Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

The Inspiration


This dress was displayed in “candlelight”. Incredible.

rose bertin 18th-century-court-gown-cloth-of-silver 5abf319bb7168953ae01821e3f188078


These paintings provided the inspiration for the neckline.

q 1761 Esther Denner (daughter of Balthasar Denner) Queen Charlotte, Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1744 - 1818. Queen of George III About 1763 bodice 481px-Alexander_Roslin_021


This piece is a beautiful waistcoat Liz found on Ebay. Incredibly fine work. We think there are little bits of mirror in it, encircled with metal embroidery. And a bazillion little spangles ( the equivalent of today’s sequins, but metal not plastic).








17 thoughts on “The Inspiration

  1. Avatarmque

    It looks like silver tissue! Oh my goodness, it positively glows. I can see your inspiration especially with how delicate it looks. Now there’s a panniere! How did she walk through a door? In and out of a coach?

  2. Avatarcoco

    Also who are the women in the portraits and where are they hanging? Could you share the year and artist? These are the most wonderful inspiration and am so pleased that you shared them with us…The dress is phenomenal…

  3. Avatarbluewindows

    Love all the historical paintings and the embroidery. You reminded me that I had a dress in the ’60’s that was elaborately embroidered and had little mirrors sewn into the embroidery. Indian embroidery I think, but it created a wonderful visual effect especially when you moved in the dress. When the light caught it there were subtle sparkles. The top dress looks French.

  4. AvatarPamela

    I like the shimmer of the first photo and can see how it glimmer in candlelight. The soft material along the neckline and sleeves gives the dress a delicate feel against the shining mica –as the dress lights up, there’s that softness around the bosom and arms. It brings focus back to her skin. I didn’t realize all the work that went into the embroidery — so much more respect for those who created the design! The strong but soft wedding gown is perfect –a perfect metaphor to Claire, Jamie (as well), her two husbands, her feelings towards Jamie…at least to me anyway…

        1. AvatarConnie Sandlin

          Thank you, Liz, for saying that 5 of you did the embroidery, because I had been actually wondering if you did all of it by yourself, and if you did, how you managed to get anything else done in your life! Somebody posted somewhere that the finished dress weighed something like 50 pounds. Do you know how much the final product weighed, what with all that fabric, metal, and mica?

  5. AvatarAmazingJulz

    Liz is amazing – the work she’s shown on Twitter of her tapestry gigs for the castle hangings is just marvelous! She did a step-by-step of building three-dimensional royal embroidery that was to die for. I know these women had no TV, but the work gals used to do was just exquisite. Liz is one of those gals!

    1. AvatarNettie

      I went to historical gown display in Los Angeles in the 80s (spectacular!) and they showed how these dresses were worn over a hinged hoopskirt contraption. Hidden on the sides of the skirt were handles that the wearer Pulled and this lifted the sides and collapsed them up towards the wearer like an accordion pleat . Incredible what has been created over time for fashion.

  6. Pingback: Behind the Costumes: OUTLANDER « Nerdist

  7. Avatargrahamlass

    The book Terry referenced ‘Dress in the Eighteetn-Century’ by Ribeiro is currenty at Strands bookstore /NYC in the Fashion section for $75.
    Enjoy the illustrations and insightful history this book contains.
    (Tues, 15 March 2016)

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