Hot! Titanic Dress False Starts

In my typical fashion, I’m a week away from The Last Dinner on the Titanic event and I still haven’t made any substantial progress on my dress.    Part of my problem stems from the fact that I want to do justice to the hundred year-old dress that I’ll be wearing as the focal piece of the outfit. To bring you up to speed, I bough this dress at the Alameda Point Antique Fair and while it is in amazing condition, it’s just not fancy enough for the dinner. So I had some fairly simple plans to dress the dress up. Over the course of the month, I’ve complicated matters by trying to make two different pieces to go over the dress. One, in a dark brown, “beaded” tulle and the other in a white tulle. Neither of those looked good.

Here’s a look at some of some of my false starts and mis-steps.

The dress alongside with the various fabric I’ve bought. The dress form taunts me. I feel sorry for my poor daughter. We were sitting in the other room, eating dinner, when I pointed to the dress across the room and said “This dress is a hundred years-old. Please don’t touch it. Just stay away from it.” And then I looked again at the dress and it look kind of frightening — this gauzy ghost of a dress just standing there next to Penelope’s desk. If I was a kid, I would have been FREAKED out by the ghost dress in the corner of the room. She’s been great. She stays away from it.

I wanted desperately to find a use for this lace that I received from my mother-in-law. It’s a substantial length so I may still end up cutting a tiny piece and use it in some accent way.

For a sash, I had an idea to bead some of the brown tulle on velvet. The tiny white “pearls” were already attached to the fabric and I just beaded in the same design. All that work and I don’t think I’m going to use it for the sash. The brown is just so heavy against the lightness of the dress.

When I bought some of this tulle for an overlay, I thought the ivory color at the store was too dark. I bought white and it was way too light. So, I tried to tea dye it. It made some difference, but was still too stark. I decided to still go ahead and make the jacket.

And I even did a substantial amount of beading along the sides. But the amount of time this took was not worth the outcome. So, I cast that aside and decided to go in yet another direction.

I had bough 1/8 of silk dupioni as an accent piece. It was $26/yd at Jo-Ann’s so that 1/8th was just a test. I decided to just free form the beading and actually quite liked how it turned out. So then I decided (today) to go back to Jo-Ann’s and buy two yards of it.

My latest and greatest idea is to make the sash and some sort of overskirt from the silk. There will be some more beading. Hopefully this will stick.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. I can’t imagine doing all that beading and then not using it! I hope everything comes together for you in a big way this week!

  2. You are brave! I can’t wait to see how everything turns out. Good luck and thanks for sharing :D

  3. Now I’m really curious how the complete outfit will turn out!!

  4. Looking forward to the end result – however it may turn out. I’m liking the colours you have come up with so far. Good Luck!!

  5. I cannot wait to see how this turns out and hope everything falls into place for you. I can understand why you don’t want to use the beading on the brown this time, but it is seriously gorgeous. Good luck!

  6. I wonder if it would work better to make an underskirt instead of an over skirt? It seems like the beauty of the dress is its ethereal airiness. It’s hard for me to imagine putting anything over it that wouldn’t weigh it down.

  7. I really wanted to go to this. Thought of moving house and making dress was too stressful. I am sure you will pull together something interesting and beautiful in the next week.

  8. I hope all the bits and pieces you tried out make it into dresses in the future, the beading all looks lovely.