#outlander fangirl pic

I still can’t believe I got a pic taken with Graham McTavish (he plays Dougal McKenzie in Outlander) today. 
– Tall guy. 
– Lovely bloke. 
– Happy to retake the pic. 
– Kiwi resident
– I’m still smiling.

The ‘black watch’ tartan underneath the pic is a new Winter skirt. More about that soon.
I decided to wear my Gathering inspired dress.For now, it’s a cold, rainy Sunday and I’m still grinning from ear to ear.

Supernova had lots of Superstar guests, even 3 of the Brady kids (Peter, Bobby and Cindy).

#happyfangirl – The End – Follow(function(d, s, id) {var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if (d.getElementById(id)) return;js = d.createElement(s);js.id = id;js.src = “https://www.bloglovin.com/widget/js/loader.js?v=1”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, “script”, “bloglovin-sdk”)) 

The dress

The dress – needs no introduction really.

From Terry’s blog

And it’s a significant part of the Outlander story, hence I didn’t attempt to make this as is. Terry’s work on this dress is amazing. There’s lots of detailing involved. You can read about it on her blog.

So I’ve taken elements of this dress as I’ve never made a corset. My version is not a replica. It couldn’t be.
But this is a reminder of the awesome work the show’s costumers put into the original dress.

White Tree Fabrics provided the fabrics and they were excited with this dress concept. 

Here are my starting fabrics from White Tree and I used Simplicity 3809.

It was the white bonded fabric that spurred on my idea to make something like the wedding dress. White Tree Fabrics has the ‘right’ fabrics to make the dress. Sometimes it’s hard to get everything you need from one place but not this time.
The bonded fabric is a knit so I interfaced so it morphed into a woven fabric. The silver fabric is much finer than the original dress so I lined the skirt as well as the bodice.

The cream fabric was perfect for the underblouse. I used two layers on the blouse sleeves and pulled the hem edges for a similar fringed edge. This fabric doesn’t fray too much so it was easy to create a similar fringe.

The silver fabric is metallic so I cut it out using paper scissors. I used fabric scissors for the other fabrics.
This version was edited back
Then came the fun part, adjusting the bodice for the corset.

What you see here is my test version using quilting cotton and the boning. This was good practice.

And here’s a close up of the corset being prepped with boning.

 The boning is sewn onto the lining and not in the seams.

Below is the inside after I finished the seams. I hand stitched the lining onto the zipper seams. And internal layer of fabric could have been included for a firmer fit. The silver fabric is very light so I used white calico for more firmness but less bulk.
Below is the finished corset.

The back of the corset is higher than the front neckline. I’ve also used an open ended zipper for the back centre seam.

So what does this outfit look like on me…
This dress weighs much less than the original wedding dress in Outlander.
There was plenty of work in creating the corset and I enjoyed this process.
It’s very simple and uses the elements that work for me.
Thank you White Tree Fabric for these fabrics. They’ve kept me busy while waiting for the next part of Outlander to hit our screens in April.

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.

Drafting binge

I’m being impulsive and adjusting my basic block patterns for the next two Outlander dresses. 

These are my no dart blocks

Drafting  class notes from the community college course

As soon as the weather cools down I’ll be making trousers again so I really have to get these dresses out of my system.

Adjusted bodice

One of my makes has a contrasting piece that runs from the bodice to the skirt, hence I’ve been redrafting the bodice and developed it to suit. 

First test bodice using polycotton non-stretch fabric

Once I was happy with the dimensions of this bodice it was simple to do the same treatment to the skirt, after I drafted out the skirt darts. You’ll see this dress next week. Promise.

Then the final make is a corset and skirt combo. This time I decided to adjust a similar styled vest and convert it to a corset. I just couldn’t find the right corset and decided to grab a Simplicity costume pattern as the base. 

Original vest tested for size

This pattern has the boning placement on the side bodice pieces so I’m using polyester boning as corset making isn’t my forte, but I wanted to give this garment a go.

Practicing with polyester boning. Will soon try using steel boning as a comparison.

This time I decided to treat the skirt fabric for a long line skirt to see if it works on my shape and height. On each test version I’m using polycotton fabric with no stretch.

I don’t know as yet if any of these design ideas will work but I’m having a ball trying. 

So I’m hoping that by the time I get these two dresses finished, the second part of Series 1 will be on tv and I can sit back and enjoy the costumes again.

Being realistic

Realistically, can you incorporate a historical piece into your everyday wear? When does it become costuming or a Cosplay outfit?

The pic and drawing above are from Outlander. Ignore the reference if you’ve not read the books or seen the TV series as yet. 

This dress idea is the first of three dresses I’m developing with aspects from these their costumes that have blown me away. This first dress uses my block patterns.
Here’s my line drawing and basic bodice block.

My dress
The skirt I’ve added isn’t the same as the costume dress. I’m a bit too short to carry off a full gathered skirt and not have this dress look like a costume piece.  

A close up of the dress bodice. It’s fully lined

The bodice style and fabrics used reflect Claire’s surgery dress.

This skirt has pockets in the side seams using a Kwik Sew pocket pattern piece. The pocket is sewn into the side seam and joins into the waistline.
I left the bodice darts and concentrated on getting the bodice angles and neckline to work

Initially I thought the sleeves were part of the dress but when I looked closely at the pictures above, they’re separate pieces.

Here’s a close up of the shoulders/neckline

The dress fabric is made of $2/m shirting bought at Cabramatta. I’ve used piping from my stash on the neckline and armholes of the dress.

Bodice back view using self covered buttons and an invisible zip.

My zipper wasn’t long enough for the full dress length so I added three self-covered buttons so this zipper length worked on this dress.

The blouse fabric is made from reused curtain lining I bought at a local Vinnies shop. I’ve used my basic no-dart block pattern for the blouse.

Mustard poly poplin skirt lining just in case…

Now if I want to be a bit Vivienne Westwood/Steampunk, I can hitch up one side of the skirt and reveal the skirt lining.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this works as an everyday dress.

There are two more dress ideas are being made up as we ‘speak’.

One of these dresses will look like a costume but it won’t have anywhere near the detailing on the original dress.