Oh how deceptive those old instructions are! No way is that dress just crochet mounted on tulle. It's got to have at least a petticoat, internal belt, boning and probably some pretty serious foundation garments.
My recommendation would be to get yourself a good pattern with that nice silhouette and make a mock-up with cheap fabric to test the fit and support. Then you can cut it out in the cotton lining for your actual dress, and piece by piece, cover them in a layer of the tulle/crochet. Tack it down nice and stable, then sew your dress together.
You could always purchase a plain dress and add the layer of crochet by draping, etc.
The dress really is beautiful. The organza crochet is stunning, and I really hope that you post pictures as you go so we can all drool!
that's what i was thinking too! there's no way it's just layers of tulle tacked underneath the crochet. lol. how would it stay up!? my mom and i are going to be making the 'under' part of the dress together, and our sewing skills are fairly negligible... like you suggested, she mentioned finding a pattern for a sleeveless dress to use underneath and add the tulle over top, then add the crochet over that.
i will definitely be posting pics here, in my thread in the wedding forum and on my personal blog once i get it started. i just found a store online to order the twenty two 100 yard spools of ribbon i will need for the crochet portion of the dress
lol. i might have to wait a month to get the stuff ordered though. it's going to cost about $200 for the ribbon. lol