Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

The Green Plaid


This dress is a masterpiece I must credit to my incredible team led by our woman’s cutter, Georgina Diaz.

(to see full size, click on pictures)


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41 thoughts on “The Green Plaid

  1. Marian Pallazola

    That dress is to die for. I’m going to take some time this Winter to make a dress from that period just because. I’m on the hunt for the perfect fabric and am looking at the MacNeil tartan as a possibility. This will be my template. Wish me luck!

  2. bonnydoones

    The green plaid: Absolutely breathtaking. All of the clothing is wonderful…I find myself just staring at the clothing on the characters, both men and women, and imagining the creativity and the work that went into making this all … come to life!

  3. outlanderbooklover

    It really is a stunning dress – all those pleats! The pattern on the bodice. You can see the love that was poured into the design and the making of that dress. Thank you for putting so much of yourselves and such hard work into this dress and all the clothes for Outlander.

  4. Michelle L Perez

    Last night I said.. “My GOD, what a beautiful traveling gown”. Any luck we will have some Claire costumes showing up in the costume sections of the Halloween shops?

    side note: my youngest daughter watched last nights episode with me, and she pointed out the Kilts the men were wearing. Apparently her friends father play the Pipes for our Fire Fighters Fife and Drum Corp. And he came to school, fully decked out in his Kilt and Sporran and played for them… (she’s in the band).. and she noticed the Kilts from last night’s episode.. and was BLOWN away that MEN used to dress like that all the time. And asked how they pleated the tartans? Can you give an insight into this?

    1. terrydresbach

      I need to make a video of how a plaid was made.9 yard of fabric laid out on the ground and then pleated by hand and belted flat. Then the wearer, lays down on top of it, belts it around him stands up and tucks and pins it as it suits him. Complicated but simple.

      1. Rayma Nesmith Farlow

        I made kilts for my husband and son for Halloween last year. I was having a terrible time figuring out how to pleat 9 yards of material. I had already ripped it out twice because it was just WRONG. I finally searched on YouTube “pleating a kilt”. There are some really good videos of guys hand pleating a kilt. Watching these, it finally clicked for me and I was able to finish the kilt in short order. Thanks again for your wonderful blog. It is so great to see all of this come together.

  5. Georgeanna Tryban

    The Green Plaid is amazing as is the other dress Claire wears with the women setting color in wool fabric. It made me wonder how many (changes of) clothes she would have been able to take with her on a trip like this and whether as a costumer you were able to take a few liberties with reality to enlarge her on-screen wardrobe.

    1. terrydresbach

      I always make sure I can justify things for the story. The writers wanted to be able to show the day changes, and our Highlanders NEVER change their clothes, so it was up to Claire. Plus they wanted a “respectable” dress she could wear in an upcoming sequence. So, I ask,
      1.”where do we put the clothes? ummmmmmmmm.
      2.”Is there a wagon?” YES there is.
      3.”Is it big enough for Mrs. Fitz to send a few things (2 skirts, 3 bodices and 1 dress),as she wants Claire to be presentable?” Yes, it is.

      Okay, it is justified as far as I am concerned. I can always take liberties, and many do. Producers and directors rarely care about such things, and studios hate it when actresses don’t change their clothes constantly. But I HAVE to justify it story wise. I am the one always watching and saying, “So where did she get that ??????”
      It will always be carefully considered on Outlander.

  6. Brenda Cunningham (@PunkiBrenda)

    This was such a well thought out thing to mention the fact that the men do not change Claire does and yes the wagon keeps her clothing that said this is such a well done design for travel it is perfect for warmth,comfort,blending into landscape but yet it shouts beauty. You can see the time put into the making of this and it comes out onscreen so nicely! Love the pockets into the skirt whereby she keeps her hands warm.Im so very pleased with ALL of this entire production so outstanding!

  7. Stephanie Lehman (@StephanieinSD)

    I. Love. This. Dress! The pleating, the colors – gorgeous. Thank you for posting the full-size photos so we can see the detail – it is truly a work of art. Kudos to your team (really on all the wonderful costumes so far!).

    Is the tartan one dyed and woven especially for the show? What clan? And from the episodes we’ve seen so far – what has been your favorite costume?

  8. Betty Breier

    The gown is gorgeous as is the shawl. I keep wondering how the shawl stays up on the shoulders though. I can see it is fastened at the bottom but how does that keep it from sliding down? I love all the costumes and the knit work on the show. Look forward to that almost as much as the storyline.

