal across the chest and a black skirt. I also wanted to tie in the angle cut from the uniform into the dress somehow too. I start looking into my pattern stash and I found a vintage 40's pattern that had shoulder pieces that I could make black to get that TNG Uniform look I was going for. I was happy with the top of that vintage pattern but rest of the dress was very simple and didn't offer much at the waistline to help me create that angle change between the Teal and black. So I went back to my stash to see if I had a skirt or dress that offered me something more interesting and I found it in a re-print of a 40's dress pattern I picked up on a trip to London. It had a waist that angled up at the center to a point, I knew I had found the skirt I wanted. So the plan was to combine two totally different patterns into one garment. What could go wrong?! I have said it before and I will do so again, I am my own worst enemy in these projects.
With patterns picked it was time to shop for fabric, this was full pandemic so I search for fabric online. Fabric.com (Amazon Company) had this lovely teal ponte de roma that I fell in love with so that was once down.
Now, I must interject here, what I should have done was also by the matching ponte de roma fabric in Black, it would have made everything that follows so much easier. But Noooooo, I wanted a light flowy fabric so the skirt would swish a bit when I walked. Shot self in foot right there!
I began looking for a black fabric that was light enough to have some good movement in the skirt, I ended up going with a black Challis. You can see in the picture it is thin fabric so I basically made the skirt and a liner out of the same fabric to get better coverage when being worn. Fabric purchased it, it was just a waiting game.
OH!, did I mention it was September 29th when I ordered my fabric and I had a surgery on October 30th, yeah I'm a planner.
Step 2: To Pleat or Not to Pleat
The Fabric came pretty quickly, I had it within a week of ordering, so then it was time to get down to the real work.
I began by gently cutting out my vintage pattern, the tissue paper tears easily being so old so I was very delicate with it. I then cut out he skirt sections I would use from the other pattern and began to lay them out on the floor to see how I could make them work together. I figured it out pretty quickly, since the vintage pattern had the front in two pieces and gathered at the shoulders it matched up well with the waist of the 2nd pattern.
I laid out my fabric and started to set the patterns. Since the vintage pattern was so delicate I used my pattern weights to keep it in place on the fabric rather then pins. Then I started to cut them out, I used my pinking shears to help with any fraying. With the pieces cut out, it was time to start Frankenstein-ing this thing together.
I started by pinning the top pieces together to see how they would fit and if I needed to make any design changes. The only adjustments I need to make were the gathers at the top and adding a pleating at the bottom where it would connect to the waist. At first I tried just gathers on top and bottom but it didn't hang right, so I decided to go with more structure mini pleats at the bottom and the looser gather at the should seams. I also had to double layer the shoulder sections since that challis fabric was so thin.
Step 3: Step on It!
With the top coming along, slowly, I decided to take a break and sew together the skirt panels (doubled since I realized I need two layers to not be see-thru). I also attached the front part of the skirt to waist as well and went to work connecting that to the top of the dress once I was finally happy with the way the pleating was working. I also had to raise the waist up a bit, I had made the torso piece just a bit too long but better that than too short!
The back pieces also had long pleats that ran down at an angle to help nip in the fit and give interest to the back of the dress. I loved all the little details like this in the vintage pattern, the sleeves were also really neat and I moved on to tackle those next. The Sleeves had 3 darts at the elbow of each sleeve, once you put these in the sleeve had a nature bend right at the elbow and made the sleeve fit that much better. Why don't we do this anymore? I love the way this worked and looked. With Darts complete I attached the sleeve to the arm hole of the dress. I pinned it in first to make sure I had it lined up, there were gather's at the top to give the sleeve just a little puff to it. Once connect I tried it on and decided on the length of the sleeve and pined the cuff in place. It was a little hard to turn this on my machine so the stitching got a little cockeyed at places but, it isn't noticeable when worn.
By this time it was getting close to surgery day for me so, I was in a rush to finish up in time for my Zoom costume lunch at work. Oh yeah and that looming surgery too.
