Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer


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.

15 thoughts on “Mica

  1. mandywhelan96mandywhelan96

    Amazing! I definitely noticed that shimmer in some of the still photos but the dress goes by quite quickly in the show so I didn’t notice it as much – too many other things to gaze at!

  2. AvatarKaren

    The dress is stunning…incredible! I seem to remember a photo of a sketch of it on a chalkboard in your office, correct? How did you ever come up with the clever idea to use mica?

    I just returned from an exhibit of Downton Abbey costumes at Winterthur in Delaware. The exhibit displays the costumes and narratives about how the designers intertwined antiques fabrics with new to create the clothing…fascinating! The costumes of Outlander are certainly worthy of an exhibit. The research, designs choices, and development of each costume well deserves recognition! Are there any considerations for such an event?

    Thanks for your unyielding effort to present such a beautiful

  3. AvatarPamela

    Lot’s of work went into this beautiful dress…I know many ours! Again, much respect to those who put in all the time to get the job done b/c the dress is gorgeous

    Was mica the only rock/mineral u looked at/ considered?

  4. BrookeBrooke

    This has the coolest effect. Much more of an organic quality than sequins anyway, IMO, even tho you could have used them for that time period, according to so&so expert blogger. Pffft. Don’t like it? Get your own show. Mica. Claire would love the fact that it’s a mineral, no?

  5. Avatarkukrae

    Oh, Terry! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I loved the idea of this! We use mica in scrapbooking, but the commercial available mica is so darn small. I’d like to try this technique to get bigger flakes to use as the background on a card.

    You’ve made my weekend!

    Safe travels to LA…I’m sorry you will be missing Autumn in Scotland! I am a relocated Ohioan in Los Angeles in the film/tv industry and I desperately miss my Autumn of home!!


  6. Avatarclaireokc

    I thought this was one of the most fascinating components of the whole wedding gown. The other day I looked on the grown and discovered some mica and though of this and have now set out to see what sort of fun surface design this would make on some silk. It’s almost fiber-ish in how it comes apart in layers but it’s fascinating stuff. Loved how it made the under layer glisten in the wedding gown.

  7. Avatarkukrae

    Oh my goodness, this is a BLAST!!! I purchased a piece of mica because I simply had to find out about this technique and I am having so much fun! The mica piece itself is fascinating!

    Thank you, Terry, for coming up with such an interesting technique!! I may not use it in clothing, but it’s definitely going to be the background on a handmade card at some point!! Hmm…wonder if you could color it with alcohol inks/copics & still have it retain its pearlescent properties? Going to have to experiment!!


  8. Pingback: Using Mica Flakes in Costuming « adafruit industries blog

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