Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #7 - Sleeves

There are some amazing examples of historical sleeves styles out there.  Put the focus on the arms and shoulders in your creation for this challenge.
The Dreamstress

There is no way for me to sew any historical fashion with falling down the rabbit hole of research.  The time period, the people of that time, their lifestyles, the joys and sorrows are all eventually woven into the final fabric that hangs on my simple dressform.  I've heard the names of those famous 19th century and early 20th century fashion designers - Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jacque Doucet, Lucy Lady Duff-Gordon, Jean Patou, Louis Vuitton, Charles Frederick Worth, Salvatore Ferragamo.  For this Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge one name came immediately to mind:  Paul Poiret.

Paul Poiret (pronounced pwah-rey) was a leading French fashion designer who lived from 1879 to 1944.  Recognized as the first "modern" master couturier he had a profound influence on 20th century fashion.  Early in his career he worked for Doucet and the House of Worth where he was considered too non-conservative.  In 1903 he established his own design house.

His major contribution to fashion was the development of the dressmaking technique known as draping.  He is remembered for freeing women from 19th century corsets and modernizing the Victorian silhouette.  Construction techniques were along straight lines and made of rectangles.

One of his iconic designs has been brought into a current pattern by Folkwear as their Poiret Cocoon Coat.


The pattern sketch shows the beautiful draped design with a sleeve that is basically an extension of the front and back of the coat looking like a bat wing.  Although the pattern is simple, just a single piece that is cut twice and a collar, I am truly confused as to exactly how this is all going to work!






There is a dart and a curved portion at the outward edge of the pattern.  After the fabric is cut and the dart is sewn the sleeve seam is created from the bustline outward by folding the fabric onto itself.  It is a brilliant design!  And look at that beautifully created sleeve!  Perfection!


See the seamline running along the front center of the sleeve where I have the fabric pinned?
 The four pieces are cut and sewn for both the outside embellished velvet fabric and the interior taffeta fabric.  All that is left is a collar piece which is interfaced and piped with velvet.  Velvet piping also made a nice finish to the sleeve edge.


Since I have just barely enough fabric to create this coat and the one-way design leaves some open spaces, I cut appliques from the remaining scrap fabric and work to position them.


The final coat design.


The interior taffeta.
With a lot of saving and selling I was fortunate to be able to attend Costume College 2018 in Woodland Hills, California this past weekend.  There were 650 people in attendance for a theme of Dressing the  Royals.  I attended classes and lectures, laughed with friends new and old, and costumed day and night.  This Poiret-inspired coat with a beaded gown I had made for a spring event were my Red Carpet and Gala gown for Saturday night.  The coat swished and sparkled and I added some attitude with my rose design Meerschaum pipe.




Those sleeves!!!

Does this coat strike you as a bit Art Deco?  Perhaps you know a Russian-born French artist and designer named Romain de Tirtoff.  His first employer was Paul Poiret.  He was best known by the pseudonym from the French pronunciation of his initials - Erté.  Oops, down another research rabbit hole!

Bonne couture,
Jeanette

Historical Sew Monthly

The Challenge:  #7 - Sleeves
Material:  Velvet blend, taffeta blend
Pattern:  Folkwear 503
Year:  1911 - 1919
Notions:  Frog closure, cord for piping
How historically accurate is it?  The technique of draping and this style is accurate.
Hours to complete:  27 hours
First worn:  Costume College 2018
Total cost:  $80

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #6 - Rebellion and Counter-Culture

Create an item that pays homage to fashion rebels and clothes that flaunt their place on the fringes of standard sartorial society, or that was signature to a rebelling cause.
The Dreamstress



Prior to 1795 women's fashions had retained a similar silhouette, with minor variations, for about 300 years.  Following the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror in 1794, a new style emerged reflecting the Revolutionary belief in the values of republican Rome.  Named from the French Revolutionary Government known as the Directory, Directoire style describes a brief transitional period from 1795 to 1799 in the decorative arts, fashion, and especially furniture design.

A cutaway jacket, or Directoire jacket, became popular during this period.  The jacket was cut short in front with a long tailcoat back.  The jacket style fell out of fashion around 1810.   In the early 20th century French designers brought the style back into fashion and it was very popular during 1912 and 1913.

The Fashion Archaeologist developed a pattern from an early 1912 French design and offered the pattern under their Edwardian Rose Antique Patterns line.


