Some times you have this GREAT idea! Or at least you have this idea that you can not get out of your head. This dress is one of those ideas, the idea of making a Charles de Blois inspired dress. I mainly wanted to try to make the huge “grande asiette” sleeves, I was thinking that it would be perfect on me with big breasts, that the lines going across my breast would be a easy way of fitting it well.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 1
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 2
So I did as I always do when the pattern is tricky to draft, I made a toille of my basic block that is already fitted to me and simply drew the lines where I wanted the seams to be. I do this a lot, It is a quick way of getting a rough pattern to work from.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 3
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 4
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 5
Then it is simply to cut the toille up following the lines that you have drawn. Here is where the real work starts.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 6
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 7
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 8
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 9
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 10
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 11
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 12
There is a lot of adjusting and cutting, taping together, drawing stuff again. Thinking on what happens if I take some away from this piece, should I add to this piece. I sometimes call this post apocalyps patternmaking. When you have it on a paper, it is all clean lines and you can use the eraser to remove things, this is more gritty and makeshift, you do what you have to do to make it work. You can be a bit violent and cut stuff of, pin new bits on like a Frankenstein monster.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 13
I had this pattern drawing of “how it should look” based on pattern drawings found over the internet, my goal was to make the pieces look kind of like this.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 14
After several hours this is what I ended up with, it looks kind of like the pattern…

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 15
Now it was time to sew it all together again, to see if it worked. And yes, with only minor tweaks this really could work.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 16
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 17
So it ended up as a dress, “the insane button dress”, due to the fact that I “needed” to make tiny buttons, a lot of tiny buttons. It is completely hand sewn with linen tread, seams felled with silk, buttonholes are also worked in silk. I like that is is a subtle mi parti and that is is gray and I love the tiny buttons, all 94 of them. And I should sew the last buttonholes and buttons, as it is “missing” seven buttons on each arm due to lack of time, but that is not noticeable.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 18
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 19
My gray Charles de Blois dress - 20
I have worn it ONCE. I do have some problems with it. I would like to have it more fitted in the front, It looks nice from the behind but from the front it looks kind loose around the bust and waist. It is also wrong in the fact that women did not wear this in the late 14th century. There are 15th century pictures of women with grande asiette cut on the back of the dress, but never in the front. So I have made a dress that I can not with confidence wear while re-enacting, that was kind of silly of me, especially doing 94 buttonholes on a dress I can not wear in really nice fabrics.

My gray Charles de Blois dress - 21
I do have a solution for my “problem”, I can wear it under another dress, a short sleeved or a sideless surcote that have a wider middle part. I can take the “bumpyness” of the buttons in the front that will be visible on the overdress, it would be silly to let the dress just hand in the closet.

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