Monday, April 9, 2012

An evening in 1912, or, the Epic Titanic Dinner dress

Last weekend I had the very good fortune to attend a truly marvelous, and aptly named, Epic Titanic Party. 

Imagine an evening spent in a pleasant and tastefully decorated home with great company, good conversation, sparkling dresses, lots of champagne, and a mind-blowing and utterly delicious thirteen course dinner.  After the dinner all the guests changed into appropriate 1912 lounge wear, and, well... lounged.  And chatted.  And drank more champagne and absinthe before tumbling into bed.  (I am not too proud to admit that I didn't even get to a bed, but instead crashed right on the floor where I awoke the following morning.)

I can't begin to describe how perfect everything was and can never thank our host, Jenny-Rose, enough for all of her amazing effort in pulling it off so splendidly.

What I can somewhat describe, however, is my dress.

I've always really liked 1912 as a time period and welcomed the excuse to finally make a dress from this era.  I liked nearly every extant dress or illustration or fashion print that I saw, but none of them jumped out as The Dress.  More than any other dress though, I was inspired by this pink one belonging to Queen Maud:

In the end it was easier to not let myself be bound by trying to reproduce a garment, and I eventually simply bought fabric and then fit a design to the materials I had.

The embroidered fabric is an amazing vintage Dupatee which I found on ebay... a purple/burgandy crinkle silk chiffon with gold emboidery and sequins and tiny green and red glass beads.  I then purchased a plain silk chiffon in a matching color, and layered them over a base of congac/paprika/burnt orange silk charmeuse.  Burgandy velvet also decorates the skirt and is used for the bow on the front of the dress.

The charmeuse foundation of the dress is patterned from the 1910 dress in Janet Arnold, and the other layers were simply draped on top.  I can't even begin to imagine trying to flat pattern these sorts of dresses...

I don't really have much to say about my lounging "harem" outfit which followed dinner except that I threw it together the morning of the event, and from start to finish it was done in well under an hour.  Good times...


  1. Love it! You look fantastic. :)

  2. I love your gown. It's fantastic

  3. this is really, truly beautiful, gwendolyn!

  4. Gwendolyn, I'm once again blown away by your skill with a needle and thread. At this point I'm convinced I'm going to be requesting an interview with you for when you are big-time costume designer in New York or Hollywood! XO, Jill

  5. Dear Gyendolyn, your work is beautiful! I don't know if you are able to help me or not. My daughter and I have a dilema. We have chosen the same wedding dress. It is the jump dress from Titanic. Do you make this dress or something very close to it at a resonable price? I can not seem to find anyone who can make this dress or anything close to it.

  6. Gwendolyn I have left one other message of how beautiful your work is, just lovely! I didn't put down to notify me though so I'm leaving another message regarding the jump dress from Titanic, if you do make them or not or something very close to it.If you could please contact me I would very much appreciate it.

  7. Hi Cheryl, thanks for your kind words! I'm afraid I'm not taking on any commissions at this time, as I need to focus on my work for grad school. Sorry that I can't help you out!