The Making Of: Outlander’s Claire Fraser – Part 2: The Wedding Dress

It is beautiful and looks like it might fall on your head. And we didn’t find anything. I used that pale pink on the bottom there for my Sansa dress. A lot of these stores have these narrow alcoves and hallways and you definitely feel like you’re going to get swallowed alive by all of the fabric. After eight hours, I finally found it. I bought a Simplicity pattern for this project but I ended up having to draft my own pattern ’cause there’s really nothing like it. Traditionally, you would bone the front of a bodice like this but I didn’t know that at the time, so I just used some very stiff interfacing. Of course, there’s no pattern for this kind of embroidery So I had to draw it all out by hand. And then my life became embroidery hoops and embroidery needles. This marks how much I have done and… how much I still have to do. All of the embroidery is reinforced (I mean backed?!) with felt to make it POP off the dress That’s very rude, sir. It’s not helpful at all. Once the embroidery on the bodice was done, I was not finished. I had to make ever more leaves and acorns. Once all of this embroidery was done I had to glue it down, cut it out, and then it was ready to attach to the dress. Once the dress was made. I’m smocking these sleeves without the proper tools (surprise, surprise…) so I have to do all of these lines on the machine and that’s why some of them aren’t all that even. Because I don’t have a smocking machine, each line that I’ve sewn on the sewing machine has to be pulled individually and then tied off at the ends. One completed sleeve takes several hours. So there’s two smocked sleeves and it’s nighttime. And that took all day. And they’re not even sewn into a sleeve-shape yet. Since the sleeves are supposed to be a little frayed, I had to paint on Fray-Check, so that they’d only fray exactly the right amount. A lot of individual little pieces make up this bodice, so there was a lot of work before the actual construction. After sealing the embroidery with hot glue, I attached it to the front bodice panel and then added all that piping. I remade the bodice panels with the boning channels and then it was time to attach everything. So that’s pinned Look at this dork. What are you doing? You messing around? Stop being a dork. So that’s pinned and we’ll see how it looks once it’s sewn together. Hopefully, it’ll go together that nicely. There it is all sewn together. Once the bodice was constructed, I cut and sanded the boning to add to it. Time to add the sleeves. And, of course, they have to be hand-stitched on, because nothing can ever be easy. Once the sleeves were on, of course, I had to try it on. Once the bodice was constructed, all the details had to be hand-sewn, which means I had to close the tops of the boning channels by hand, add the piping add some ribbon, and then add a little silver band around the top of the entire bodice. Of course, it didn’t stop there. Then I had to hand-sewn on each of the rings for the lacing at the back. I had actual holes in the skin of my fingers by the end of it. There was a lot of practice involved with the pleating before I could even start working on my material. The… the pleats need to be smaller because this is 28 inches of material that became well, let’s seen, about 2.5, a little more. It’s not good. It doesn’t look like a lot of material, but it’s over eight yards. I have six panels and to each one, I have to add several inches of another colour of fabric to the top so that I’ll have enough length to be able to hem it when I’m finished. Sewing each of these very long panels together took so much time. Keeping this much material organized isn’t easy. For awhile, I could just fold the material up and take it over to the sewing machine but now I need to roll it in order to get it to fit. This is about the time that I started to lose my mind over how much material I still had to work with. I could sleep here! To accommodate all of this material, I had to put a table and my ironing board together. And then there’s so much material to go. These pretty pink strips are going to support the pleats. Don’t worry, we won’t be able to see them on the actual dress. Once all the pleats were marked with pencil, I had to go in with a running stitch. It’s best to use embroidery floss or upholstery thread for this kind of pleating because it can withstand the kind of pulling you have to do in order to get those lovely pleats. If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t reinforce the pleats with any flannel, Because I felt that it looked a little too stiff. Once the pleats were constructed, and properly measured to the bodice, I had to sew each pleat on individually. First, all the way along the bottom And then I had to turn the waistband up and sew the tops of the pleats as well. It took… a long time. And more hand-sewing. By the time they were done, they could support themselves. Then I attached the waistband to the bodice. Which, of course, involved more hand-sewing. At this point, time became a serious factor, so I don’t have a lot of footage left. But, I do have a really cool shot of my attaching the front white panel with pliers. Once the dress was fully constructed and hemmed, then I could sew all of those extra acorns and leaves onto the front. And I didn’t have enough, so I ended up painting with silver fabric paint at the bottom to get that appearance of having a lot of leaves gathered at the bottom. I think it turned out pretty well. I entered it in the masquerade competition, which you will see in a second. And I think I got an award, though it was way too cold to stay and find out. Entry number 24 in the Journeyman division: Claire Fraser As if being thrown back in time to the 18th century wasn’t enough, Claire Fraser now must marry a strange Scotsman to save herself from the redcoats. At least there was a brothel nearby to provide her with a wedding dress. (yeah, putting the ring in the bodice just looks silly on stage. Hahah.) Alright. Spinning door time. Okay. We can do this. I believe in you. Hahahah. Very good! You did it! Oh I stepped on your dress. I’m sorry!

9 Replies to “The Making Of: Outlander’s Claire Fraser – Part 2: The Wedding Dress”

  1. Wow that was amazing I have a new found respect for artisan seamstresses now. That was a work of art. Also, that Jean cosplay probably looks pretty good now after all that work.

  2. This is really the most beautiful cosplay I've ever seen!! 🙂 You are so talented! Can you remember how long it took to finish it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *