Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Monthly Archives: April 2016

Paris Moodboards/Pitch


I thought that tonight while I wait for everyone to watch Episode 202, I might post the Moodboards I created for Paris. I needed visuals to pitch to everyone for the visual direction I wanted to go in

Having spent Season 1 trying to overcome the issues created by candlelight, I thought I would try to really use it this and the surrounding darkness, this time around. I wanted the rich colors to emerge out of the darkn. We have seen the Bon Bon colors of the Court of Louis XVI, a LOT. Not only did I not want to do it again, but research supported deeper, richer colours in the court of his father.

It was a potentially risky move as it meant possible lighting issues, in a season that was threatening to grind us all into 18th century dust. But it worked, pretty much.

These images are just to establish tone, colour and mood, don’t get hung up on any particular modern clothing or costumes.

Though you will see Jamie and St. Germaine costumes in here.

We all covered the walls of our department with these images. they were everywhere, keeping us on the right path.


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Confession. These costumes, I barely remember. I wish I could give everyone a deep, meaningful account of the thought process that went into these costumes. But I can’t.

We were deeply deeply into Season Two costume making when it came time to get Claire and Jamie on the ship from Scotland to France at the end of Season One. We were up to our eyeballs.  We knew we would need to make a new costume for Jamie, and that was manageable for us. Our men’s cutting team are amazing wizards. But we lost our women’s cutting team in the middle of Season Two prep, and were struggling to get all of our women’s costumes Done, and were using a rotation of temporary cutters. Cutters are the members of a costume team who translate the designers sketches into pattern, then cuts the fabric and supervises the costumes construction. Essential members of the department. Losing them was a terrible blow to us, and we were really scrambling to make all of our deadlines. So having to make another costume for Claire was going to be tough.

I remembered that we still had, one of the very first costumes we had ever made for Claire somewhere in the racks. I think it was the second costume we’d made for her, and for some reason we decided not to use it, and never finished it. We dug it up and found our solution. We could finish it without having to design and cut an entirely new gown.And it was actually quite perfect for a traveling costume, procured for Claire by the monks. A pretty gown, but nothing spectacular. It was completely believable that it would have belonged to someone else.

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One of the things I loved best about this gown was the lovely embroidered stomacher we had made. It came from a piece of embroidered fabric we picked up shopping at the Portobello Market in London. It was also one of the first examples I had seen of metal plate embroidery, which a had completely fallen in love with, and we ultimately used on Claire’s wedding dress.

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We didn’t even have an embroidery team at that point in the very beginning of Season One. But Liz Boulton had let me in on her skill as a historical embroidery. I asked if she could embroider a petticoat to match the piece of antique fabric, and we ended up with a very sweet gown. It was perfect for embarking on a new life in France.

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Jamie was an entirely different matter. He had to be smuggled out of France after suffering through soul shattering torture at the hands of Black Jack Randall. He had been stripped bare of everything, literally, figuratively, and emotionally, and brought back from the brink by Claire and his own strong core and will to live, that we had seen many times.

He too was given clothes by the monks. We dressed him as a middle class merchant, trying to do everything possible to make him look unremarkable, a task as difficult to accomplish wth the very real Sam Heughan as it was with the fictional Jamie. We made a costume out of linen, and topped it with a tricorn hat. Very un- Jamie.

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But they both passed.

There are two other costumes of note as we travel with our heroes into France.

*** Note: I have searched high and low for a pic of Jared. I am putting in the description anyway, because he is important. I will try to find one ***

First we meet Jamie’s cousin Jared, a Scotsman living in France. A wealthy and successful wine merchant, Jared is solidly bourgeois, wearing silk as was common in France, but fairly plain and simple. We kept him in earth tones, as a nod to Scotland.

Jared was so important to us. He is the justification we desperately needed when it came to the costumes. Jamie and Claire needed to move in the very wealthy circles of  the French Court. It would have been impossible without the appropriate wardrobe. Jared offers to bankroll them, making it possible for them to move into the inner circle, dressed in the most fashionable attire.

Our next character is very important on the journey. The Comte St. Germaine. He is the first representative of the French Aristocracy that we see. He is elegant and dangerous. I also wanted to dress him in colors we would have never used in Scotland. I put him in brown and pink after seeing a beautiful 18th century painting of a man wearing those colors. Rich, decadent and very sensual.

He was our first look at what was to come when Jamie and Claire finally arrived in Paris.

This was one of our first embroidered men’s costumes.

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Buttons!! We were coming to terms with how quickly we were going to run out of buttons, and decided to start making our own.

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Claire 40’s. I should really do a whole blog about now her at this point. But I am going to fall seriously behind. I think her clothes speak for themselves. They are all repeats of her clothing in S1. Just didn’t seem like she would have any interest in clothing at this point in the story. One interesting thing, when Frank comes to her bedroom for the big talk, she is wearing her negligee from the honeymoon, under Mrs. Graham’s robe.

The only piece we made for her was the rather sad suit she wears on the plane, something she buys for the sake of propriety, nothing more.

I would love to post picture of it, but this damned site will not allow me to upload pictures, AGAIN!!!!!!!! ARRRRGGGH. I wanted to do another post.

Fingers crossed I can do one on Sunday!!!




I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to do this season. There are soooooo many costumes, there is no way to cover them all after each episode. So I think I will just have to do the best I can with the time available. Whatever we miss, I can always come back around and cover in the next droughtlander.

There are there are enough costumes in S2 to cover 5 droughtlanders.

If there is something that enough people are requesting, I’ll do a post on it. Put the request on Twitter.

for anyone who hasn’t read before, I try to cover each costume with as much detail as possible, I also do posts on random experiences and thoughts. Whatever comes to mind.

Last thing…

Last season the blog was a pretty pleasant place, but last season had very little off screen drama.

That said, this is MY house. I have a zero tolerance against toxic, rude behavior. Questions and civil criticism or disagreement is absolutely welcome. But in order to post a question, it has to be approved. If it is rude or unkind, hurtful, then it won’t get approved. Pretty simple. If you come to my house, you cannot spit on the floor.

okay, that’s that. Let’s get started…

**** well, maybe I shouldn’t have sent that yet! My laptop is in the shop, and I thought I could post from my pad. But without photoshop, it is hard to modify the pics to the right size. I am working on it!!!!

A Must Read about what goes on BTS…



This is such a great piece. I had to post it.

Why? Because it takes the time to tell you about what really happens behind the scenes. Because it interviews Jim, our Armourer, who has an astonishing job, and works his ASS OFF.

It is just interested in what we, the crew really do behind the camera.

It’s also really nice to read what you actually said, in the order and context you said it in!

And because it says I am effortlessly cool, LOL.