The new Starfleet uniforms featured in Star Trek: Discovery – a fairly significant departure from designs seen previously in the franchise – have already set the vibrant Star Trek cosplay community abuzz, with many costume-creating aficionados wondering how to set about building their own outfits.

As TrekMovie’s Aaron Harvey detailed a few weeks ago, there is a lot of tiny, intricate detailing that has gone into the new uniform styling, and  Discovery‘s producers have revealed that the uniforms include internationally-sourced fabric and complex, 3D-printed components, neither of which is available to the average fan.

That hasn’t stopped fan Melanie Poston from trying, though! First spotted at the Denver Comic Con on June 30, her homemade Discovery uniform caught the attention of cast members Anthony Rapp and Rekha Sharma, series producer Ted Sullivan, and more when photos of her design appeared on social media last week.

Great job on our first #StarTrek #startrekdiscovery #cosplay we have seen!

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With both San Diego Comic-Con coming in July, and August’s Official Star Trek Convention hitting Las Vegas soon, we reached out to Melanie to get some tips on how other fans might start to build their own Star Trek: Discovery costumes as we approach the series’ debut in September.

Bringing My Star Trek: Discovery Uniform to Life
by Melanie Poston for TrekCore.com

My goal with the Discovery uniform cosplay was not to create a screen accurate costume. I would love to do that some day, but it is definitely beyond my time and resources right now — especially since I started making this costume just a few weeks before the convention I wanted to wear it to.

My starting design sketches for the ‘Discovery’ uniform.

Rather than working toward screen accuracy, I instead wanted to achieve the overall form, and highlight the recognizable and interesting details of the uniform — and since the series hasn’t even been released yet, I figured that it may not be as recognizable as those from the previous Trek shows, so I concentrated on emphasizing the elements that would communicate that it’s a Starfleet uniform.

If I were to make it more screen-accurate, for example, the Starfleet deltas along the side panels of the jacket would be much smaller, matching the look seen in the promotional material released so far. My choice to keep the chevrons on my costume larger allowed them to be much more recognizable, while still maintaining the overall form.

The tiny Starfleet delta pattern on the new uniforms are just one of many intricacies on the new outfit.

All the materials used in my costume – with the exception of the boots and Starfleet badge – were purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics at a total cost of less than $100.

I used about six yards of navy blue, Ponte knit fabric for the uniform jacket and pants. I chose Ponte partly because it’s comfortable and because it resists wrinkles pretty well — a huge benefit for travel to a convention — and it was thick enough that I did not have to line the uniform jacket. (It’s also pretty affordable, which allowed me to buy more than I really needed so I could do a little trial and error without feeling like I might run out!)

Building the uniform jacket using navy Ponte fabric.

I did not use a pattern for the top; I drafted the jacket by hand on a dress form that matches my measurements. There was some trial and error involved, so that extra Ponte fabric definitely came in handy! At this stage, I just created the basic torso part of the top and did not yet attach sleeves, though I did sew the sleeves and collar separately at this point to be attached later.

I cut out the individual gold chevrons for the sides by hand from gold foil iron-on paper, and ironed them onto the uniform eight to ten at a time.

Lots of cutting and ironing to approximate the delta pattern.

Next, I started working on the gold stripes that run down the sides of the uniform. Instead of trying to set the small parallel lines in place over each shoulder, I used a single, thick gold ribbon and embroidered blue lines over it down it to mimic the look of the smaller stripes’ placement. I then sewed the finished gold and blue striped ribbons to the side of the pants and the jacket.

I embroidered the gold lines on the top of each shoulder — to emulate Michelle Yeoh’s captain’s variant design — attached the sleeves, then used the same technique that I used for the side stripes to create the thinner gold stripes that wrap around the top of the sleeves. I cut a thin strip of the same gold ribbon and sewed it down the front of the top at a slight diagonal and installed a full-length zipper along the back of the jacket.

Collar and gold piping added at the zipper, shoulder and torso stripes in place.

For the pants, I started with a pattern that I already had on hand (McCall’s M6901) for women’s slacks. It’s a pretty simple pattern, and it includes great instructions for tailoring the pants to fit your body shape. I made the pants higher-waisted than would normally come from that pattern, because I wanted the waistband to rest on the smallest part of my waist, but otherwise I stuck pretty closely to the pattern.

