Nostromo Crew Uniform — The Pants

I have finally come the the final part of the “core” costume–the pants.  I have been trying to brainstorm how I’m going to re-create the pants from the movie for a while.  The originals were custom made by Bermans and Nathans for the film, and have several features that aren’t really duplicated by “off the shelf” pants.  Making up a pair of pants that are an exact match would require drafting the pattern myself.  I decided that wasn’t a good idea since I’ve never sewn a pair of pants before, so I settled on altering a pair of Dickies Painter’s Pants.  They are made out of 100% cotton drill fabric, which seems to be a good match for the shirt that I made.  I actually purchased two pair, because one is going to get torn apart as a sacrifice to all of the pockets I need to add.  I’m not sure exactly what they expected the Nostromo crew to be stuffing pockets with, but they have more than enough space with cargo pockets on each thigh and humongous bag pockets on the lower portion of each leg.  Even though altering the painter’s pants won’t give me a completely screen accurate pair of pants, they will be pretty darn close.

Step one was to “reverse engineer” the pants used in the film.  I actually found some really nice reference photos on the internet at The Prop Gallery.  I am not sure who owns the image rights, so I’ll just link to the page with the photos themselves:  The Prop Gallery — Alien, Brett’s Cargo Pants.  If you are interested in re-creating these pants, those are some of the best photo’s I have found.  I loaded those images into Photoshop and used the measuring tool to get the sizes of all of the various features.  From those measurements, I drafted a set of patterns for all of the additional pockets required.  If you are interested, you can download my results for the Nostromo Crew Pants Patterns.

Step two was to begin ripping apart that spare pair of painter’s pants I bought.  This just involved a whole lot of time wielding a seam ripper.  I just about went blind ripping seams until the realization that since I wasn’t sewing these seams back together I didn’t really need that seam allowance anymore.  After that epiphany, my trusty pair of scissors made quick work of cutting the remaining seams apart.

Nostromo Pants Completed

The completed pair of Nostromo Crew Pants. I wish I had taken some in-progress photos of this project, but I was in a hurry to get them done. Oops.

Step three was constructing all of the pockets.  I used up just about every scrap piece of the second pair of pants I bought, so it is important to be careful with the layout.  There are some pretty long strips that form the sides of the shin pockets which had to be cut along the length of the leg.  Keeping everything on grain took a little bit of planning.  I’ve never used “recovered” fabric before, so I wasn’t sure if all the little holes from former stitching would be permanent or not, so I tried my best to avoid those areas of fabric or use them in more hidden areas like the underside of pocket flaps and such.

Step Four was to actually apply all of the pockets, knee pads, and other sundries.  I ended up ripping out the inseam so that I would be able to lay everything out flat.  After that, it was was more or less a matter of sewing around all the edges.  Once all of the pockets were in place, I originally intended to resew the inseam and run a zig-zag stitch down the raw edge to keep it from unraveling, but it turns out my mom has a serger!  That serger made sewing the inseam easy, and with a four thread overlock the raw edges won’t unravel in the wash.  Thanks for the loan of the serger Mom!

So now the pants are done!  I was feeling rushed to get these completed, so I unfortunately neglected to take in-progress photos.  Oops.  The best I can offer at this point is the picture of the final product.  I think they turned out quite nice!


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