The Outlander Project: Suaip Culaidh – An Introduction

Hi there,

I’m so excited to show you my new Outlander TV-series inspired costume.

This is my first costume (or cosplay, whatever suits you 😉 ) on such a great scale.
It has taught me lots about 18th century Scotland and about costuming in general.

It has been such a blast, a grand journey like this. To happily make mistakes (never try to outdo that part, though) and perfect your ideas: it is all part of a trial-and-error project like this.
During the project, I always tend to look for the most revolutionary and practical way to achieve my set goal.

But what is that goal precisely? Well, let me tell you:
When I first watched the first half of season one from Starz’ Outlander, I was blown away by the characteristic and realistic costumes designed for the show. It gave so much atmosphere to the episodes, what first and foremost is the main purpose of a costume designer, that it made me start this project.

I was convinced Claire’s jackets and dresses were amazingly graceful yet practical, but I could also never turn my eyes of the men’s costumes.
The roughness of the fabrics, the colour pallets, the patterns, the props… The kilts!
It all made me research and research even more. I delved into the Scottish and fashion history and came up with the “Suaip Culaidh” idea. A hopeful right translation from the amazing Gaelic language meaning “costume swap”.
I was determined to give my costume a twist: a jacket inspired by Claire, and a kilt inspired by Jamie – all in one.

You can imagine the research that followed in advance of the actual creation. I researched kilt folding, detailed photos from the series, 18th century dresses, the Jacobites, museum pieces, even more detailed photos, pattern videos etc. etc. I just began the process and here I am; . . .  it is almost finished ;).

The costuming process was so much fun for me to do and it taught me so many valuable things to remember for the future.
It taught me about princess seams, creating your own patterns from scratch, the 18th century; the Jacobites; 18th century fashion and Scotland in general. It taught me how to pleat great kilts, how tight a corset really is, how to loom knit, how to glue mold, how to actually look like a Scot (believe me, harder than you think it is), what an Arisaid is, what a great kilt is, where my talents lie and where they lie not… *pant*.

Starz’s Outlander thereby has opened up these massive gates for me to the Scottish culture as well as the Scottish prides and their pains reflected into this amazing series I love more and more each episode. Diana Gabaldone’s story as pictured by Ronald D. Moore really impresses me and I like the creative input from costume designer Terry Dresbach and her team.

Since this is my first real TV-show inspired costume, please note that you should not expect anything professional in any way and thereby bear in mind it is my first real try.
Just to keep out of the picture that I lacked time since I was intended to wear this to a convention and had to do the entire top in just three half days (making up the pattern, cutting, putting together) – you can understand those were very hard and long days indeed ;).

I’ll post some sneak peeks here and there, so stay tuned for when I unravel my journey part by part.

I hope to see you very soon and for you to be inspired by creativity.

Love,

Baytree Costumes

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