I did not finish making the new badge for the uniform, so I ended up just using a gold Starfleet insignia pin that I already had on hand. It looked much better than the one I had been trying to make myself, so it ended up being the best route, regardless of the inaccuracy.

Finally, as I was packing my suitcase the day before the convention, I realized that I had completely forgotten about the uniform boots! I ran out to a thrift store near my house and was really lucky to find a pair of black boots that were the right size and style.

Completed jacket and trouser set.

Overall, I am really pleased with the way the uniform turned out! The stickler in me was constantly thinking about all the little details I missed or didn’t replicate perfectly, but I communicated the idea of the costume design well enough that people at the convention recognized it, so I am happy.

One day, I think I would like to attempt a truly screen-accurate version, but I definitely want to wait until the new show is well underway and I have a ton of source material to reference – as it was, I put this together after watching the Discovery trailer over and over, and going through a ton of screenshots along the way — but it was definitely worth the effort!

Ready for adventure.

You can follow Melanie Poston on Instagram.

  • great job, Melanie!

  • ABElia

    Great stuff here!

  • Locutus

    Nice job, Melanie! I didn’t even notice the side strips were composed out of the Star Trek insignia until I saw your uniform.

  • Fiery Little One

    Very nicely done.

  • M33

    Very cool!
    I would not have the patience for such a task!

  • The Science Fiction Oracle

    WELL DONE, MELANIE !!!

  • 80sDude

    Great work for something made on the fly without any sort of official pattern available. The Delta’s on the side are a bit big, but, with what was available to work with, it had to be expected. I’m glad to see not everyone is a cynic as regards to the show. Can’t wait to check it out in September. Again, well done. Qapla’ batlh je! (Success and honor!)

  • Dan King

    The uniforms still look terrible. I don’t care if they are spun from gold or platinum, and that they were sources from Mars. They don’t respect Canon at all and look very foolish in my opinion.

    • Pedro Ferreira

      I thought you were all for disrespecting canon since you hate my views on it?

      • Dan King

        I support canon 100%, but it can be updated while respecting the 1960’s sets. Discovery takes it a little too far in my opinion.

  • Very nicely done, Melanie! I’m impressed at how close you were able to make it, given how little information we have so far.

  • October_1985

    Very nice job! It’s a shame that the real uniforms are so insipid. They look generic retro sci-fi, not very trekkish. I wish they would have been more bold with the design. Say what you want about the Kelvin movies, but they proved that the traditional red, blue and gold costumes worked today. I guess Discovery wouldn’t want to go straight to replicate TOS look, but something a bit closer would have been more appropiated (and fun!!), I think.

    • Dan King

      They look like Orrville(?) uniforms

  • Pedro Ferreira

    Perhaps could have waited till all merchandise and costume design has been shown.

    • Dan King

      Can you show us what you made? What do you do socially to be involved with the Trek community? Or do you just whine and complain all the time about everything?

      • Pedro Ferreira

        Dude, chill. What is wrong with you? I’m not saying what she came out with was bad. Seriously don’t jump on someone for no reason.

        • Dan King

          Sorry, I just assume you were bashing her based on the previous negativity you have displayed.

          • Pedro Ferreira

            Why would I do that? It’s cool she dressed up in the uniform, my questioning was perhaps she jumped the gun to be seen as the first Discovery cosplayer when she could have waited till more is set in stone about the new series.

    • Eric Cheung

      She said she was might make another when the series comes out. But why not try a prototype now, especially if it helps to determine what potential problems in the future might be?

      • Pedro Ferreira

        Ok cool.

    • The Science Fiction Oracle

      How embarrassing for the all of the good people on this site for you to bring your “negativity act” here to this article about a fan’s personal fun activity.

      SHAME ON YOU !!!!!

  • David Lund

    As a professional modelmaker, I am always impressed by the quality of so many cosplayers’ work. As I presume Melanie is not a trained costumer, work like hers is testament to the sheer enthusiasm of fans, and shows the joy to be had in applying your skills to create something you really want to make!

  • geekfilter

    Thanks for the shout out! Sorry for the delayed thank you…getting ready for SDCC seems to have sucked up all my time!

  • davidparadamolina

    so, the production delayed several months because the uniform was harder to make, and Melanie do a Superb approximate with 100$ and a Scissor

    Melanie, you’re welcome to Starfleet 👍