Sunday, May 15, 2016

Outlander "The Gathering" gown

Note: All wearings of this gown have been labeled "the gatherings pics" so as not to bury this page.

Claire's gown from the Outlander episode "The Gathering" was one of my favorite looks from Season 1.   I really wanted to make it,  but where to find the fabrics? Because the fabrics are what make the gown so unusual.

I had thought maybe Spoonflower?  But then my friend Natasha spotted a very very close, if not exact tartan. And she did find the exact flowered brocade.

Prepare for some sticker shock.

The final result:

Much much more below the cut:


I bought this tartan: 
It's Tartan: Ross Hunting (Weathered Colours) (lochc/10oz/150cm/LC Reiver Select Double Width) The price does seem to have increased. Last year I paid 140 GBP for 4 meters, 10oz/150cm/LC Reiver Select Double Width).  4 meters of the fabric I bought worked for me, keeping in mind that I am short. I used most of it, but had a little bit left over.  It's 196 GBP for 4 meters as of this writing.

They now seem to have repro fabric, at least theoretically - but it's 69 GBP per meter and half the width:

I will note that the Celtic Croft has Jaime's licensed tartan: 

Or see this one: 

Terry Dresbach's sketch and swatches

The brocade originally came from Top Fabric of Soho (London) - they had a little left and thanks to Natasha, I was able to snag one meter. Which was all I could afford as it was 125 GBP - it's silk and all embroidered, so no wonder it is pricy fabric! But it's screen accurate!  Since I didn't have a lot of it, I did the period accurate thing of using the brocade for the front of my petticoat and a sage green dupioni I had in my stash for the back.  It also took me a while to figure out how I could cut the stomacher out of it to get an accurate placement of the pattern on it, while still having a big enough piece of the petticoat.  Ultimately, I was able to take it out of the bottom corner, where it'd be hidden by my overskirt, and I pieced part of the hem. You can't tell.  I used pretty much all the brocade, though I was able to salvage a scrap for the choker.

You can see Top Soho's post about the fabric. They may still be stocking it, so check with them!

Also, I totally did iron the petticoat, but I still have a fold crease down it. D'oh.

The sleeve flounces

I used the same green dupioni I used on the back of the petticoat. The real one looks like a changeable silk taffeta.  Natasha ordered this one:

Pattern-wise, I used a sleeve flounce pattern from Simplicity 3637 since I already had it and have used it. 

I bought this vintage gold lace on Etsy from duchesstrading. It was only 3/4 of a yard, but it just worked. It's about 5" wide - you want something the wide at least. I just cut the length in half, sewed it closed, did a simple gathering along the top, and then tacked the flounce to the inside of my sleeve.

For the cuff, I struggled a bit. I used the cuff from the JP Ryan jacket pattern (a pattern I love) - it was way too big for this gown, and then trying to size it down while lining it... I really struggled. Finally I gave up and decided not to line it. I just hemmed top and bottom and then it was a piece of cake.  the real one looks lined. But I really needed to just finish this, so I went with it.

I'm pretty sure they used whatever lace they used on the gold flounces to trim the front of the gown, but I didn't have enough, so I used this. It's not perfect, but gives the right impression when one cuts it in half:

The gown:

The costume designer, Terry Dresbach, was kind enough to post really nice big pics of the gown on a form, so you can see how it's constructed. The back is  cut en forreau; if you look at the center back , there's a deep pleat there. How does one do this?  Jenny-Rose has a really complete making-of. Particularly relevant is the April 18th entry. And then the April 23rd pictures, which show how to do the center back pleats and what the attached skirt looks like. Particularly this picture here;

If you want a pattern, the view B back is en fourreau:

But you're still going to have to modify it.

This gown is not quite a standard en forreau, because the back pleats are underneath, on the inside, not outside.  But the concept of draping those pleats is the same.  The important thing is that the back bodice and skirt are one piece, and then it's cut so the sides of the skirt pleat. Here are some pics to illustrate this.  Imagine a big knife pleat sitting inside the center back seam. I didn't think to take pics. Sorry!

Also, I probably should have used something else to line this than white muslin, but I wasn't thinking! It's what I often use for historical stuff. I should have at least used something dark, but I certainly didn't have enough tartan to use that!

For the petticoat, I usually just use two 1 yd widths of fabric, and pleat them to a waistband or waist tape. Easy! Katherine has a tutorial here:  As I said before, for this gown, I used the brocade as the front of the petticoat and the green dupioni as the back.  I also have a linen petticoat underneath as you can see here.


You really need to wear a gown like this with stays (ie, a corset). And you will also want a bum roll, and at least one petticoat (you can use something like linen and make it the same way as the brocade one) underneath.

American Duchess has a new Outlander pattern out with Simplicity that you can use to make stays.

Bum roll references:

I can't tell what shoes Claire was wearing, so I just wore my red American Duchess ones and clocked stockings also from AD.


I used that brocade and I just used the pattern that came with the Simplicty pattern I also used for the sleeve flounces. 

Usually stomachers are pinned to your stays and then the gown is pinned to the stomacher on the sides. This gown doesn't have robings like a francaise does, so no where to hide the pins (a robing is like a fold that runs down the front openings of the bodice).   It's pretty clear from Terry's photos that one side of the stomacher is sewn to the dress. It's just easier than messing with two sides of pins. I decided to give it a try and it worked well, so I'll stick with it. 


I used a strip of the brocade, which I need to shorten a bit. I don't really like things tight on my neck, but it's pretty loose. I bought some sage silk satin ribbon from M&J Trims, but it was more of a brown and not quite green enough. I'll replace that eventually.

The Finished Gown!

I posted some pics up top, but here are a few more.  I wore it to Fort Fred, the 18th century market fair, so I could get some pics of it.  I also brought along a hat, cap, and fichu to dress this evening look down for the fair, which is very re-enactor-y.

Overall I was happy with my gown, I really need to fix the side seams to take the back in slight because I ended up with it being just a little too big. Hopefully I can fix that. 

At Fort Fred:

My friend Jess:

My patient photographer:

And Reference Images:

These are credit Terry Dresbach:

Misc other images:


  1. Wow Maggie! Your gown is spot on, I had to re-read to to realize some of the pics were of the movie gown. Bravo!

  2. What a wonderful reproduction! I wish I could sew like that. I'm on a mission to try and make something along the lines of the Gold and red robe that Claire wears in S2

    1. Thank you so much! The S2 costumes are just gorgeous, aren't they? I really want to make Claire's yellow gown with the handpainted petticoat. THAT I might have to figure out if I can do on spoonflower! Good luck with yours!

  3. Wonderful! I saw you at Ft. Fred. I distinctly remember seeing your gown and also noticing your friend's Pet en L'air! It really turned out great!

    1. Oh, how funny! :D And thank you! Jess's pet en l'air is IKEA fabric! (I think either curtains or sheets!) :-)

  4. That is gorgeous, I'm planning on making something along those lines too, but won't be able to source those fabrics over here in NZ so it'll be different in that respect. I think you've done an amazing job!

    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, I paid to have the fabrics shipped from the UK, it wasn't cheap unfortunately!