Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Tag Archives: sketch





Colum’s banyan. We quilted linen and lined it with fur. I was really invested in this costume. I wanted Colum to have a garment he would wear in his private quarters. A garment that was designed by Colum to give as much comfort as possible. Since he is in constant pain, it seemed as if his nerves would be very sensitive, and to surround himself in very soft fur would reduce the discomfort. The same with the fur throw he keeps over his legs. I made it in a natural colored linen so that it would be reminiscent of a hospital garment, very simple.


Claire – 18th Century surgery


Claire - Surgery

So anyway, let’s get on with why we are all here. Colum McKenzie!!


Claire Sketch – Castle Leoch


Another very early sketch. Before Caitriona and before Mrs. Fitz started knitting.

Geillis Sketch


Before casting. It says a lot how close the sketches are to the actual actors cast. That’s not because I can see the future, but because I am a fan of the book. I drew what was in my head, which I think was a fairly good approximation of what Diana wrote (except Dougal as Ron, of course). When they cast, they got pretty damned close. Certainly as close as could be expected. Lotte Verbeek IS Geillis through and through.

Black Jack Sketch


When Jack Randall was Jude Law.

Jamie Sketch


This was so very, very long ago. His costume just looks nothing like this. But it is fun to see the genesis. This was done right after Sam was cast.

Claire’s Peignoir


Another requested item. Sorry, I have no picture of Claire wearing the peignoir (marvelous word, sadly rarely used). I DID very much want a peignoir, not a nightgown and robe. This represents Claire’s optimism and hope for the honeymoon that couldn’t happen because of the war. So many couples of the time had to marry¬†quickly, while one to the other partner were on leave. And you got married with the knowledge you might never see each other again. What an investment, what optimism.

And then you are reunited after a brutal war, and have to try to push all that you have experienced and get back to normal?? What is that?

But there must have been a tremendous longing in so many women to rekindle and connect to some sort of hope and romance. Claire certainly speaks about trying to make that connection to Frank, in the book. I always imagined that she might decide to buy herself a new suit and a new peignoir. I wanted her to have seen some picture of an actress in a glamorous peignoir, and decide to buy it, completely out of character, just like the vase. A glamorous peignoir, a symbol of love and hope for a very practical and down to earth woman.


I am including some of my research images.

Back when Dougal was Ron


Back before I knew what a kilt really was, before I knew a damned thing about Highlanders. I have learned an awful lot in a year and a half. Wow, can’t even imagine…



Sketch of Claire



Claire - Stones DR 1 copy

This sketch of the “shift” dress was done over a year ago, before Catriona or Sam were cast. I locked myself in a London hotel room and sketched for weeks.
As you can see, the final dress was a bit different, button instead of bow, 3/4 sleeves and a leather belt. But that is the process, it is an organic thing. Things change and evolve.

I guess it was pretty successful. It was such a pain to design and then to make. So many prototypes. But it is starting to grow on me…