Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Monthly Archives: September 2014

And …


Pearls #2

Baroque pearls with gold roundels.

I didn’t want such a long strand. But you win some, you lose some.

The Materials


Gown and sleeve fabrics. We tried to avoid this fabric and weave our own, but once we saw it on a camera test under candlelight, we knew it was the right one. It just did the proper shimmer. Now we have a lot of beautiful silver wool, waiting for Season Two.

Here is the mica. We all took turns shaving mica during stressful times. It was a very zen activity, chop wood, carry water. Saved our sanity. We started with three chunks of mica about 4″ long by 3″ thick. We shaved them down to a large container of paper thin flakes.

The sleeves. We have this beautiful little smocking machine that operates with a hand crank. Makes beautiful, magical things.

Here is our sleeve. Ethereal. I love these sleeves!


This is one of our leaves on the embroidery frame. We made hundreds of leaves and acorns, all by hand. You can see the metal strands very clearly,  it is an amazing process. Extraordinary work!


And finally, a closeup on the stomacher, All the leaves, stems and acorns have been painted to look as though they have oxidized, giving them lovely tone and depth. The sticking on the silk reflects the stitching done on the sleeve. Just stunning work by my amazing crew.

You can also see what happened to the top of our bodice. there was another piece to the dress, a band of very translucent silver fabric, that bordered the top of the gown, bringing the neckline up a few inches and leaving her less bare. But when we were shooting, the taking off and on of the cloak, totally destroyed it. it was just too delicate to withstand the dragging of that heavy wool off and on. We stood on the side of the set dying a little, every time it went off and on, but they are never going to stop shooting so you can repair something like that. too time consuming. So, Claire reveals a bit more than we planned, but Jamie no doubt enjoyed it!

The Sketch


Wedding Sketch

The Inspiration


This dress was displayed in “candlelight”. Incredible.

rose bertin 18th-century-court-gown-cloth-of-silver 5abf319bb7168953ae01821e3f188078


These paintings provided the inspiration for the neckline.

q 1761 Esther Denner (daughter of Balthasar Denner) Queen Charlotte, Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1744 - 1818. Queen of George III About 1763 bodice 481px-Alexander_Roslin_021


This piece is a beautiful waistcoat Liz found on Ebay. Incredibly fine work. We think there are little bits of mirror in it, encircled with metal embroidery. And a bazillion little spangles ( the equivalent of today’s sequins, but metal not plastic).








Claire and Jamie Wedding




















Claire and Frank wedding



We really wanted to indicate the war years, before and after. Claire and Frank are getting married just as the war is breaking out, and while there is still optimism in the air, it is a more somber time. Ron wanted the clothes to be very faded as in an old photo, so we used tones of grey and brown. But Claire is in love, and it shows up in her jaunty little hat, tipped over one eye. We wanted her suit to carry through some of the deco lines of the 30s, but showing the direction of women’s fashions to come during the war years. It is a very tailored, masculine style, nothing frilly or frivolous.
This suits Claire’s character very well, and tells us a lot about who she is. She is a strong and savvy young woman, filled with optimism.
The later scenes with Frank, these are the stolen moments in the midst of war, and the peachy blush color of the peignoir coveys the romance they are trying to hold onto in spite of the war that surrounds them.


More wonderful art


from Coleen Madden

Welcome our new baby!



We have a forum!!!!!!!
Go to the top of the page and look for the forum link!

Change to the blog


We will be making a change tonight, and there will be a forum section added to the blog. There will be moderators. Respectful debate, or differences of opinion will be CELEBRATED, and welcomed.
Combative, aggressive or rude comments WILL BE DELETED, and if the negative behavior persists, posters will be blocked.

But I/we are very excited to add the forum. It should add a wonderful gathering place for fans (and anyone else, of the books or show), to gather.

You have to  register to join the forum, makes it a bit harder for trolls, but no obligation beyond that.

First stop…The Wedding.



Pick a song that suits your mood, or play the soundtrack!





So, tomorrow there is a wedding I believe you have all been invited to.
Thought it might be fun to tell stories of courtship and marriage.

I will start it off, by telling you a lovely story, or at least I think it is.

I met Ron on Carnivale. He was my boss. I thought he was kinda fabulous, but he was my boss.
Well, it was an absolutely horrible show to work on. Insanely beautiful and wildly creative, but so absolutely out of control that I went blind in one eye, one day from the stress. After a van of costumes suspiciously burned up, and I had a crew from hell that I was trying to manage, Ron and I had more and more meetings to try and do damage control.
I was smitten by this time, while trying to talk myself out of having a crush on my boss.

It was pretty late one evening, and we had been having a disaster control meeting in my office. We’d been talking about all the horrid details, and drinking scotch at the same time.

We were just about done, when he said, “I have something else I need to talk to you about”

I was flooded with terror. “Here it comes, this is where I get fired.”

Ron says. “you know when we are in meetings, and you are sitting over on the side and I am up in front?”

(WHAT the hell ????????? I am thinking.)

“Well”, he says, “Everytime you lean forward to say something, it is as if the lights get brighter in the room, and then when you lean back, they go dim again”

I will tell you the rest of the story after the wedding episode.