The elegant shape of the jacket comes from the cut of the pieces.  For the perfect drape I used a wool suiting fabric completely interlined (underlined) with silk organza, and lined with a very light faux silk fabric.  There were many pieces and the day I had them finally cut and organized on my bed was a wonderful day!


The outer assembly begins with underlining each piece with the silk organza and then assembling them as instructed.  The silk velvet cuffs and collar also underlined with silk organza and are pre-assembled and added.



The lining is assembled and includes the silk velvet lapel facings which are also underlined with silk organza.



The lining is stitched to the outer layer and a small opening left at the lower edge where the entire jacket is pulled through to its right side.  The opening is slip-stitched closed.  The interior of the cuffs is stitched to the lining.


The neckline is under-stitched by hand to prevent the lining from rolling outward when worn.



There are many small details, such as tacking the lining to the jacket in strategic places, that are all defined in the instructions.  The sash/belt is constructed separately as part of the jacket.  I covered buttons and added them to the jacket front and back and placed similar sized buttons on the skirt below the sash.  This was the finished jacket in April.



I love this suit and wore it for an event in April.  This past week I wanted to finish the suit according to the 1912 French illustration by adding the fringe to the collar.  Since I had not added fringe to the collar prior, I stitched the fringe next to the seam and through each upper loop of the fringe.


What a beautiful addition!  This is the suit for photos yesterday.





Historical Sew Monthly

The Challenge:  #6 June - Rebellion and Counter-Culture
Material:  Wool suiting, silk organza, silk velvet, faux silk lining
Pattern:  Edwardian Rose Antique Patterns:  Ladies 'Directoire' (Cutaway) Jacket
Year:  1912
Notions:  Thread, buttons for covering, fringe
How historically accurate is it?  Other than the synthetic lining, very accurate.
Hours to complete:  20 hours
First Worn:  Worn in April, but finished this past week and worn for photos
Total Cost:  $88.00 and $24.00 for pattern and shipping

Tasha Puppy likes the suit too!!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Party Like A Vanderbilt - Sail Away - Season 3 The Finale



Party Like A Vanderbilt - Sail Away - Season 3 The Finale
Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
April 14 and 15, 2018

Book of Faces - Attendees and the Titanic Passengers They Honored



Attendee: Jeanette Murray
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Violet Constance Jessop
(2 October 1887 - 5 May 1971) An ocean liner stewardess and nurse who survived the disastrous sinkngs of both the RMS Titanic and her sister ship, the HMHS Britannic in 1912 and 1916, respectively. In addition, she had been on board the RMS Olympic, the eldest of the 3 sister ships when it collided with a British warship in 1911.


Attendee: Rita Smith
Titanic Passenger Portraits: Edith Dresser Vanderbilt and Edwin Charles Wheeler
Edith Dresser Vanderbilt (17 January 1873 - 21 December 1958) An American philanthropist known for her personal grace, fashionable presence, and delightful demeanor. Born in Rhode Island, Edith and her four siblings were orphaned when Edith was a young girl. The children lived with their maternal grandparents and continued their education. When the grandparents passed, Edith and her sisters moved to Paris where the cost of living was less expensive.
Four years later, Edith met George Washington Vanderbilt. They married in 1898 and moved into George's home in Asheville, North Carolina. The young couple complemented each other: Edith, with her independent, compassionate, and industrious talents, and George, with his thoughtful, visionary, and world view. Both were socially progressive individuals and together they created initiatives, programs, industries, and schools that forever changed the face of Western, North Carolina.
Edwin Charles Wheeler. (19 February 1886 - 15 April 1912) Edwin was born in Bath, Somerset, England. Ellis Island records show Edwin arriving in New York on 6 April 1911. In New York Edwin became employed as a footman for George Vanderbilt.
In early 1912 the Vanderbilts and their employee, Edwin, were in Europe and had made plans to return home aboard Titanic. Edith's family begged her to cancel the voyage as "travelling on a maiden voyage was hazardous". The Vanderbilts complied with the family's wishes and sailed earlier on the Olympic. Edwin, who was to chaperone the luggage already aboard the Titanic, boarded the Titanic himself in Southampton. Edwin perished in the sinking.


