Ages ago I started to make a tight fitting 14th century dress with grand assiettes. By that I mean a dress with really big takeouts for the top shoulder part of the sleeve, for allowing freedom of movement. Cottehardies with grand assiettes have been popular in the reenachtment subculture for a long while, and no wonder since they are both practical and pretty. (Read more about grand assiettes at Cotte Simple!) It is a lot of work with all the fitting and for a long while the dress lay resting, undone.
The risk of leaving a tightly fitted dress half-done for a longer time is that you might grow out of it before its even ready… I’d like to blame my fighting and fencing for that, but that is quit ironic since grand assiettes first appeared on jackets made for fighting in, allowing the swordsman full freedom of movement of his arms. I finally finished the dress the other day. But sadly I also had to patch it up a bit since I actually had used it before it was done, even thou it was a tiny bit to tight…
I also had to cut off and replace the lower part of the sleeves. The leftover old sleeves was lined with linnen and turned into this purse, almost without any re-shaping or cutting in the fabric!
I used the edging technique I wrote about the other day, all the way round the purse. Check out this tutorial if you want to try it. I also found this image very useful and plan to read more about how this kind of edging may have been used on 14th century clothing. According to 14th century fashion I added silly silk tassels and a finger braided cord for drawstring.
I don’t mind the patches, I feel that they take down this fancy dress to a level of fashion I think I can keep up with in the future. I played a bit with the seamline of the panels in the back when I made the pattern, so don’t take it as some sort of proper recreation. It is just my interpretation, with a touch of artistic freedom.
The dress is hand sewn with waxed unbleached linnen thread. The fabric is a thin stretchy twill in 100% wool, and I love the woad blue colour of it. The opening in the front, the neckline and bottom of the sleeves are lined with a thin strip of linnen. The tablet woven edges are made in silk.
I think the lacing in the front turned out really well, much thanks to the tablet woven edges that gives strength and stability. The round silk cord is also tablet woven. Maybe I’ll do some sort of decorative edging to the neckline later, sew a silk braid to it or something.
During the making of this dress I learned not only how to fit grand assiettes, but also to not trust a to thin of a fabric with to much stress and flexing in a tight garment. And to preferably finish what I started within reasonable time… Pictures of me actually wearing the dress will have to wait, but what do you think of it so far?
Pictures of me wearing the dress in this post: A pilgrim in a patched dress