Outlander has the ability to make you feel as though the world around you has been forever changed. It is this visceral attachment to this fictional world, the transformative insights we can draw from the passages we have read, and the superb manner in which the content has been visually adapted to the screen that enables the audience to wholeheartedly invest in the story and all that surrounds it.
For many of us, we show our devotion by following fandoms and reading as much as we can gather about the production of the series. However, for others, Outlander has been the catalyst for creativity and design. As we look at the wealth of talent that is within our marvelous fandom, it is always special to meet and discover the artists among us. We have found, on many occasions, that we are taken back by the level of innovation and craftsmanship these individuals bring forward as they express their admiration for this series. If you have a curious mind like us, it is only natural to want to follow their journey to discover what Outlander means to them.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce one artist we have grown to admire, Teri Biglands. We have appreciated her exquisite Parisian inspired gowns from afar, but now we are thankful to have had the opportunity to interview her to learn more about her creations. Her talent continues to surprise us, as her level of detail and workmanship marvels costumes we have seen on display. However, it is her personable nature and her inspiration to use these skills for the greater purpose of raising money for charity that continues to speak volumes of her character.
Take a moment to go back to Paris to explore and discuss her latest designs that are reminiscent of the ornate costumes we saw in Season 2, while also serving as a reminder of the celebratory release of the 25th anniversary edition of Dragonfly in Amber. Her story inspires us to explore our own artistic expressions – finding hidden talents that may just be waiting to be discovered.
An Artist Is Revealed
“As an artist you are constantly looking for that next project that will challenge and inspire you. I enjoyed the traditional Scottish attire worn by the ladies, but it was the Parisian fashions that inspired me to attempt to make my own gown.”
Sass3: Dragonfly In Amber is such a powerful segment in the Outlander series for so many reasons. The storylines held our hearts captive, while the artistry of the sets and costumes took our breath away. Can you tell us how it inspired you?
Teri: “In the second series, Dragonfly in Amber, I thoroughly enjoyed the juxtaposition between the traditional Scottish attire and the fashions of the Parisian Court. This was truly my first exposure to such extravagant and beautiful period costuming. I could see that so many sewing techniques were used in a single garment. The silk fabrics were stunning, as well as the incredible embroidery work. I was truly enamored of the vest worn by Master Raymond. The idea of making my own gown started to simmer, even though I have never sewn clothing before.
My best friend Ellen and I made plans to attend the Outlandish Gatherings, 2017 Event, in Boston. We have been friends for 43 years and have been reading the Outlander books together for 26 of those years. To enhance our experience, I had this crazy idea to try to make 18th century gowns for us to wear.”
Sass3: The details in the gowns are stunning. Can you speak to us about your process you took to create these one of a kind designs?
Teri: “I can honestly tell you that I have never sewn a piece of clothing in my life. Everyone who knows me can tell you that I cringe at even having to sew on a button. However, I have been creative my whole life, focusing mostly on my quilting for the last 33 years. I recently retired from owning my own drapery workroom for 23 years. The techniques and skills I have learned in quilting and sewing window treatments gave me the confidence to tackle these dresses. Frequently, a decorator would present me with a photograph of a window treatment and I would have to draft my own pattern. I am comfortable with looking at a photo and trying to figure out, ‘How was that made?’
Since I have never sewn anything like clothing, I scoured the internet and found a pattern on eBay for a gown I thought I might be able to make. It is the McCall’s Costume M6097. The language of the pattern was foreign to me, so I studied and read it over and over again till I was certain I could make it. The first dress (blue one) took two weeks start to finish. The green dress (for my friend) took one week. I do admit that I do sew fast! Some of the techniques that I used in making draperies came in handy. Most of the materials were left over from drapery jobs that I had sewn.
I admit I had my Carol Burnett, Scarlett O’Hara moment – if you can believe, one of the dresses is material left over from someone’s dining and family rooms! The silks are 54” wide, as well as the tapestry fabrics. Catania Silks, out of California, is my favorite silk company. In my area near Atlanta, GA we have huge decorator outlets to shop for high end fabrics and trims. Each dress has approximately 12 yards of fabric. Some of the details included ruched roses and box pleat trim which I made myself.”
Sass3: How did Terry Dresbach’s Parisian costumes influence your design process?
Teri: “The books mean something to me altogether – different than the TV series. After watching the show, I became fascinated with the clothing. Especially, all the attention to the tiniest details. Terry Dresbach and her team have done an outstanding job on the costuming. As I said before, I can look at something and try to duplicate it. That’s when I had that ‘Aha moment!’ and decided I was going to try to make gowns for my best friend and I to wear.