Attendee: Lonna Miller
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Dorothy Winifred Gibson
(17 May 1889 - 17 February 1946)  A pioneering American silent film actress, singer, dancer, and artist's model. Dorothy performed on Broadway in shows produced by Charles Frohman and the Shubert Brothers. She became a favorite model for famous commercial artist Harrison Fisher. Her image appeared on posters, post cards, merchandising products and book illustrations as well as the magazines Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post.
Soon after the Titanic disaster Dorothy acted in the first film ever produced about it called Saved From the Titanic. She played herself appearing in the same clothing she had worn during the sinking - a white silk evening dress topped with a cardigan and polo coat. The movie was released barely a month after the disaster. The only known prints of the film were lost in a fire in 1914.

Attendee: Randi Hueston Lowery
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Lady Lucy Christiana Duff-Gordon
(13 June 1863 - 20 April 1935) Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon was a leading fashion designer who worked under the professional name of 'Lucile'. She achieved international acclaim and was widely acknowledged as an innovator in couture styles and fashion industry public relations.
Lady Duff-Gordon and her husband booked passage on the Titanic under the alias "Mr. And Mrs. Morgan". Although there were questions regarding their escape from the sinking, both the British and American Inquiries determined that the couple acted appropriately and above reproach. The couple's testimony attracted the largest crowds during the Inquiries.
Three years after surviving the Titanic, Lucy booked passage aboard the final voyage of the RMS Lusitania. She cancelled her trip due to illness. The Lusitania was sunk by a torpedo on that voyage.


Attendee: Michael Reitz
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Colonel Archibald Gracie IV
(15 January 1858 - 4 December 1912) An American writer, historian, and real estate investor. He was the namesake and direct descendent of the Archibald Gracie who, in 1799, built Gracie Mansion, the current official residence of the mayor of New York City.
Ever the gentleman of the era and as was expected, Gracie spent much of the Titanic voyage chaperoning various unaccompanied ladies. He could often be found reading in the library, swimming, and exercising in the gymnasium. He was known among other first-class passengers as a tireless raconteur who had an inexhaustible supply of stories about Chickamauga and the Civil War in general.
The night of Titanic's collision Gracie assisted in filling lifeboats. As the ship began to sink Gracie used a rushing wave to move himself to grab a handhold and pull himself to the roof of the bridge. The undertow of the continued sinking pulled Gracie down with the ship. Beneath the surface Gracie freed himself from the ship, fought his way to the surface, and scrambled onto an overturned lifeboat.
Gracie was rescued by the Carpethia. He wrote his story and other passenger's memories into a compelling book, The Truth about the Titanic, which is still available today under the title Titanic: A Survivor's Story.


Attendees: Becky and Gregg Taylor
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Madeleine Talmage Force Astor and Colonel John Jacob Astor IV
(19 June 1893 - 27 March 1940) Madeleine Astor was an American socialite and the second wife of John Jacob Astor. The Astors were returning to America aboard the Titanic after an extended honeymoon in Egypt and Paris. Madeleine survived the sinking and on 14 August 1912 gave birth to a son, John Jacob Astor.
(13 July 1864 - 15 April 1912) John Jacob "Jack" Astor IV was an American businessman, real estate builder, investor, inventor, writer, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Spanish-American War and a prominent member of the Astor family. According to the published memoirs of Archibald Gracie, Astor helped his wife through a window and into a lifeboat. He asked if he could accompany her because she was "in a delicate condition" and was told no. Astor did not survive the sinking. He was the richest passenger aboard the Titanic and was thought to be among the richest people in the world with a net worth of nearly $87 million when he died (equivalent to $2.16 billion 100 years later).


Attendees: Jan and David Row
Titanic Passenger Portraits: Rosalie Ida Straus and Isador Straus

(6 February 1849 - 15 April 1912) Rosalie Ida Straus married Isador Straus in 1871. They had seven children. The couple was considered especially close by their friends and family and exchanged letters daily when Isador traveled.
(6 February 1845 - 15 April 1912) Isador Straus was an American businessman, politician, and co-owner of Macy's department store, along with his brother Nathan.
Traveling back from a winter in Europe, Ida and Isador were passengers on the Titanic. They originally planned to return home on a different ship, but switched to Titanic due to a coal strike in England that caused the coal from other ships to be diverted to Titanic.
After the collision, Ida refused to leave Isador and would not get into a lifeboat without him. Although Isador was offered a seat in a lifeboat, he refused seating while there were still women and children aboard. Ida insisted her maid get into a lifeboat. Ida gave her maid her fur coat saying "You're going to need this more than I will." Although repeatedly encouraged to leave the ship, Ida told Isador. "We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go."
Ida and Isador were last seen on deck arm in arm. Eye witnesses described the scene as a "most remarkable exhibition of love and devotion".


