The Gathering dress

The Gathering was the elaborate party in Series 1 episode 4 and I’ve used plaid and embroidered fabrics for my next Minerva project.
This photo and more are on Terry Dresbach’s website

Using my basic block pattern, I tested the bodice to have a shaped centre piece for the embroidered fabric. Initially I was thinking this would be an overlay but I decided to swing out the darts and create my own princess seam-like bodice for this dress.
I did test the bodice pieces using poplin from my stash. I’m glad I did. 

When I ordered the fabrics from Minerva Crafts UK, I thought this dress would need lacing detailing. I didn’t use the ribbon detail this time, but will use the ribbon on the remnant pieces because there’s plenty left for a skirt and blouse.
The original dress uses gold braid-like trim on the panel edges. I’ve used the embroidered fabric as the centre panel piece on the dress. I felt that was all the embellishment my height could handle.

The plaid fabric has a lovely feel to it and can be manipulated as you sew. This fabric is soft so I used interfacing across the front bodice, across the back bodice and along the back zipper to give more structure and longer term durability to this dress.

When I initially sewn the bodice together and lined it, the neckline was a bit low for me. So I unpicked the shoulders and took off the sleeves before I raised the neckline and resewed in the sleeves.


The sleeves are ¾ length with three side pleats at the elbow and lots of loveliness added. I’ve used interfacing on the sleeve from the elbow to the sleeve hem so the folds stay crisp.


The plaid lines run across the body. This took a lot of planning at fabric cutting stage. The plaids on this fabric are very even – that was a huge help in lining it up properly. I took my time when I cut out this dress.

If the plaids weren’t even, I would have needed more fabric to achieve the same balance.


The costume is floor length so I’ve made this skirt sit just above the knee for everyday wear.

I ‘passed’ on the gathered/pleated skirt and went with an a-line skirt. I swung out the waist darts on my skirt block pattern to create this skirt.

The skirt sits out nicely because I’ve hemmed it with the lining fabric instead of adding a gathered underskirt. The pockets are sewn in the side seams.

Side pockets

Speaking of side pockets – I used a strip of interfacing on the skirt so the side pockets don’t bag out. The top of the pocket bag is also sewn into the waistline seam for long term durability.

Other considerations

I wanted to include inverted pleats on the skirt but I couldn’t figure out where to include them without interrupting the plaid on this dress. #tricky.
Does this dress work for everyday wear?
I think it does. (November 2017 – I wear this to work a lot).

The weather here is still hot and humid so when I took these photos around Sydney Olympic Park, it was 8am in the morning. The heat of the day was just starting to sizzle.

This dress is a fairly conservative look so I know I can pair this with a simple navy jacket. No one would realise this dress was influenced by a TV series based on books that have been around for over 20 years and have huge, global fan base.

Thanks again Minerva Crafts UK for these fabrics and notions. It makes this Outlander fan grin from ear to ear.


  1. I recognise the design from Anita's pattern drafting class. Looks fantastic. I was in Tessuti's today looking at their new range of tartan. Sadly they didn't have the colour I wanted.


  2. I love your modern version of this dress, it is so wearable. I think your colourway is beautiful. I read the first book in Diana Gabaldon's series back when it was first published, but haven't read any of the others. I must track them down.


  3. I love the way you've used the inspiration of a historical TV costume and made it totally wearable for every day. Those sleeve pleats are gorgeous, were they easy to do?


  4. Nice interpretation – I'm waiting patiently for the series return in a month. love terry dresbach's costuming and it made me start knitting again!


  5. Thanks Sam. The sleeve pleats were easy to do by following the fabric lines. I breathed a sigh of relief at the end of each plaid matching stage.


  6. I love Terry's work too. I'm using this time to dabble in wearable costuming, without it looking too ordinary.


  7. At first I thought the original dress was the one you had made – I mean it is fabulous, but I did wonder where you were going to wear it! It's great that you were able to turn your inspiration piece into a totally wearable and original dress. I am missing the Sydney sun!


  8. I am not familiar with the show but you have shown real imagination to take that dress and make a dress suitable for modern living from the idea. Your dress looks
    lovely. I don't think I would have the imagination to come up with something so clever.


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