Tok’ra Brown uniform - Costume Guide






Screencaps and other reference pictures for the brown uniform can be found here

The brown uniform worn by the Tok’ra in the later seasons is one of the more difficult Stargate costumes to make. Jackets are always one of the more complicated pieces of clothing to sew. You will want to make sure your sewing machine is strong enough to sew through leather before starting anything else.

Jacket

There are male and female versions of the jacket. The jackets worn by Malek and Jacob have two buckles on the front to hold the jacket closed. The jacket worn by Kelmaa does not. The female version does have princess seams on the front, which are missing on the mens jackets. The front flap of the jacket also crosses over in opposite directions on the two different versions of the jacket.

Any pattern you get will need to be modified. The closest pattern for the mens uniform is actually a Star Trek pattern. Classic Movie Starfleet Officer Duty Uniform Jacket. For the women, the closest is Vogue 7772, which now appears to be discontinued. But it can still be found on ebay and some sewing websites.

star trek pattern

At the time this was last updated, the Vogue pattern was available on this website:

Moonwishes Sewing

With both you’ll have to modify the collar, shorten the sleeves, and add the trim on the crossover piece. The vogue pattern will probably need to be made just a tad looser than shown to allow for the thickness of the leather. Fortunately, both patterns have the crossover going in the correct direction for their respective Tok’ra equivalents. The jacket is best made with a lining. I just used a thin cotton material for the lining.







For the female version, I used snaps on the inside of the darker brown lining, to hold it closed. Here are some possibilities for the buckles, if you are doing the male version of the jacket. You will have to pry off the center piece with needle nose pliers. The buckles on the show have some small decorations on the buckle, small raised dots on the corners and half way across each of the four sides. The look can be recreated by using dimensional fabric paint to create the dots, just make sure you allow pleanty of time for the fabric paint to cure for several days before sealing it with the spray paint. You don’t want the dots to fall off later. Then use Rust-Oleum’s American Accents – Designer Metallic spray paint, in dark grey metallic. A matte top coat helps to keep it from chipping.

1.5"
Brass buckle
Econo buckle

1.75"
Brass buckle
Econo buckle



I got the leather for the main body of the jacket, and for the shoulder belt, at ACS Trading Post. I got a full hide of distressed brown upholstery/garment cowhide for the main body of the jacket, and the tan strips for the shoulder belt. Both of those items were standard items for a while, but they seem to be discontinued. I haVe included the link in case they come back. For the darker leather for the trim, you will want to get either a smaller panel of leather, or a hide of lambskin or deerskin. A lambskin or deerskin hide is much smaller than a full cowhide, for obvious reasons.

ACS Trading Post

Here are some other possibilities for the jacket leather

Distressed Brown Leather
Faux Leather
Lightweight natural color pigskin relatively inexpensive and easy to sew, but would need to be dyed first
lambskinright size and approximate color for the trim
Deerskin saddle tan color could work for the shoulder belt if cut into strips

They have tripe on the shoulders and on the wrist wraps. See the tripe tutorial for making faux tripe. Liquid latex can be dyed with standard RIT dye. It has to be VERY hot, and VERY concentrated. I used nine boxes of RIT in the dye bath to dye the shoulders and wrists for the two jackets. For the type of sfx liquid latex that I used for the faux tripe, the best combination was one part cocoa brown, one part dark brown, and one part black, to get the right color. If you are using a different brand of liquid latex, the dye will take differently. As always, try it on a small piece before dying the large piece. Make sure you have the piece cut the way you want it before dying it. The dye doesn’t soak through the entire piece the way it does with fabric. If you cut pieces off after dying it, you will be able to see the un-dyed latex underneath.

For attaching the faux tripe, use a leather cement that is designed to stay flexible and not get brittle even as it ages. Make sure you get a good solid coat, especially around the edges where it is likely to come up. Sewing the faux tripe to the jacket would be all but impossible, and the thread would show. Though tacking it down in places is possible, and if you are careful it will be difficult to see. Keep in mind that with both the leather and the latex, once you put holes in them, they are there forever. The more holes you put in it, the more you will weaken it.

Pants and shirt

The pants and shirt can easily be bought. I got a standard pair of flat front (pleats look silly with this costume) dark brown pants, and a long sleeve shirt. The shirt only shows for about 10” on the arms anyway. I chose a long sleeve t-shirt, because it is a light weight material and the rest of the costume is heavy. It is possible to find a dark brown long sleeve t-shirt if you look, but it may be easier to get white and dye it the right color.

