December 28, 2016

It's time for Georgian January!

I'm delighted to announce the 2nd Annual Georgian January Instagram Challenge!  I hosted this Instagram challenge for the first time last year and was blown away by how much fun it was.  I've been looking forward to doing it again all year! Want to join in? It's so easy!  

-First, make sure you have an Instagram account (sign up here if you don't have one: and follow me @Dames_a_la_mode (  If you don't have Instagram, feel free to join in on whatever platform you have- your blog, facebook, pinterest!  The whole point is to discover the beauty of the Georgian Era, so don't let the lack of Instagram dissuade you, just keep in mind that you may miss out on some of the social aspects of the challenge. 

-Second, each day check the theme and post an image related to that theme.  The only rules are that it has to be constrained within the very broad confines of the Georgian Era, 1714-1830.  I know that the Georgian Era technically describes a part of British history, but I'm not playing by those rules.  Any place goes...the time frame is the important part. It  can be literally anything that is in any way related to the Georgian Era.  Last year we had art, clothes, cartoons, jewelry (of course!), reenactors, historical seamstresses, keepsakes, buildings, places, animals, and people!  Go crazy!

-Third, make sure to use the hashtag #GeorgianJanuary in your posts and tag me so I can see what you're posting.  And then explore the hashtag.  I can 100% guarantee you that you will see beautiful and inspiring things that you have never seen before and find new like-minded Georgian lovers to follow on Instagram.  

We're in for a wild ride this time, because last year when I did this I think I had in the neighborhood of 1,000 followers and right now I'm up over 15,000, so hopefully that means we will have A LOT more people joining in on our Georgian adventure!

And now the important part...the themes:

So start thinking about your images now and get inspired!  I can't wait to see you all on January 1st!

December 3, 2016

Historical Christmas Wishlist!

Do you have a history-lover or reenactor in your life and you're stumped about what to get them?  Are you drawing a blank on what to add to your own wishlist?  Here are some of my favorite ideas for historically-themed holiday gifts this year!

$30 and Under:

Historical apothecary from LBCC Historical:  I adore the historically inspired cosmetics and apothecary goods from LBCC!  I personally use a lot of them in my costuming AND everyday life.  A favorite in our house is the "Fine Salve for Beautifying the Face" which does everything from moisturizing my lips to keeping Mr. Dames a la Mode's hands from getting chapped due to winter bike riding!

Jane Austen Teas from Bingley's Teas:  These delightful teas are on regular rotation in my teapot.  My personal favorites are Longbourne Wedding Tea and Lizzy Bennet's Wit, but each one I've tried is delicious!

Antique Ribbons from Bulldog and Baum:  There is SUCH promise in a length of ribbon.  It inspires my creativity and makes me itch to make something beautiful.  Bulldog and Baum has some of the loveliest ribbon you'll find anywhere!

Patterns and Guides from The Old Petticoat Shop:  I've taken several of Jennifer's online classes and they are so helpful.  This Corded Petticoat Workbook looks like it would be so helpful!

Reproduction Regency Pearl Earrings from Dames a la Mode: I based these earrings off of several 19th Century portraits, but they are truly timeless!

$30 and Up:

Replica Jane Austen Cross from Dames a la Mode:  My custom-made crosses are as close as you can get to Jane's in size, shape, and color!  A must-have for any Jane Austen lover.

Reproduction Muffs from The Lady Detalle:  Her stock changes frequently, but she's just added a lot of gorgeous portrait muffs that are delightful!  The Duchess of Devonshire one is my favorite!

Silk Fabric from Burnley and Trowbridge:  Angela has outdone herself with her latest find of beautiful silk plaids!  And the price is amazing too at only $15/yard!

Handsewn Cap from Flying Heart Millinery:  I own one of these beautifully-made caps and if you've ever cursed while making tiny rolled hems, you'll know that the price on these is excellent!

Silk Satin Cloak Kit from At The Sign of the Golden Scissors:  Everything you need to make up a beautiful 18th century cloak!

An Agreeable Tyrant Exhibition Catalog:  You've probably heard the buzz around this new Federal-era fashion exhibit at the DAR Museum in DC, but if you can't get there in person, this exhibit catalog is an excellent consolation prize!  Lots of images, great information, and even patterns!

$100 and Up:

Historical Corsets by Redthreaded:  I have a pair of her Regency Long Stays, which are my favorite undergarment I own.  And I'm really eyeing her new 1860s Gored Corset, too, which has a beautiful shape!

Historical shoes by American Duchess:  I won't even admit to the quantity of American Duchess shoes I own and will only say that they outnumber my everyday shoes by a considerable margin!  I'm lusting after her new Victorian side-lacing boots!

Reproduction Collet Necklace from Dames a la Mode:  Available in dozens of colors...take your pick!

Many wonderful things to choose from!  What's on your list this year?

March 15, 2016

Gallerie des Modes Inspired 1784 Gown!

I made something and I LOVE IT.  That hasn't happened to me in ages and it is blissful!

This weekend was the 5th Annual Francaise Dinner which for the last two years has been held in Alexandria, VA, and the beautiful Gadsby's Tavern.  As you can tell by the name, the idea is to wear a Francaise gown, but it's also a good excuse to wear something frivolous and ridiculous.

 I've been sitting on 10 yards of silk taffeta for a while that was set aside for a very specific Francaise gown, but the reality is I HATE making them.  I think they are a pain and I really don't like the style all that much, so eventually I threw up my hands and said "I'm gonna make this instead"

Gallerie des Modes, 1784
I really adore this dress.  It is so impractical with the giant skirts and so weird with the narrow ribbon banding and the yellow sleeve blocks.  I happened to be conveniently hoarding a whole lot of purple silk taffeta, and while it wasn't the lovely lilac of this gown, it was a gorgeous plumb color.

This dress was supposed to be one of those easy ones, but with one of the worst cases of sleevils I've ever dealt with, it ended up like all the others:  the desperate panic of two-hours-before-the-event sewing.  A group of us got ready at a hotel in the hours before the party, so while I managed to have the gown itself done before I left my house, I walked into the hotel room with a spool of thread and a piece of yellow silk and proceeded to make it right there on the floor of the hotel room (I'm embarrassed to say I'm famous for doing crap like this...when will I ever learn?!).  BUT! Thanks to the lovely Carolyn, who hemmed the petticoat for me, I ended up with a totally wearable gown. There wasn't even a single safety pin in it anywhere, y'all!

Obviously the biggest feature of this gown is the giant puff of skirt and even though I cut them impractically long they STILL weren't long enough!  I upped the puff factor by using three widths of fabric in the skirts instead of the usual two.  It's wide fabric, too- 58"!   There is a hell of a lot of silk pleated into that waist!  But the result was perfect.  I'm only wearing a small bum pad and my marsailles cloth underpetticoat for bulk, but that is about 85% skirt you see there.  It was so light and fluffy!

There really isn't much rhyme or reason to the puffing- about an hour before I put it on I took 5 big tucks in the upper part of the skirt and tacked them down.  I didn't even measure or anything.  Having this much fabric was very forgiving!

Laced my stays too tightly, haha!  Nice to know I can breathe a little deeper next time I wear this!

It still need a little more work to be perfect- the petticoat needs a band of ribbon and I need to move the location of the sleeve bows so they face outward more- but overall I'm just thrilled with this gown.  It was so fun to wear and easy to move in, since I wasn't burdened by heavy or awkward skirt supports!

ALSO: Best hair I've ever managed by myself, hands down!  I was really excited by how good it turned out!