Sunday, January 22, 2017

More Scots Highlanders

I continue to work on costumes inspired by the Outlander series. Last week's meet-up photos show Butterfly Narae in a new homespun gown while Idealian51 Cuba wears a shirt from the same pattern as SoulKid Yarn's. You might have noticed too that Yarn's new red wig has migrated onto Cuba's head and that Yarn is sporting a different wig altogether. I love red hair and, as luck would have it, I had a number of red wigs in my collection to choose from.
The shirt pattern is Dandy, designed for 19-inch Mortimer Mort by Tamara Casey for Designs by Jude. (The pattern also makes breeches, a waistcoat and coat.) Based on how Yarn's shirt came out, I knew I wanted some extra length in Cuba's shirt. I also wanted to remake the neckline. Instead of securing a gathering stitch around the neck to fit, I made a channel and ran a crochet thread through it. This thread functions as a drawstring, so the neckline is completely adjustable should a doll with a thinner neck wear it. Seeing as I planned to omit the lace at the cuffs from the start, I probably should have lengthened the sleeves just a bit. They look short, but perhaps that is only by comparison with Yarn's much longer lace sleeve ends.

The Irish feel of Narae's gown happened unintentionally. I chose the trim because its colors complemented the fabric, not realizing the green flowers could read as shamrocks. By the time I noticed, I couldn't remove the trim because of the difficulty in picking stitches out of the fabric's loose weave. I like the dress, however, so she's keeping it. Here's a full-length view:
Originally I had intended that FID Lawrence would join the group. I rejected that idea on the grounds that Lawrence is too dark to represent Jamie Fraser and that the FID head is too small next to the other dolls. The Idealian51 head, on the other hand, is perfect. Adding to his allure for this role is how hard it is to find premade clothing to fit him. Lacking much else to wear, he was simply begging for a kilt.
I learned from my mistakes on the kilt itself (poor Yarn was my guinea pig) and added darts to the flat panels before sewing the waistband. Even so, I had trouble choosing the best placement for snap sets. I wanted the kilt snug enough not to fall down but loose enough that I could tuck one end of the fly plaid into the waistband. At the moment I have the plaid tucked under the belt, which leaves the kilt a bit loose. Considering that a historically accurate plaid would be one large rectangular piece of fabric which the wearer would place on the ground, pleat by hand, lie down on and then roll into and gather with his belt, the end result would look even baggier than my version.
Looking for something to convert into a belt, I struck gold at Michaels (a craft store chain). I could tell at a glance that the leather strip was the perfect width to fit my belt buckle. I didn't consider its thickness until I came home and realized the paper punch that cuts through thin synthetics wouldn't work here. With no leather-working tools, I proceeded by trial and error until I finally punctured the belt by means of a hammer and a sharp nail, but the hole wouldn't stay open. None of my eyelets would accommodate the tongue of the buckle, so I forced a thick needle into the hole to hold it open until I was ready to fasten the belt. I dread the day I need to change his clothes. I may have to cut the belt off! In the meantime it looks good.
Because Yarn is wearing my only penannular brooch, I ordered two more online from a company that offered them in small, medium and large. Imagine my surprise when the two "smalls" arrived and I discovered each was larger than the doll's sporran! Somehow I had expected them to be the same size as Yarn's. Must be that one was a mini. It's also nearly 35 years old, so chances of finding another like it are slim to non-existent. After taking photos I replaced Cuba's brooch with a smaller one that looks vaguely Celtic. It will have to do.
As I've mentioned before, my Scottish outfits are not copies of costumes shown in the Outlander television series. They are merely inspired by the books and the series. I don't require historical accuracy in what I make. It's enough for me to achieve the feeling of an era--a modern impression rather than a period replica.

I still haven't quite figured out who's who related to the characters from Outlander aside from Cuba, who has the stature and the look of Jamie Fraser, and Narae, who is my Claire. Ideally Claire should be a little taller, but I don't have anyone else at the moment who can fit the bill. Yarn is problematic. He can't be young Ian, whose character would be better represented as a white Mohawk with facial tattoos. He can't be Fergus, either, because Fergus is actually French. Or maybe he could be Fergus, with dark brown hair, which would make Dollpire Roo his Marsali. With nearly black hair he could also be Roger; then Roo could be Brianna. Obviously this requires some more thought.


  1. The dress turned out great, and after a google search of the tv series I can say they look very nicely inspired in it.
    Didn't know that plaids were pleated by hand before wearing them, what an interesting fact!! Love that kinds of stuff, and you know what they say, we learn something new every day.

    1. Thank you! I too am fascinated by the historical aspects of costumes, even if I don't make strictly historical versions. The ancient plaid served its wearer as kilt, cloak, and blanket, all rolled into one. A very versatile garment!

  2. The idea for the neckline is so clever! And your Nare looks adorable with that outfit <3
    The kilt is looking awesome, too. I really like the pattern of the fabric, and it looks great on him too!
    Well, for Yarn, you can always make several outfits and change te character for photos and so?
    Love your outfits, keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you! The fabric pattern is a glen plaid, which is a modern design that wouldn't have been available in the time period of the books and tv show. (It generally shows up in modern menswear.) I liked it, however, so I bought it. :D