Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Last but not least…The Raven Dress.



Like I said earlier, this is where we really started designing.

I love this dress. We call it The Raven Dress, for obvious reasons. This dress is all about the materials. I was in a fabric store in London, and this fabric got up off of the shelf, and said, “HEY!!! I am Geillis’s widows weeds”. HAD to buy it, absolutely no choice. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but there it was, and it was glorious. It looks like feathers. I have no idea what the fabric content is, it was an end of bolt special, but I know it doesn’t have a natural bone in it’s body.

I started sketching. I knew I wanted it to be the most outrageous mourning gown one could imagine. And I knew I wanted white in it. Lots of it. We found this amazing white linen, that looked like sea foam. Put them together according to me sketch. There was no embellishment, the fabric was all the embellishment that was needed. It still wasn’t quite right, it need a bit more wild added in. So hit the white with scissors and started shedding it further, and wild emerged.

The dress looked like it would fly away on its own. The final touch was a pair of wings, made of a bit of beautiful black, antique lace I had been saving for a costume just like this.

Pretty great stuff, if I do say so myself.




28 thoughts on “Last but not least…The Raven Dress.

    1. annalapping

      I just watched that. kept trying to figure out what the fabric was and what the white part was made of. Not enough close ups of the dress, but I did notice the wings. Great touch.

  1. woolfarmgal

    Wow..so much texture that is makes my fingers itch…my eyes get to see what my fingers yearn for. Definitely suits the wild spirit that is Geillis’s. Your costumes define the characters.

  2. eurobikegirl

    Thank you once again for adroitly reminding people that it is about design, and the wonderful/awful things that go with it, rather than a lecture on “historical authenticity”.
    I continually enjoy your blog because you convey so well the balancing game of a costume designer. Thank you. I loved this one.

  3. ChristinePincince

    Haha and look at her not being able to not be strutting in that wild alive gown like the lovely peacock she is…another bulls eye dear Terry the pro

  4. mageee

    It has been said, stunning gowns by such a talented, creative designer — they are so very, very lucky to have you sharing your talents, as are we so lucky to benefit from all of the staff and crew. Thank you, thank you, and as well, Diana, Ron B, et cetera!

  5. Karin

    The fabric makes me want to run my fingers through it to hear its rustle. Love the textures but the front panelling is amazing. Thank you for the insight

  6. ChristinePincince

    When that dress was ripped open in the courtroom scene I could actually feel it….I was telling the tv…no no save that dress! ok so I really get into the thing ….

    1. martasullivan2014

      I was thinking the same. It was terrible to see that beautiful dress ripped open, as well as Claire’s. I hope that you had made several or that they were repairable.

  7. creative1

    I am a NYC costume designer for over 35 years and have been following your blog. You have an interesting ability to combine ” historically correct ” with creative whimsy. If you were to fill a room with your costumed mannequins one could walk up to each and know who wears the garment. I never gets enough of this type of insightful designing. Thanks for the blog, I enjoy the close up pics it gives time to admire the details!

    1. mwdesigns2014

      Here is a terrific example of how one holds onto their visions and then puts them to use when the calling arrives. Such a stunning piece of functional art; it encapsulates the essence of Geillis!

  8. Donna

    Terry – you should win a award for your costume design . Every outfit just blows me away – the fabrics, the design and all the love that goes into them are brilliant – fabulous, amazing, gorgeous – I am so jealous that I can’t come to be your sewing minion.

  9. Purl99

    I will say it again…I am so glad that you are giving us up close and personals about the costumes. TV just does not do it justice and that is a crying shame!

  10. LisaW

    You completely Amaze me with your designs!!! I am in awe of you and your team!! I need to pay closer attention to the materials you are working with on these characters. 😀

  11. calamarali

    Each week I think “That is my favorite piece” but this dress is PHENOMENAL! My husband works in TV/Film as a music supervisor and is the guy who put SIA’s song at the end of 6FTU. That music and imagery combinations is considered on of the best ever in TV. This dress is your SIA song. I don’t think there is anyone half as talented as you working today.

  12. “Had to buy it, absolutely no choice. I had no idea what I was going to do with it……” Terry, when I read this, I just started smiling! Let’s make a toast to all the women who are creative, love fabric and have bought it with no idea what they will use it for, or for that matter, if they will ever use it. I have yardage that I bought over 20 years ago, have had to explain to my husband what is in the box labeled SPECIAL that has moved with us through the building of 3 houses……yardage that I take out, look at, pet, stroke and sigh over and I still do not know if I will ever do anything with it. And that’s perfectly ok:)

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