Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Monthly Archives: September 2014

THIS Costume Gets a Dedicated Post


Because it is one of the best costumes on the show! Wedding dresses and dashing heroes get all the fan fare, but this kind of costume is what it is all about. No People Magazine or Vanity Fair pieces, no hours of debate over necklines, fabric or bum rolls. And that is a good thing, because then we can really have fun.

Just a glorious, glorious costume. One that we are INCREDIBLY proud of in our department. One of my favorite characters in the book, I couldn’t wait to do his costume. This is the kind of costume you can be totally free with, because no one is looking, no one cares about the beggar. It was and is a source of design joy.

Hugh Munro. DAMN, I love this costume. Look at those Beggars Badges, the textures, the layers, the pure craft of it all!

Ladies and Gentleman – Hugh Munro.






photo 3

People have been asking to see the pleats.




Much To Do About Nothing…


To Do List

Ron says this is an important time for the blog. How do you all stay engaged and interested, during the hiatus?
So, I put up my BIG to do list, I will spare you the pages of to do lists under all those headings.
Lots to do, lots to talk about.

So, two questions.
What are you going to do during the Outlander Hiatus?
Anything you want to know about, to do with the costumes, or really anything to do with the show?
I have set up a topic on the forum to post your ideas.

Don’t forget the forum! I am hoping for lots of energy and spirited discussion! The Tea Room is open for just general chatting, doesn’t have to be show related.

See you there.


And onto the Honeymoon…


James Fraser


Jamie Wedding Hero

Sam Hero 2

So, what can I say. He looks friggin great. The boy becomes a man, because no woman wants to marry a boy!

Not exactly sure what they did to the color when they shot this pic, but it has been bugging me. I tried to get it closer to the actual color. His coat is not green, it is blue, much closer to the color of his waistcoat, though it does tint a bit to the teal.

This is the first time we see the Fraser tartan. Since we had made the decision not to do the Victorian “clan tartans”, I felt that we still needed to honor the book and put in the red (and gold). It was important to me. The Fraser tartan is similar to the McKenzie, being from the same area, but still needed to be set apart.
We gave him a beautiful diamond stock pin, and did the most exquisite embroidery on the cuffs of his shirt.Just to get a little glint of metallic to pick up his pin, and Claire’s dress.

Ring - Wedding

He is a most dashing, romantic and confident man. What every woman wants.

Sam wedding closeup

And because they cannot possibly be separated.

Cait Wedding dress

Sam and Cait Wedding

Leaving Scotland


photo copy 18


photo copy 17

I guess I am leaving Scotland. I will be gone until the end of December, and I am in mourning. I am going to miss most of October, November, and almost all of December.

Let me begin with the very clear statement that I am going to be insanely happy to be with my kids, my pets and my friends. This post in no way reflects on that joy .

But I am  not sure how to leave this place. The leaves are turning! The air is crisp, the sky is bluer than any blue, unless it is greyer than grey. The smell of fireplaces is in the air. The variety of apples in the grocer is staggering. How come I am not making apple crumbles that we all ravish in front of the fire, instead of making packing lists?

At night we have to close the windows in bed, while reading, or writing, or our fingers get numb. Then open them again, and burrow down under down comforters,  sleeping/hibernating like woodland animals.

Cuilean is almost 10 months old!!

I am in love with a place. There is not a single day that I don’t come around a bend, or over a rise, when I am not overwhelmed by some moment of beauty.

Scotland does not come gently. There is nothing subtle about this place. When I first moved into this house with a tiny puppy, it was the dead of winter. The fires burned unless I was asleep, the shutters were closed in all the rooms, to keep out the cold that sort of wrapped itself around the stone walls of this house. The first record of this house is in 1632, but the house we live in, was built for the most part, in the 18th century. It is all made of stone. There is a fireplace in each room, for very good reason.

I come home from work in the winter, and grab some wood from the woodpile and build the evening kitchen fire. There I, or we, if Ron is here, spend the evening. With all the shutters closed, the fire going, and the AGA churning, it is like a warm womb. When it is time for bed, we bolt upstairs to crawl under the blankets waiting for the chill to leave the sheets. The wind HOWLS, and the bare trees sway. It feels like there is no life to be found anywhere. It is winter, no if, ands or buts about it.

When spring finally shows up, it does not delicately float in, it erupts. It is almost brazen, the harlot of the seasons. Not a few scattered daffodils, but millions of them, almost garish, in their brazen loud presence. Same with the tulips that follow close behind, unwilling to wait patiently for the daffodils to get off the stage. They crowd in, elbowing their way in, creating an absolute riot of colors. There is color everywhere, and nothing subtle about it. The trees and hedgerows go from bare, dead skeletons, to outrageous green. Birds are everywhere, rabbits hopping about and everywhere you look, and I mean everywhere, lambs are gamboling about. It is like that scene from Bambi, when  Bambi first goes to the meadow and meets Thumper and Flower. It is technicolor. But it is real life, not a cartoon. It finally erupts into a horticultural orgasm of peonies and roses.

