Scotland in a Dress



Teri Biglands


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

all photos by Susan Vandivier

Outline the story …

I have been reading "The Outlander" books by Diana Gabaldon since 1992. When the series came out, I was so inspired by the costume design of Terry Dresbach Claire's wedding dress in particular. I love a sewing challenge, so I thought to myself I want to make a gown. I am not one to copy but used the dress as inspiration to make my own one of a kind creation. I knew I wanted to embroider silk (which I had never done) and use real Scottish Tartan. I love mixing different textures of fabrics. I also knew I wanted the embroidery to be monotone, so I modified a 1970 vintage crewel design that had thistles and bees. The name of Gabaldon's newest book, yet to be released is, "Tell the Bees that I Have Gone". I knew I wanted a statement gown, something Aunt Jocasta (Jamie's Aunt in the story) would wear to one of her famous garden parties. An idea starts to swirl around in my mind and this dress is one of them. I knew ahead of time I wanted the bodice to lace in the back. I also knew I wanted to make an embroidered stomacher, and skirt front. The design evolved as I went along. The pleating at the bottom is 5 yards of silk. I made the pleating separately and then attached it and the lace embellishment by hand. The metallic gold lace on my sleeve cuffs is over 100 years old.

Outline the construction…

The tartan used is 100% medium weight wool. This particular design of Tartan is Outlander actor Scott Kyle's fan Tartan, designed by The Kilt Studio in Bathgate. The silk used is a designer silk named 24carat. All of my embroidery and beading is done by hand. The thread used to do all the embroidery is silk. Beads and silk ribbon were used as well. I made the underpinnings, the corset, bum roll, petticoat, and pockets. I used an old McCalls pattern that I drastically altered for the base of my construction. First step was the embroidery, then lining the silk. I used muslin to "audition" different silhouettes and ideas for the Tartan overskirt. This dress is actually 3 pieces. The bustle skirt has hooks that attach to my corset, lots of trial and error! I was inspired by 18th century gowns but not historically accurate construction techniques. My goal was to look like Scotland in a Dress. Which in case you were curious weighs 15 pounds. I love the challenge of figuring things out on my own, however the bias matching sleeves I hope never to do again haha. The total gown took about 6 months to make and includes 250 hours of embroidery. I used some boning in the bodice and a busk in the front center to hold the shape of the bodice, and am wearing my 18th century style boned corset underneath. The silk skirt is pleated and has pocket openings on each side.




  1. Avatar Nancy currier on March 11, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Wow! You’ve done it again. So very beautiful. Can’t wait to see and hear about the next one.

    • Avatar Jennifer C on March 12, 2021 at 5:18 am

      This is gorgeous! Love the monochrome embroidery and the mood to the next book. Lovely interior finishing. I’ve been rewatching Outlander and thinking about rereading it as well while we wait for “Bees” to be published!

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:39 pm

      Thank you Nancy!! I have been working on my current dress since April 1 2020!

  2. Avatar Heather McGreal on March 11, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Such a beautiful dress. I love the embroidery and the dedication of 250 hours has really paid off.

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:40 pm

      Thanks so much Heather, I really enjoyed working with Silk Thread for the first time.

  3. Avatar Gabrielle Amey on March 12, 2021 at 3:15 am

    This is beautiful.

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:40 pm

      Thank so much Gabrielle!

  4. Avatar Michael on March 13, 2021 at 12:47 am

    Insane attention to detail! Good luck!

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you Michael it was definitely a process.

  5. Avatar Amanda on March 13, 2021 at 1:11 am

    That embroidery is everything!! Wonderful job!

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you Amanda!

  6. Avatar Carol Hughey on March 13, 2021 at 1:26 am

    This is beautifully done. A wonderful Jocasta combination-gorgeous silk and tartan. Your embroidery is superb!

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:42 pm

      Thank you Carol I love mixing different textures of fabric. So happy to hear you enjoy my embroidery too.