The sleeves in the show were made of a pleather material. If you want to make the sleeves this way, but don't want an extra heavy layer on your whole upper body, you can make your own. Make the sleeves of the leather/pleather material that you want to show, make the torso of a lightweight material. You can even attach the sleeves with snaps if you, so the torso can be easily washed. That is how the screen used costumes were made.

long sleeve workout shirt




Boots

For footwear, they use dark brown slouch style boots, and tuck the pantlegs into the tops of the boots. For some reason Jacob wears his pant legs over his boots, but all the other Tok’ra tuck theirs in. There are no boots on the market that look quite like the ones they use on the show. At least not that I could find. I was lucky and found a pair of boots at goodwill that were almost exactly the right style, though they had to be dyed darker. Leather slouch boots tend to be expensive, and it is difficult to find ones that don't have a distinctive 'cowboy boot' look. Especially for men's boots. The 'tags' at the top and any tassels/straps/metal toes would need to be removed. The first two links are the closes, if you cut the curves on the uppers off to create a flat top on the uppers. Technically the boots should be smooth leather, not suede. Though I have included some links to suede boots because faux suede is much less expensive. For women, if you find a good boot with a slight heel, a shoe repair place can remove the heel. A shoe maker will tell you this is undesireable, because the sole won't be quite the right shape. I did not find this to be an issue personally.




Here are the some boots that are sort-of close.

Men's slouch boots
Women's sloch boots
Faux leather women's boots less expensive but too light, and pleather is difficult to dye
low cost women's boot Cheap and fairly close other than the suede
GuideGear short black boots Smooth faux leather, though shorter and darker than in the show


Wrist Wraps

Wrist wraps are simply pieces of leather with the faux tripe glued on. I fasten them with snaps, and put a piece of Velcro on the shirt to keep them from sliding down over my hands. Or you could make them very tight, and that would keep them from sliding down too. I used the same leather glue to attach the faux tripe to the wrist wraps as I used on the shoulders. You may want to tack the corners down as they do tend to come up.






Belt

The belt should be one of the last things you make. You will want to measure yourself for the belt when you are wearing the shirt and the jacket. The jacket will probably be very thick, and if you don’t take that into consideration, the belt will be too small.

The belts that they wear are very wide. I couldn’t fine any belts off the rack that were wide enough, so I got the leather straps from Tandy and dyed them dark brown. The straps are very thick, and if you’re feeling really ambitious you could split to make them thinner. But I didn’t want to spent the money on the machinery required to do that. If you wet leather, mold it, and let it dry that way, it will hold its shape. I did that with the straps, molding them

into a circular shape. That helps them to sit right and not stick out. This is especially important for the ‘tail’ on the front, which will stick straight out from the belt loop if it isn’t molded to curve toward the body.



I used a narrow strap for the belt loop, also dyed. I glued it onto the belt with leather cement, not the same glue I used for the faux tripe. The leather cement is stronger, but it is not flexible when dry. The belt is actually held closed with snaps. If you look closely, in one screenshot you can see the snap on Malek’s belt. I used Line 20 snaps from Tandy. This is one part where the thickness of the leather is a problem, I had to trim down the thickness of the belt on the back so the snaps would have enough room to be set properly. A simple utility knife will do this, but it is a bit of work. You will have to drill a hole to put the stem of the snaps through. And I do recommend using a drill. The leather is much too thick to use a leather punch for. You will also want to drill the holes for the ‘X’ lacings that go in the back. For creating the ‘X’ pattern, brown leather boot lacings work well.








leather lacing


Shoulder Belt


The shoulder belt is made of a lighter brown leather. It loops around the main belt in front and back, to support the weight of the zat'nik'tel. The front actually has four small cross lacings, then the main belt is a simple three strand weave. I got the lacings from ACS Trading post, as mentioned earlier. The strips I got were too wide, and I had to cut them down. The strips were not quite wide enough to get three lacings out of, so I cut three strips, two to use and one scrap piece that was too narrow to really do anything with.








Zat'nik'tel holster


The zat'nik'tel holsters the Tok'ra use on the show do a great job of showing off the nice work done by the prop makers, but do a lousy job of holding the zat in place. If you look closely, you will see the ties holding their zat'nik'tels in place. Yes, that is the canon way of doing it, and more power to you if you decide to do it that way. I wanted to be able to pull my zat'nik'tel out without having to untie it, so I made mine half way between canon and practical. I made my holster out of veg tan leather, and they dyed it dark brown. Two layers of leather are thick enough to hold up the zat, and no further strengthening material is required. Here is the walk through for the zat'nik'tel holster I made, complete with pattern.

Zat'nik'tel Holster Tutorial


General leather dying info

Whenever you dye leather, make sure you deglaze it first. It will remove any protective coating that will keep the dye from taking, and it will help the dye go on more evenly. Apply the deglazer with a rag, and rub it in as much as you can before it dries. Deglazer has a high alcohol content, so it dries very fast. You will want to do the deglazing outside. Deglazer stinks.

Leather dye is not applied with a dye bath the way you dye fabric. You use an applicator such as a wool dauber to brush the dye onto the leather. I use Fiebings leather dye. You will probably need multiple coats of the dye to get an even dye job. The first coat generally looks terrible. Don't panic, it gets more even after a few more coats of the dye. I used dark brown dye for this costume.

Once you have it to the color you want, put two coats of glaze on it to seal the dye and protect the leather. There are different types of leather glaze, with the primary difference being how much of a shine is left on the leather. Tan Kote leaves the least amount of shine on the leather. Satin Shene is in the middle, and Super Shene makes it very shiny. For our purposes here, we want as little shine as possible, so go with the Tan Kote. Use the same wool daubers for the glaze.

deglazer
Fiebings dark brown dye
wool daubers
Tan Kote glaze