I hemmed the skirts but doing a double fold and pressing them to keep the shape for easier stitching. I made the liner skirt just slightly shorter than the outer skirt and hemmed that too. Then is was time to tackle the invisible zipper. I absolutely hate invisible zippers, they never got in correctly for me not matter if I baste them in place, and this was no exception. After 3 attempts I was at the point where the Challis fabric of the skirt was going to fall part if I unpick the darn thing again so I chose to leave it as it was. The fabric had slipped a little while fighting to put it in so the darts that had looked so neat in the back now were a bit askew. It still annoys me but I was out of time, I had only a few minutes before my company lunch. I stitch one the rank pip buttons and add my vintage button closure tot he back neck of the dress. I also used some thread to create a button loop for the neck closure. Who knew making all those silly friendship bracelets would one day come in handy for making a quick button loop cord. Over all I was very proud of the way this concept had come together, there were flaws, sure but they didn't ruin the dress.
Step 4: Dr. Crusher Please Report to the Holodeck
The dress was done and I had enough time to transform myself from sewing grunt to Dr. Crusher. Only wear makeup when I have to since I have such sensitive skin. I have had all kinds of reactions to makeup, even so call Hypo-allergenic make-up, that one made my eyelids peel. When I do wear make up I am very careful about what I use, how much I put on and how long I wear it.
I do not tend to wear full face foundation, I use concealer on my eyes to help create a base to build on and I may dab a bit under the eye if my circles are are dark from a lack of sleep, which with this tight timeline was totally the case. For Concealers I have two I like to use; Giella soy butter or Boo-Boo Cover-Up. Next I lay a based eyeshadow on top and my fav is Zuii Orgnaic Flora Eyeshadow in Chestnut. I did look up the cast pictures for Dr. Crusher and all the make up seems to play up her eyes. I figured I would do the same but dialed down a bit since this was a 40's look, the lips needed to be the main attraction. For the eyes, I went to my favorite pallet from Besame cosmetics, my Agent Carter Passport pallet. It was a lovely range of shades but O kept to the lighter brown, Cream and Pink. I used the pink on my lid, the lighter brown in the crease and the cream under the brows, under the eyes and in the corner of the eye to help brighten them. I also edge the lash line with the lighter brown. I do not use eye liner if I can help it, I have had far too many issues wit reactions to them so I use the shadow at the upper lash line instead and apply it with an angled brush. I topped this off with my go to Just for Red Heads Ginger-brown mascara. I also use this on my brows to help shape them, for filler it I don't have a ginger-brown JFR pencil then I will feather in a rich brown eye shadow with my angle brush again, it works!. With eyes done on to the cheeks, I used just bit of the deep pink eye shadow from my pallet, it was a matte powder so I did not have to worry about added shimmer. I normally tend toward peach-y tones but I didn't want to pull too much peach into my face when I was going to be wearing red lipstick. The deep pink was just enough on the top of the cheeks to give a hint of color. I set everything with a neutral rice powder light applied with a big brush.
Then it was lips and as this was a 40's look, it had to be my Beasme Victory Red lipstick. This is a reproduction of a real red lipstick made in the 1940's. I applied a little concealer to the outer edges of my lips then applied a red lip liner. Red lipsticks can bleed and this is the sure fire way to keep that from happening. I did a swipe of the lipstick on my lips to create a base coat, blotting on a piece of parchment paper, do not use tissues they leave behind fuzz on the lips, so annoying. Also, do not run your lips when you blot them, it will smudge the lip liner. After blotting a few times I used a lip brush and applied the top coat of lipstick carefully to my lips. Makeup complete I slipped into my costume, added a set of star trek earrings for fun and I was ready!
Step 5: Chief Medical Officer's Log - Supplemental
I had a lot of fun making this mash up costume come to life, even with the trials and tight deadline this remains one of my favs. It was real challenge using two patterns, one of them an original from the 1940's. But I love that about my sewing projects! If there isn't something new to try and learn, then I'm not having as much fun. So, I'll keep challenging myself and I hope you will too dear readers & makers.
I did pose for pictures in my full length hall mirror, I tried to show how the skirt fell so nicely even though it was annoying fabric to work with. I yanked out a vintage hat from my collection too and I posed with a phaser for a few quirky shots because you gotta have fun!
Participated in the