Titanic Boarding Suits

By Jennie Chancey

Helen has teamed up with Tracie Arnold to produce this magnificent boarding suit ensemble, complete with hat and gloves! Helen found some fantastic new “Titanic” resources along the way, and I’ll let her share her story in her own words: “Yes!!! The great moment has arrived!!! My very first ‘Titanic’ project, the Boarding Suit, is done!!! I first started taking pattern-cutting classes in September 2001, with only one goal in mind: to re-create all of Rose’s outfits. The first pattern we made had to be a skirt, so I had to start with the boarding suit. My first project turned out to be a real co-production, and this is the story.As soon as my skirt pattern was ready, I couldn’t wait to start. The pinstriped fabric was not easy to find, but I managed to get some from this link. I was all set to start – then I realized that, because the jacket lines up with the front panel of the skirt, I’d have to make the jacket first. Here I ran into difficulties: I got hold of a pattern but couldn’t make it work, and after several weeks of blood, sweat, and tears, my mother and I admitted we needed help. This is where the great Tracie Arnold of Past and Present came in. She understood my plight and agreed to make the jacket; I decided I might as well order the shirt and tie from her, too. Although I was disappointed that I couldn’t manage the jacket myself, I was also very happy, because owning one of Tracie’s creations was a dream come true. In fact, it was her creations that inspired me to start sewing in the first place. Her work is exquisite and I just can’t recommend her highly enough. The jacket was just like the one in the movie – no skimping on details. The shirt was utterly beautiful and the tie just right. Tracie really pulled out the stops for me and I am her fan forever. After the great day of the jacket’s arrival, I was able to finish the skirt quite quickly, and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out, especially since I haven’t done any sewing since I was at school, and didn’t know what I was doing then!

“Next I turned my attention to the hat. I am going to take a more lenient attitude towards accessories than to the dresses themselves – the dresses have to be accurate but it’s all right for the accessories to be ‘in the style of’. Having said that, the costume is not really complete without a large purple hat, and large purple hats do not grow on trees – but as I was walking past a local thrift store, I spotted one in the window. I was in and out of that store in less than two minutes! No, it isn’t an accurate copy, but it does the job. I did research the hat, though, and I have some recommendations for others who want as accurate a copy as possible. The town I live in was once famous for its hat industry, and there are still a good many milliners nearby. I found a company called Alicia Boon that quoted me a very good price for the basic sinamay hat with rolled 7-inch brim. Of course, the bow would not be included, but Wingeo has a hat pattern suitable for ‘Titanic,’ and you could just make the bow from that. Then I turned my attention to the gloves. In all the photographs of the original costume, the gloves are quite a significant addition because of the velvet cuffs. I felt that the suit would not really be complete until I had gloves – if not those gloves, then at least some four-button, off-white, kid or cotton ones. The problem is, four-button, off-white kid gloves are very hard to find, indeed. You can’t just stroll down to the department store and pick some up during your lunch hour. Ordering them over the web would be a problem, because the colour had to go well with the off-white fabric — matching shades of white is pretty difficult. And then I stumbled across Chester Jefferies. I didn’t know this, but they made all the *leather* gloves for the movie. I contacted Peter Kelly there, sent him some pictures, and he confirmed that his company had indeed made the very same gloves that you saw on Kate Winslet! He quoted me a very good price indeed. I mailed him the velvet that I had bought to trim the jacket, and a few weeks later, those gloves were mine. I think every ‘Titanic’ costume fan should know about this company. So the costume is done! Jennie, I *love* your site and visit it whenever I can. I think the new ‘Titanic’ Tour layout is just great. I have learned so much from your site and I will never get tired of it!”

Wow! Thanks so much to Helen for sharing this delightful story, the beautiful photographs and all the great resources!


Jennifer LaConte of LaConte Designs created this boarding suit, complete with blouse and tie (note the details!). She writes, “This is my boarding suit. The camera sorta ‘ate’ the pinstriping, but it is there!!!” Great job!


Jennifer Cech of La Petite Trousseau made this boarding suit for herself and wore it Easter Sunday. Smashing!


This is a beautiful Boarding Suit ensemble made by Tracie Arnold, including a reproduction purse. You can see Tracie’s reproductions at her site. Her work is wonderful!


Rachel H. poses in the boarding suit by Sabine Pothmann of Movie Costumes. Fantastic!


The gals at “That Sinking Feeling” made this stunning reproduction of the boarding suit for Errin. It even has a matching purse. The incredible hat was made by Lady Cynthia’s millinery. See my ‘Titanic’ Resources page for information on these suppliers.


Laura Sauve’ made this gorgeous re-creation of the boarding suit, and she also offers re-creations of the “Titanic” costumes for 11 1/2 inch fashion dolls! You can reach her at 66 Parsell Square, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada M1E 1M9, or e-mail her at bluvelvette@yahoo.com. Her phone number is 416-283-5894.

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1 Comment on Titanic Boarding Suits

  1. *Katia*
    June 1, 2011 at 11:15 am (3 years ago)

    i also made a boarding suit and wore it at venice carnival..it was a great success!!

    Reply

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