Attendees: Edward Michael Burns and Patty
Titanic Passenger Portraits: Dorothy Annan Harder and George Achilles Harder
(4 July 1890 - 1 December 1926) Dorothy was born in New York to parents who were native New Yorkers. After her parents' passing Dorothy was raised by a paternal aunt living on 5th Avenue in Manhatten.
(20 October 1886 - 26 May 1959) George was born in Brooklyn, New York with his father being born in New York as well. George worked in his father's foundry which supplied parts to General Motors.
Dorothy was beautiful and George was immediately smitten. They married in January 1912 and after a 3 month-long honeymoon in Europe the couple boarded the Titanic in Cherbourg.
George testified during the Inquiries. He described the collision as "Not so heavy to even wake up a great many passengers". George had gone on deck, however, and was told to get his lifebelt. George and Dorothy were helped into the second lifeboat by Mr. Ismay. "We pulled away from the immediate vicinity of the Titanic as she was starting to list considerably and her bow was slowly tilting - but all the time the lights were burning and the band was playing the Star Spangled Banner."
After their rescue George and Dorothy did their best to comfort the bereaved on the Carpathia. They and some other survivors formed a committee to honor the bravery of the captain, officers, and crew of the Carpathia.


Attendee: Amy Randall
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Constance Willard
(6 June 1890 - 25 April 1964) Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and living with her parents in Duluth, Minnesota. Constance had been visiting an aunt in England. She boarded the Titanic at Southampton and was without relatives or near friends on the ship. She was travelling with the Carter family who were new acquaintances and had promised her aunt back in England to look out for her on the trip.
She described the night after the Titanic collision: "The women were being placed in the boats, and two men took hold of me and almost pushed me into a boat. I did not appreciate the danger and I struggled until they released me. 'Do not waste time; let her go if she will not get in,' an officer said. I hurried back to my cabin again and went from cabin to cabin looking for my friends, but could not find them. A little English girl about 15 years old ran up to me and threw her arms about me.
'Oh, I am all alone,' she sobbed, 'won't you let me go with you?' I then began to realise the real danger and saw that all but two of the boats had been lowered. Some men called to us and we hurried to where they were loading a boat. All the women had been provided with lifebelts. As the men lifted us into the boat they smiled and told us to be brave."


Attendee: Lynn Anderson
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Margaret Tobin Brown
(18 July 1867 - 26 October 1932) An American socialite and philanthropist born in Hannibal, Missouri. Margaret grew up in a cottage just blocks from the Mississippi River. As a teenager she worked stripping tobacco leaves at Garth's Tobacco Company in Hannibal. At the age of 18 she followed her sister's family to Leadville, Colorado where she worked and later married J. J. Brown, a miner.
Margaret was involved in the early feminist movement in Leadville and the establishment of the Colorado Chapter of the National American Women's Suffrage Association.
Margaret's husband had an idea for mining gold which proved successful giving him a share in the company and a seat on the board and moved the family into a new financial situation.
Margaret continued her work with various organizations furthering literacy, education, suffrage, and human rights. While she attended the Carnegie Institute to further her education, she raised her two children and her brother's three daughters.
Margaret was one of the first women in the United States to run for political office and ran for the Senate eight years before women even had the right to vote. She had made a significant impact on the world even before she boarded the Titanic.
After the ship struck the iceberg Margaret helped load others into lifeboats and eventually was forced to board lifeboat six. She and the other women in lifeboat six worked together to row, keep spirits up, and dispel the gloom of other passengers and crew. However, Margaret's most significant work occurred on Carpathia, where she assisted Titanic survivors, and afterwards in New York. By the time Carpathia reached New York harbor, Margaret had helped establish the Survivor's Committee, been elected as chair, and raised money for destitute survivors. Margaret's language skills in French, German, and Russian were an asset, and she remained on Carpathia until all Titanic survivors had met with friends, family, or medical/emergency assistance.


