New Fall Project: Outlander

I’ll admit that I enjoyed the first season (half season?) of Outlander. There were certainly a number of cheesy elements to the show, but it was beautifully shot and well acted. The costuming was up and down: some things looked great, and others were more head-scratchers. Definitely more “historically inspired” than truly accurate. But I’m okay with that. The costumes captured the mood well and fit with the characters, which is the most important thing.

Anyway, after watching several episodes, I decided I wanted an outfit based on the show. Not an exact film-accurate recreation, though, because I rarely stick 100% to my inspiration material. My initial inspiration was that I wanted a knit cowl like Claire wears, since I thought that would look nice with just street clothes. (BTW, I’m pretty sure there would not have been chunky knits like that in the 1740s, based on what I’ve seen about American and English pieces in the 18th C. I don’t know about Scottish regional dress, but I still highly doubt it.) So I dove into my yarn stash and found an appropriate heathered brown New Zealand heavy worsted wool. Knit up with two strands on US 50 (that’s right, Five-Zero!!) needles, it worked nicely.

Here was my initial gauge swatching. I started with US 15 needles, then US 19, then US 50. 50 was the only size that gave the open weave I needed.
Outlander Project

The finished product is just a small tube.
Outlander Project

But it looks nice when worn.
Outlander Project

Once I had knit a cowl, I decided I wanted a whole outfit. This involves a jacket and petticoat, like this reference photo. I thought this would be great for a winter costume event, like a Christmas party (and I’m proposing that idea for the Christmas Tea this year–who’s interested?!).
Outlander Jacket

Looking at photos from the show, it appears that the jackets are a blend between 1740s patterns (for the front) and 1780s patterns (for the back). And many jackets appear to have an extra seam in the front, which I don’t think is that common. It’s almost a princess seam. I decided to be more true to the 1740s, so I looked at the 1735-1740 jacket diagram that appears in Patterns of Fashion by Janet Arnold. In PoF, the peplum is cut entirely separate from the body of the jacket (whereas on the show, the front peplum/skirt of the jacket is cut separately, but it looks like the back is in one piece with the bodice). Also in PoF, the back of the bodice is 2 pieces, while on the show it is more like 4 or even 6 pieces.

Here is the pattern I came up with. In the 1740s it probably would have had winged cuffs, but in a nod to the show I’ve decided to forgo those for now. (I have enough fabric to add them later, though.) Other than that change, I’ve tried to stay close to PoF. (Though I lengthened the sleeves a little.) I only sewed one side of the peplum on for this mockup.
Outlander Project

Outlander Project

Here are my fabrics. Brown wool for the jacket, and a subtle plaid for the petticoat.
Outlander Project

Here is my cutting layout. The two pieces to the bottom right are the skirts of the jacket.
Outlander Project

Now I’ve got the fashion fabric and lining pieces cut out, and have started sewing.

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2 thoughts on “New Fall Project: Outlander

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