Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Q & A



How many copies of one costume do you generally make, specially for those that are worn in many scenes? For Claire’s dresses that get a rough treatment- like the dress she is wearing in episode 8 do you have one that is made to tear and be put back for retakes or do you sacrifice one of the copies ? Do the doubles also have a version of most of the main costumes ? Can you recycle some when it comes to extras and how ‘fully sewn’ are those costumes ( how permanently put together are they) ? BTW I just love the sleeves on the wedding dress the raw edges gives such an ephemeral quality !!

It completely depends on what is going to happen to any costume during filming, as well as how many overall costumes the character wears, over what period of time.

On a show like Outlander, it is particularly challenging.

Claire has only a few costumes that we made just one of. One wedding dress and one Gathering dress. She has a minimum of 4 of just about every costume. (only two copies of her riding jacket and her green plaid dress). But her main wardrobe, has about 6 of everything. Because it goes through hell, it gets dragged through mud, thrown onto the ground, ripped, torn, in pouring rain and on horseback and every other possible condition. So far Diana has not written Claire into scenes involving forest fires. And all she gets for all of this season, is essentially 4 main costumes that she wears day in and day out.

Her white dress, we made 12 of those, because we did everything to that dress except light it on fire.

Now, with our Highlanders, we have to make a lot, because they only have one or two costumes, and they also go through hell and back. So we made 6- 8 of their costumes.

But characters like Geillis and Colum, Mrs. Fitz, we only make one of their costumes. They don’t have major action or stunts, so we can take the chances, cross our fingers that they don’t spill lunch on themselves.

Stunt and camera doubles wear one of the multiple costumes.

Extras costumes are fully made. They have to be just as believable (maybe even more so), than our cast. So they are permanent costumes. Hopefully we will be on your screens for many years, and the extras costumes will be used over and over, as they travel from Scotland to Frasers Ridge, and everywhere in between.

I love those sleeves too.

3 thoughts on “Q & A

  1. Line Champagne

    Thanks Terry, I hope you get to do costumes for this series for many, many years ! Every aspect of this production is superb, of course I have a weak spot for your work.

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