  7. Avatar Jackie Jacobs on March 13, 2021 at 2:50 am

    Your hand embroidery is amazing

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:43 pm

      Thank you Jackie, the Silk thread was amazing to work with.

  8. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 13, 2021 at 10:20 am

    So stunning, I love the embroidery

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:43 pm

      Thank you Carly I appreciate your comment !

  9. Avatar Mathilde on March 13, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Amazing enbroidery work. It’s stunning.

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 13, 2021 at 10:44 pm

      Thank you Mathilde, the silk thread I used really makes the design pop.

  10. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 3:43 am

    Such a wonderful outfit! Your work is gorgeous. And while the embroidery was fantastic, it was looking at the bodice from the inside that just did it. Such lovely detail.

  11. Avatar Teri Biglands on March 14, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Wow! Thanks so much Jaye. I had the bodice completely finished, but when I tried a final fitting it was an inch too long! So I painstakingly had to rip out and redo the bottom…that was a nail bitter. I am so glad you appreciate my careful efforts. The long piece of gold silk holds my “busk” which helps to support the shape.

  12. Avatar Rebecca on March 15, 2021 at 2:41 am

    The embroidery on this is just out of this world. well. I guess it’s in Scotland! Anyway. it’s lovely. I hope you can hang your dress out where you can see all that beautiful work as you go about your day. Also– avidly waiting for the bees to get told so I can get to reading the next book! Best of luck from Icarus!

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 16, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks so much Icarus , lovely to meet another Outlander fan!

  13. Avatar Effi on March 15, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    This is so beautiful! I’m a huge scotland fan 😀 so you shot me there!
    The inside of the bodice looks so neat!!! wow!
    And the pattern of the sleeves is matching your front bodice?! is this for real?!
    The embroidery over all is just beautiful! I love the litte bee so much 😀

  14. Avatar Teri Biglands on March 16, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Thank You Effi! Oh my goodness those sleeves nearly killed me. As I am self taught, I waisted 3 yards of tartan trying to figure out how to make them match!! I then searched the internet. Thank goodness for You- Tube videos and the generosity of other artists sharing their knowledge.

  15. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 16, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Incredible details and beautiful stitching and finishes! The inside of your bodice is PRISTINE! I love how you brought this to life and I could absolutely see this on Jocasta. Great work!

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 18, 2021 at 12:37 am

      Thanks so much for the compliment Maeri❤️✂️.

  16. Avatar Elizabeth Hatfield on March 16, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    The embroidery pattern used on the stomacher is amazing! Did you use the same pattern on the skirt or a different one? The Tartan you chose look wonderful against the gold silk, which really brightens up the colors of the Tartan….. hmm, you did that on purpose, right?

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 18, 2021 at 12:43 am

      Great comment! The design of the dress progressed during the 6 months it took to make. After embroidering the skirt , I then realized the stomacher needed to be embroidered so I worked out a new design to fit the space. I know very little about photography . The tartan is bright but does appear a bit brighter in some of the photos.

  17. Avatar Katie Hernandez on March 17, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    Beautiful! The embroidery is well done, specifically the bee. I love the addition of the beads to it.

  18. Avatar Teri Biglands on March 18, 2021 at 12:47 am

    Thank you Katie . I like the beads too they give a nice dimension to the embroidery

  19. Avatar Laurie on March 20, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Beautiful colours! Gorgeous fit and construction. Lovely embroidery.

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 22, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks so much Laurie❤️✂️

  20. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 26, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    This is so impressive! <3 I'm in love with the embroidery on the stomacher/front, super cute!

    • Avatar Teri Biglands on March 28, 2021 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks so much Kikkii❤️✂️

  21. Avatar Kat Cuseo on March 30, 2021 at 3:52 am

    Beautiful dress! I love the fabrics you chose!

  22. Avatar Lizzie Blake on April 1, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    This is such a beautiful creation! I love that just looking at it, I could take some guesses at where it was going – but then your text was still so beautifully written to bring attention to other bits of the outfit. Amazing job!

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