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Using Mica Flakes in Costuming

outlander wedding dress

The Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander is nothing short of wonderful. Aside from the story and tremendous performances, the setting and costumes are gorgeous. Costume designer Terry Dresbach works on the series and documents the creation of many of the 18th century Scottish costumes the first season of the series requires on her website. It’s a staggering amount of work to dress the primary cast and extras, but Dresbach and her team have met the challenge head on.

One of the most anticipated costumes was Claire’s wedding dress (it appears in the episode titled “The Wedding”), and the gown is stunning. The dress is completely handmade, and they took great care with the detail. The leaves and acorns on the front of the dress were embroidered by hand from strands of metal. The dress has another unique touch: they used shaved mica to add a bit of Iridescence and sparkle.

shaved mica

Dresbach explained the process in a post:

If you look closely at the large rock, you can see that there are very fine, thin layers. We VERY carefully slide a needle under a layer, and slowly pull it off. It is not easy, but you get good at it after a while, and it becomes very habit forming. Then you get carried away seeing how many times you can slice a layer. But if you do it TOO many times and take it down to only one VERY thin layer, you lose the refracting quality, and it just becomes flat and shiny.

We really wanted it to refract light, so we stopped at two or three layers on each shard.

Those shaved flakes were then incorported into the bodice fabric:

shaved mica in dress

Read more about the costumes for Outlander at Dresbach’s blog.


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