  9. Laura Lough (@TheUniqueSheep)

    All of the costumes are fantastic. I am one of those annoying people who tends to watch historical TV dramas and completely ruin it for everyone else by criticizing the costumes and since I’ve read and loved the Outlander books long before I heard there was a TV show I was well prepared to be disappointed. So imagine my surprise when I was left with nothing to complain about? So no complaints but I do have plenty of questions. What resources did you use as research for the knits you include? Claire is almost always wearing at least one knit item. There is plenty of information out there about Fairisle and Shetland knitting but I’ve had a hard time finding much about Highland knitting traditions, with the possible exception of kilt hose. I have to imagine that with their island cousins so busy with their knitting needles, the Highland women must have also picked up the needles. I need to know more!!

    1. terrydresbach

      Laura, if you scroll down, I did a piece on knitting.
      I am glad you are liking our costumes. When doing a period piece, you know that a firing squad is ready for you, so I am thrilled when people who know historical costume are happy. It is a very fine line, balancing time, money, available research and the fact that you are not often the last word on what goes on the actors bodies. there is tremens pressure these days to modernize history.
      We have been very lucky on that last front, on this show. But that did not get us over a seven week period to make hundreds and hundreds of costumes.
      Anyway, I digress. Not a lot out there in terms of research, you are right. You are imagining that Highland women MUST have knit, so did we.
      Tricky thing about cultural genocide, does not leave a lot of evidence behind.

      1. Laura Lough (@TheUniqueSheep)

        I studied costuming in college with a focus on historical design but found myself unable to deal with um, well, directors telling me that things weren’t in the budget or not in line with their artistic concept! So I have great admiration for someone who can walk that delicate line and satisfy the director/producer/etc enough to remain employed, enthrall a diverse audience and balance it all with historical accuracy.

        I did see your blog post with some photos of extant garments but was optimistically hoping that if pressed for more details you would say “Oh yes of course, simply look up this author/museum exhibit/website and you’ll find everything you’ve ever wanted to know about knitting in the Highlands in the mid 1700’s”.

        I must say that I was shocked when I read on your blog that you had such a short period of time to prepare all of the costumes– and only a couple of weeks to garb your star, at that! I never would have guessed that from having watched the episodes that have come out so far. I’m tempted to go back and re-watch them with that bit of information in mind. I imagine I’ll be even more impressed!

        Now…one more question about the knitting. Do you happen to know about the materials used? I don’t know what your staff is like and if you said “just make a shawl that looks about like this” or if you were involved in all the details (with such a short period of time- how could you be?) but I’m curious about the wool used. Was it from Scottish sheep? I believe that in this period the Highland short tailed sheep (similar to the Shetlands) was nearly gone and had been replaced mostly with the Scottish Black Face for wool production. Or perhaps the highlanders traded with those island cousins for a bit of shetland wool? I raise Shetland sheep myself and so I know a bit about them but once again I find a big gaping hole in my knowledge of what was happening just a hop to the south.

      2. Donna Antaramian

        My mother taught me top sew when I was 5 years old and she was rather fussy that a 5 years did it correctly – so needless to say I have such a love for fine fabrics. Claire’s clothing in particular are just fabulous – I have to say this green plaid dress is just stunning and speechless on the workmanship – the plaid matching is perfect. You tell Georgina her attention detail was not missed by me.

  10. JessKeller

    I am going to be recreating this gown for a friend (well, it will be inspired by it, she wants it to be open front & lace over a separate stomacher). I am curious, is there a reason the skirt is pleated towards the front instead of the back?
    It is lovely. I hand sew a lot of historical clothing & would dearly love to get my hands on the tartans from the show. Gorgeous!

  11. velosewer

    Now that I’ve seen each episode a few times, I’ve bought similar plaid types for my autumn/winter sewing ahead.
    It’s hot and humid here now but this will keep me busy in anticipation until April:-)

  12. berryd2511

    Is there anyway you have photos of the from and back without the shawl? I’m considering attempting to make something similar. Thanks! Love the costuming!

  13. theladygodiva

    Hi! How does this dress close? I’m used to 18th-cent-dresses closing at the front only, which this one clearly isn’t, so is it laced at the back, hidden under the scarf? Thanks for lifting the secret 😉

  14. Rebecca Stewart

    Bowing repeatedly to your genius! I’m a stage costume designer and historical dress is my 1st love. I was invited last year in the Carolinas to give talks about my interest in Outlander costumes, and based them on your “Claire Meets Geillis” costumes. Hope you think they did you justice. They’re on my FB Page “Outlandish Clothier”.

    This year my talk is based on “Bree Meets Jamie” and I would truly appreciate knowing where to get the tartan for the Claire/Bree skirt in that scene. TIA

    You are a Goddess!

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