Attendee: Connie Sonnenberg
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Helen Churchill Candee

(5 October 1858 - 23 August 1949) An American author, journalist, interior decorator, feminist, and geographer. In the spring of 1912 Helen was traveling in Europe completing research for The Tapestry Book when she received a telegram that her son had been injured. She booked passage home on the Titanic. Helen boarded lifeboat six but fell and fractured her ankle in the process. She manned the oars with another survivor in lifeboat six, Margaret Brown.
Helen wrote a detailed article on the disaster for Collier's Weekly. This cover story was one of the first in-depth eyewitness accounts of the sinking published in a major magazine.
Her Titanic injury required her to walk with a cane for almost a year, but by Match 1913 she was able to join other feminist equestriennes in the "Votes for Women" parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, riding her horse at the head of the procession that culminated at the steps of Capitol Hill.
As late as 1935-36, when she was almost 80, Helen was still traveling abroad, writing articles for National Geographic Magazine.


Attendee: Kristen Darville Foggie
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Dr. Alice May Leader

(10 May 1862 - 20 April 1944) Born in New York, the daughter of native New Yorkers, Alice received a privileged education and graduated from the Attica Union Academy. She entered medical school in Philadelphia, a career path most uncommon for women at the time. She studied in Paris and later returned to the United States. Alice and her husband, John, were prominent physicians in John's home town of Lewiston, Androscoggin, Maine. John passed in 1900.
Alice had spent a three-month-long vacation in Panama and France and was returning to her home and medical practice in New York when she boarded the Titanic.
Following the collision Alice entered lifeboat eight, which, according to the British Inquiry, was the second lifeboat lowered on the port side. There were 24 women, no male passengers, and 4 male crew. Captain Smith and a steward assisted with lowering the lifeboat. Captain Smith told the crew to row for the lights which seemed not further than 10 miles away, drop off the passengers, and then return. Since there were two masthead lights on the distant ship, it was certain to be a steamer.
Alice and all the other women in lifeboat eight saw those lights but their efforts never reached them. At daybreak they saw another steamer, the Carpathia, and turned around to be rescued.


Attendee: Rochelle Rose
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Lucy Noël Martha, Countess of Rothes
(25 December 1878 - 12 September 1956) Called Noël because she was Christmas-born, the countess was a noted philanthropist and social leader. For many years she was a popular figure in London society known for her beauty, bright personality, and the diligence with which she helped organize lavish entertainments patronized by English royalty and members of the nobility.
These attributes extended to her charity work throughout the UK. In 1911 she began her long association with the Red Cross. That year she also underwent training as a nurse. She nursed soldiers during WWI where she had converted a wing of her home into a hospital and later at Coulter Hospital in London. There she nursed her own husband after he was wounded in battle.
She is most noted worldwide for her courage during the Titanic disaster. The countess had boarded the Titanic at Southampton travelling to Vancouver, BC, Canada. The countess, her cousin, and a maid were rescued in lifeboat 8.
Another survivor in lifeboat 8, Dr. Alice Leader, spoke of the countess: "The countess is an expert oarswoman and thoroughly at home on the water. She practically took command of our boat when it was found that the seamen who had been placed at the oars could not row skilfully. Several of the women took their place with the countess at the oars, and rowed in turns, while the weak and unskilled stewards sat quietly in one end of the boat."
The late Ian, 21st Earl of Rothes and grandson of the countess remembers her as generous and kind, but also said she was quick-tempered, hard-nosed and "bossy". "But she was so charming, one soon forgot." The survivors of lifeboat 8 are fortunate to have had such a person with them!


Attendee: Theresa Niesen
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Berthe Antonine Mayné
(21 July 1887 - 11 October 1962) Born in Brussels, Berthe worked as a cabaret singer. She was locally famed and a Belgian newspaper described her as "being well known in Brussels in circles of pleasure and was often seen in the company of people who like to wine and dine and enjoy life".
In the winter of 1911 she met a young Montreal hockey player, Quigg Edmond Baxter. Baxter was on a trip with his mother and sister and met Berthe performing at a cafe in Brussels. They fell in love and Baxter persuaded Berthe to accompany him home on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.
Baxter registered Berthe under the pseudonym "Mrs. de Villiers" in a first class stateroom. Following the collision Baxter took his mother, sister, and Berthe to lifeboat 6. Berthe did not want to leave without Baxter but another passenger of lifeboat 6, Margaret Brown, persuaded her to leave.
After her rescue Berthe stayed in Montreal for a time then moving to Paris where she continued her singing career. She retired in Brussels and in her aging years told her nephew of her Titanic experience. Neither he, nor anyone else, believed her. In 1962 Berthe passed and a shoebox of personal belongings, letters, and photographs confirmed that Berthe had, indeed, survived the sinking of the Titanic.