Summer slides in, undulating and sensuous, the afterglow of spring. Everything moves slowly, and it is not even hot. In fact you can sit in the sun, and not feel you have to slather yourself in sunscreen and protective gear. You can actually enjoy it. The kids go down and climb around in the river with the puppy, wild strawberries are picked for summer pudding. Summer here does not want to kill you, it wants to embrace you. The world does not dry up and blow away here, it does not burn to the ground. Summer does not want to annihilate you, it just wants you to slow down and relax a bit.

I am just now starting to see Autumn, and relish the knowledge that I will be here for ALL of it next year, and I am going to make lots of apple crumble, and take long walks with my very mature dog.

I am just now realizing that this is a love letter. I am a passionate lover, who is forced to take my leave from a beautiful embrace. I know I have to go, but dammit, I don’t want to!

I will reluctantly climb into that horrible metal can, to be flung across the world. I am not afraid of flying, but I sort of resent it. I don’t think it is natural. If we were meant to fly, we would have wings. It is not part of being human, and it is made even less so by the humans who ship you about.

I have carefully crafted my re-entry. I will not be diving head first into America. I will be very slowly wading in. we are headed to San Francisco, often called the most European of American cities. I grew up there, and I think that is why Europe is so comfortable for me. I love it there. It is home, and a place that gives me great comfort. It will be icy cold, and the leaves will all be in color. The food is amazing, friends and family are there.

Then we will drive slowly down the 101 to Southern California. I will not lie and say we like it there. We don’t, which makes it all the much harder to leave Scotland. But we have created a home there, something of a retreat from the surrounding environs. I will pray it doesn’t blow away, or burn up, cuddle close with children and pets,  be very grateful for how lucky we are, and dream of my lover across the sea.


THX – T.



The Ring



Ring - Wedding

A controversial topic. Though about leaving it off the blog as I do not want this to blow up into a “bun fight”, but that would be silly to do. It is an important part of the wedding and deserves to be included.
Many of you may have heard the podcastwhere Ron and I tell the story of the ring. He had written in the script that the ring was made from a nail, and I flipped out. First of all because I didn’t want it to change from the book, and argue changes a lot with Ron. But it is his show, and he has story considerations that are important in terms of how you structure a drama for the screen. This is his area, and he is a genius in it, so I make my case and then let him do what he is so good at. He has respected my opinion a lot and has made many compromises to accommodate our fan perspective. I absolutely trust him on this front.
Anyway, after much shouting and stomping, he agreed to forego the nail, and we started searching around for another option, and one of us came up with the key.
Then came fifty million key ideas, I will post later.

In the end we settled on this one. Personally, I love it. I am not a fan of ornate jewelry, but my taste is not the point, it is about what a village blacksmith could make in a couple of hours. I also wanted something that would reflect Claire, and what we have tried to do with her design wise. Simple, elegant, and somewhat masculine, as a way of setting her apart as a modern woman catapulted into the 18th century. If you look carefully, you will see it in all of her costumes. She is never frilly. I always imagine her removing or rejecting all the bows and fripperies so common at that time.

**** I forgot this, it just came to me. There is the scene where Jamie and Claire are having sex, and he is most possessive. Her arms are thrown back and she is aware of her two rings scraping against the wall. That scene informed the design of the new ring.That scene was in my mind as I began the concept.

Anyway, here it is. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE be respectful in your postings. So far we have maintained a very lovely tenor here. There will be, and should be disagreements, but let us all take deep breaths on controversial topics. I promise I will. Maybe we can all imagine that the person we are speaking to is sitting across from us, and think if we would say that to them in the same room.


A Movement Worth Supporting.




Rocks DSCN8187 muscovite mica Mica-from-alstead
mica-flakes-medium-grade-1066811 mica-flakes-coarse-grade-1066806

Many of you have been asking about shaving mica. I don’t know if there is a great way to describe how to do this.

But if you look closely at the large rock, you can see that there are very fine, thin layers. We VERY carefully slide a needle under a layer, and slowly pull it off. It is not easy, but you get good at it after a while, and it becomes very habit forming. Then you get carried away seeing how many times you can slice a layer. But if you do it TOO many times and take it down to only one VERY thin layer, you lose the refracting quality, and it just becomes flat and shiny.

We really wanted it to refract light, so we stopped at two or three layers on each shard.

Welcome and getting started


Hi everyone,

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