April 13, 2015

Fabric Notes and "Substitute" Material Options


Black wool gabardine (superfine or regular) is not difficult to find, but the division colors are a bit trickier, and unfortunately, we know of no source that sells wool gabardine in screen-accurate colors. 

Some higher-end fabric shops do sell wool gabardine in multiple colors, including ones that might work well to the untrained eye (wine, biking red, teal, turquoise, gold, golden yellow, etc.). 

Alternatively - or, perhaps, ideally - one can purchase white, "natural," or undyed wool gabardine and then dye it to match a screen-used uniform and/or swatch, although even that is subjective and, as demonstrated in our jumpsuit analysis, the exact colors varied quite a bit over the years, anyway (see our Misc. Observations and Errors, part 2). 


We're also aware of "vegan" sensibilities and the sometimes prohibitively expensive nature of screen-accurate materials. They may look make for a far more impressive, screen-accurate replica, but superfine wool gabardine isn't cheap! Tack on the cost of a screen-used uniform or swatch, then dyeing or buying custom-dyed materials, and expenses can add up quickly. 

Fortunately, cotton twill is an inexpensive and easy-to-find substitute for wool gabardine. Although it doesn't drape, press, or ease as well, and it's more prone to wrinkling, it is more commonly available at retail fabric stores and usually costs substantially less than wool gabardine (especially superfine wool gabardine). 

Poly/cotton blend twill is also an option, although we recommend 100% cotton more than a poly/cotton blend, especially since the two fabrics usually hang out in the same price range. 

There are multiple decent off-the-shelf "substitute" options for the division colors. 

For command, "biking red wrinklease" from JoAnn is a good option: 

Another good option for command is Hancock's "zinfandel" twill: 

As mentioned previously, we don't recommend poly/cotton blends, but Hancock's "du pont" twill could work in a pinch: 

For tactical and security, Hancock Fabrics has a passable gold cotton twill, although it is a little on the "loud" side and too orange: 

The gold twill pictured above, in combination with black cotton twill, are what we used for the uniform in this tutorial. 

The following uniform constructed for this tutorial was 100% cotton and 100% polyester (spandex).
No animals were harmed in the making of this tutorial. 

For the medical/sciences division, there are several options for the early Deep Space Nine teal/blue yokes, but, alas, we've yet to find an off-the-shelf green/teal cotton twill for the later years ...

Our first recommendation would be Hancock's "tropical" twill:

DS9, 2x11 "Rivals" and Hancock Fabrics' tropical cotton twill

Denim is a less than ideal substitute, but at least it's in the same family of woven fabrics (gabardines, twills, and denims). We recommend using the cotton twill if possible, but, like with the poly/cotton blends, either of these denims could do in a pinch for the early Deep Space Nine medical/sciences yoke. 

There's JoAnn's "al giers blue" denim: 

DS9, 1x7 "Q-Less" and JoAnn's al giers blue denim

As well as "enamel blue" denim, also from JoAnn: 

DS9, 1x7 "Q-Less" and JoAnn's enamel blue denim

Now that you've been briefed on the uniform and have all of your materials gathered:

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