Titanic Dress: Simplicity 8399

Simplicity 8399 Titanic Costume. Easy instructions. For patient beginners. Not period correct, but a wonderful representation.

Simplicity 8399 Titanic Costume

Easy instructions. For patient beginners. Not period correct, but a wonderful representation.

Style: View A.
Fabric: 100% white cotton for bodice lining. 100% satin silk for bodice lining and underskirt. Black chiffon for second overskirt. Sari fabric for bodice and overskirt.


The good news is that this costume pattern is a wonderful “I need it nOw!” Edwardian. It is meant to simulate gowns of the period, and I think it does so very well.

I bought a full length sari for this gown. It cost me only $25. It’s sparkly, pretty, and impossible to cut out a mirror image for a traditional skirt pattern if you want to follow the grainline of the fabric.

I learned that the pattern of a sari, or at least this one, is a one way design. To complicate things, the design is printed at an angle. This is great when the sari is used in the traditional sense - the design and the fabric fall straight when the sari is wrapped around the body. Not so when cutting it for a garment.

I used the center line of the feather design as my guide. As long as I lined that up, then the skirt design should fall straight, right? All was well and good until I realized the top and bottom of the sari design (the blue and beige parts) kept creeping in and out of the skirt panels. There was either too much or too little of the print at the top and bottom. At the 24th hour I realized I had to cut the skirt gores against the grainline at a 20 degree or so angle to keep the design - and my sanity - intact.


My only must-do recommendation is to remove 1-2” width from the skirt panel to thin out the gathers at the front waist. The gathering at the back was minimal and acceptable. I had to alter the inner bodice drastically because it’s made to fit over a modern bra and not the period correct Edwardian corset I made for this gown. The bodice was made by tacking folded panel of sari fabric to the front of the bodice before adding the sleeves. I used the underskirt pattern for both overskirts.

I didn’t want the zipper to show so I sewed it in off-center. This way, the zipper is hidden from sight, and I could still add snaps to the edge. The center back was pinned in place for the evening. No one was the wiser. Hey, what kind of costuming do we like? Done!



Materials and Cost

Purple sari = $25, Shoes = $50, Corset fabric = $10, Dress lining = from stash, Gloves = $2, Purse = from stash. Total $87

Jewelry borrowed from Laura Ulak. Purple evening gloves found on Ebay for $4 (includes shipping). Reticule compliments of Crown Royal. I’m wearing a little button that reads “Free Mr. Bates.” :)


Worn over a custom edwardian corset. Click for the free pattern and tutorial.