Attendee: Diane DiFabio
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Marjorie Anne Newell
(12 February 1889 - 11 June 1992) Marjorie, her father, and her sister boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg, France. The three were returning home to Massachusetts from a trip to the Middle East. Marjorie had celebrated her 23rd birthday in Cairo.
After the collision Marjorie's father placed both daughters in lifeboat 6.
Marjorie returned to life to marry and raise four children. She taught music in New York and New Jersey and eventually became one of the founders of the New York Symphony Orchestra.
During her final years in Massachusetts Marjorie began to speak about her experiences on the Titanic. As late as 97 years of age she attended conventions held by the Titanic International Society and the Titanic Historical Society where she told her story to many Titanic enthusiasts.
Marjorie passed in her sleep at 103 years of age. She was the second longest lived of all Titanic's survivors and the last remaining survivor who was a First Class passenger and adult at the time of the sinking. One of her grandchildren wears the onyx ring recovered from her father's body. On that ring is a carving of Neptune, King of the Sea.


Attendees: John Gustafson and Nico Nagel-Gustafson
Titanic Passenger Portraits: Benjamin Guggenheim and Mme. Léotine Pauline Aubart
Benjamin Guggenheim. (26 October 1865 - 15 April 1912) Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the fifth of seven sons of the wealthy mining magnate Meyer Guggenheim. Although Ben married in 1894, due to business concerns he grew distant from his wife and was frequently away from their New York City home. He maintained an apartment in Paris, France.
Ben boarded the RMS Titanic accompanied by his valet, his chauffeur, his mistress, Mme. Aubart and her maid. On the evening of the sinking Ben and his valet slept through the Titanic's encounter with the iceberg. They were awakened after midnight by Madame Aubart and her maid who had felt the collision in their cabin.
After escorting the ladies to a lifeboat Ben and his valet returned to their cabin and changed into evening wear. The two were seen heading into the Grand Staircase. Ben was heard to say "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen ".
Both men perished in the sinking.
Mme. Léotine Pauline Aubart (20 May 1887 - 29 October 1964)
Ninette, as she was known, was born in Paris, France. She was a singer and most notably remembered as Benjamin Guggenheim's mistress accompanying him on the Titanic voyage.
Ninette and her maid were rescued and Ninette stayed in New York until May of the following year. She then returned to France. She lived a long life out of the public eye with the exception of a few house parties in the 1920s that had to be interrupted by the local police. A true survivor!


Attendee: Patrick Murray
Titanic Passenger Portrait: Captain Edward J. Smith
(27 January 1850 - 15 April 1912) A British Merchant Navy officer, Smith joined the White Star Line in 1880. As he rose in seniority he gained a reputation amongst passengers for quiet flamboyance. Some passengers would only sail the Atlantic in a ship commanded by him. After he became commodore of the White Star fleet in 1904 it became routine for Smith to command the line's newest ships on their maiden voyage. It was therefore no surprise that Smith took the Titanic on her maiden voyage in April 1912.
The Titanic's maiden voyage was to have been the last of Smith's long and illustrious career. He intended to retire and spend more time with his wife and daughter in Southampton.
The first four days of the voyage passed without incident, but shortly after 11:40 pm on 14 April Smith was informed by First Officer William Murdoch that the ship had just collided with an iceberg. Despite the warnings and Smith earlier changing course, it was soon apparent that the collision had seriously damaged the ship. The Titanic's designer, Thomas Andrews, was aboard ship and reported that Titanic would sink in under two hours. During the evacuation, Captain Smith, aware that there were not enough lifeboats for all of the passengers and crew, did all in his power to prevent panic and did his best to assist in the evacuation.
Just minutes before the ship started its final plunge, Smith was still busy releasing Titanic's crew from their duties; he went to the Marconi operators room and released Junior Marconi Officer Harold Bride and senior wireless operator John Phillips from their duties. He then carried out a final tour of the deck, telling crew members: "Now it's every man for himself". At 2:10 am Steward Edward Brown saw Smith walk onto the bridge alone. This was the last reliable sighting of Smith. Five minutes later, the ship disappeared beneath the ocean.