Claire Fraser's Bat Suit Vest & Skirt
Updated: Feb 2
Research and Inspiration
First of all, keep in mind Claire is a time-traveler from 1945 and travels back in time to 1743 Scotland the first time. The second time she travels from the 1960s to 1780s, which she is more prepared for. In the show, Claire sews her own dress, and she puts a lot of strategic thought and works into it, using rain-jacket material. This dress to me is awesome because it's a mix between Pirates of The Caribbean and Outlander. I found that Gabardine would be the best material, to keep it close to screen accurate. The fabric takes its name from the word "gaberdine", originally a long, loose cloak or gown worn in the Middle Ages, but later signifying a rain cloak or protective smock-frock, it's also water-proof. It was actually created by Thomas Burberry, of Burberry fashion house in 1879.
Link for more information on the "Bat Dress" by the costume designer Terry Dresbach https://outlanderbts.com/the-bat-suit/
I found two types of material I felt matched the dress the best on Etsy, Light Blue Gabardine for the vest, and Wedgewood Blue Gabardine for the skirt. I wanted to keep its screen accurate as possible, I found buttons at Joanne's that were extremely close to the ones on her vest.
The vest took me about two weeks to make. The back is pleated, and the entire thing is lined. The only thing I need to do is put the buttons on it.
The Skirt was a massive beast to put together. There was a lot of fabric needed, and once I was able to get all the pieces sewn together, I had to gather the top. For the skirt, I decided to put in an elastic waistband, because 1. no one would see it and 2. comfort!
The Final Product
I love how this turned out. It fits perfectly and I think it's extremely close to what Claire wears. Making this costume was pretty challenging, but totally worth it. I definitely want to make more Outlander costumes in the future!
The Final Look