After I had made the silk gowns and posted the pictures on Facebook, a good friend of mine made a comment to me about making my own ‘Outlandish Dreams Come True.’ I am totally fascinated with the costuming. All my years of drawing, embroidery, quilting, and sewing have lead me towards wanting to make my own costume. I don’t pretend to be an expert at recreating authentic clothing from the 18th century. I do however have a creative mind, and sometimes it’s hard to stop the ideas from flowing. For now, my own ‘Outlandish Dream’ is to continue to make a gown better than the last one.”
Sass3: It has been so enjoyable to view these gowns through your pictures. We couldn’t help but wonder what kind of responses you received when you attended this special event.
Teri: “I knew the dresses looked pretty, but, at the Outlandish Gatherings Event, the response was overwhelming. That’s when I knew the dresses were something special. Every artist appreciates feedback. We really did feel like the ‘Belles of the Ball.’ It is hard to explain, but wearing the gown changed the way I held myself. My posture was straight and I felt like I was gliding across the room.”
Sass3: Each of us can tell you our favorite costumes created by Terry Dresbach. We love how each item she creates tells a story. Which design do you love the most?
Teri: “My favorite gown worn by Claire Fraser is 100% the Wedding Dress. I had used a similar metallic linen in some Roman Shades and knew how gorgeous that fabric was in person. From the sketch, to the gown, to the embroidery work – hands down perfection!”
Sass3: We couldn’t agree more with you! Claire’s wedding dress and the hidden symbolisms within it continues to hold so many sentiments for each of us. We simply can never forget it!
Do you have any projects you are currently working on? We have heard that you are planning to use your talents to raise money for charity. We can’t wait to learn more about this!
Teri: “I am a fan of Scott Kyle who played Ross in the series. His followers and fans call ourselves the Kylanders. He has such a huge fan base and is quite active on social media. He and his wife Karen designed a special tartan along with the help of Bathgate Kilt Studio. He had a special kilt made with the Kylander Tartan that he wears to all the Outlander events he attends. After attending the Gathering in Boston, I contacted Scott and Karen and approached them about an idea that I had. To make a ‘Kylander Kouture’ gown out of the Kylander Tartan to be featured at the Highlander Fling 2018 at Rothes Halls. The plan is, that the gown will be used to raise funds for Scott’s chosen charity. After a bit of help from Scott and Karen, I was able to purchase the gorgeous Kylander Tartan from Bathgate Kilt Studio. I am in the process of creating that gown now.”
Sass3: It is so admirable to be able to use your talents to help charitable organizations. How does it make you feel to be able to give back to others while doing something you love?
Teri: “I have been quilting for 33 years. During that time I have supported numerous local charities. Quilters by nature are givers. I have made and given away many quilts to charities over the years. My favorite charities are those that support children in domestic violence situations. Many times these children come to the shelter with everything they own in a backpack. To be able to give this child a quilt that they can have as their own to keep is very rewarding.
When I met Scott Kyle, it was clear that we both shared a passion for giving back to others. It was an easy choice for me to want to support him with his chosen charity, while at the same time stretching my abilities and challenging me to make a unique costume. That is when the idea of making a gown using the Kylander tartan came to me. This gown will be one of a kind, and it will be used to raise funds during the Highland Fling 2018 at Rothes Halls in Scotland. Since I was so inspired by Claire’s wedding gown, I will be incorporating hand embroidery as well as other techniques into the Kylander Gown. It will be something very special.”
Sass3: We look forward to be able to follow your journey as you design this special gown for Scott Kyle’s chosen charity at next year’s Highland Fling.
Your work has inspired so many other creative minds within this fandom. If you could give one piece of advice to other fans learning to sew their own gowns, what would it be?
Teri: “One of the things I will share with you is that the finer the material and trims, the better and more authentic the dress will look. The more sewing techniques, the better!”
How Does Outlander Inspire You?
We have thoroughly enjoyed being able to interview Teri, as we discovered how Outlander has given her the inspiration to expand her talents to create stunning Parisian inspired costumes. Her level of artistry in each gown she creates continues to bring forth feelings of wonderment and fascination. We look forward to continue following her journey as she designs her first Kylander Kouture Gown!
Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us that Outlander will always be more than just a book or television series. It brings fans together, forms a new path for discovery, and leads to rewarding adventures that can never be foretold.
There is still time to purchase your own tickets to attend the festivities and see Teri’s beautiful gown at the 2018 Highlander Fling at The Rothes Halls in Glenrothes, Scotland. Tickets can be purchased at www.scottkyle.co.uk. It will be an event not to miss!
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