Monday, November 13, 2017

#anAWWyear - November 1947: Fashion

Compared to October, where I was struggling to put together a whole blog post of fashion that appealed to me, November 1947 was full of whole outfits and tiny details that I want, want, want!!

One of the things that I'm really appreciating are the outfits which appear so very chic and sophisticated yet don't involve black. I'm in the process of eliminating black from my wardrobe where possible, so I welcome these inspirational images.
First is this amazing burgundy dress from a Berlei advertisement. I adore this colour and the neckline.
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 6
This teal ensemble from a Vicars wool advertisement would also be welcome. Is it actually wool or just a convenient fashion sketch, I wondered, although at this stage who cares! Look at that adorable sleeve!
Who wouldn't want this chic ensemble?
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 6
Not only do I want the blue and white scarf, I enjoyed seeing the ways they recommend wearing these scarves in this one page feature on some new designs from Europe. 

Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 35

While the colours are absolutely not something I'd usually wear, I quite like this 'First night' fabric design and know plenty of people who could happily incorporate it into their wardrobe. 
A striking novelty print
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 8

The fashion pattern service supplied a few winners this month too. The square, low collared sundress in the selection shown below is my favourite, and I particularly like the off-centre line of the buttons. The sketch of the back view looks oddly like the top of the dress back comes above the collar though, which seems odd .

I also like the cute embroidery designs for the baby bibs.
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 27



This suit jacket with the striped cuffs, revers and matching fabric flower is amazing, and it almost makes me wish I had the sort of business life in which I needed to wear suits. I'm not as sold on the skirt, and I suppose there is nothing to stop one wearing a jacket like that with jeans and boots!
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 51

The attentive may have noticed that my choices have all been drawn from the early half of the month. That is because the latter half of the month is dominated by the preparations and reportage of the Royal Wedding. I thought I'd include a photograph of Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, looking very smart in a blue dress with attractive shoulder details.


This was from a selection of the 'Latest Portraits' of the key figures in the wedding.
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 22 1947, p 8

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#anAWWyear - October 1947: Craft

October 1947 was a bleak month on the craft front as well - there was this rather neat knitted sweater pattern, sadly a bit beyond my knitting skills, but nothing else to actually make. 

Knit sweater, described as "a smart, useful adjunct to your summer wardrobe" .
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 4 1947, p 48.



In the same issue there was a short article about the colour and design classes being run at the N.S.W. Society of Arts and Crafts studios, which I enjoyed especially for the photographs run alongside the article. 
Picture of students at work in the design classes.
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 4 1947, p57

My eye was also caught by this great advertisement for Semco printed designs, which gives some lovely examples of the types of designs which were being sold that year. 

Semco advertisement
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 4 1947, p 47.
I own some vintage Semco designs, for hand embroidery. I've shown them off on instagram but not here on the blog. The designs are... if not outright racist, then at least designs which embrace pejorative cultural stereotypes.
Semco design, "Mexican". 

Semco design for a cheval set, "Romany"
I find "Romany" less distasteful, because at least it is trying to evoke a more romantic and pastoral image. The embroidery in the above pictures was done before these two came into my collection, and I've dithered about whether I would actually complete them.
I decided to finish "Romany" for my craft this month, and I plan to use the pieces to decorate an apron - using the two smaller ones as pockets on the skirt and the longer one as or across the bodice piece.

I've finished the embroidery on the two smaller pieces and have done the majority of the background embroidery on the larger piece - only the wagon and the woman to complete.
The two smaller pieces will make generous apron pockets. 
Mostly done. 
Once I complete the whole apron, I'll show it off here! I shall call my cultural stereotype apron.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

#anAWWyear - October 1947: Fashion

I said in my October food post that October 1947 was a bit disappointing on many fronts. I didn't find much in the fashion this month that inspired me, sadly. What little that caught my eye is below. 

There are more of the Paris reproductions which we have seen in earlier months.  This looks like a straightforward shirt dress until you get to the interestingly draped skirt - described as a harem skirt.
It makes it easy to understand how you can have those '1980s do 1940s' shirtdresses.
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 4 1947, p 8
From the same selection are these two dresses which include a skirt which gathers into the waist, creating a flattering drape, and some unusual pintucks across the bust.
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 4 1947, p 9

This outfit from a Jantzen advertisement makes me wish I'd had the confidence to wear these kind of outfits in my twenties, when I had the legs for them!

A lovely summer outfit
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 4 1947, p 60
I rather like this plaid evening gown from a feature on coloured cottons, which is really just a tight peasant blouse style top with a long skirt which is fitted close in front and flares at the back. In one colour it might look too simple but the dark and dramatic plaid cotton makes it striking and look more complicated. 
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 18 1947, p 11
A one-page feature on film actresses  yields a few gems - I like the fabric prints on both the elaborate lettered sweater and the green and white fern frond blouse.
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 18 1947, p 33.

Friday, October 13, 2017

#anAWWyear - October 1947: Food

In many ways, October 1947 was a disappointing month. In later blog posts I'll be posting about the dearth of craft projects and the rather lacklustre fashion, but here I'll be concentrating on the one area that this month's magazines do very well, the recipes.

One of this month's features is the visually stunning collection of pineapple recipes.
So much pineapple!
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 18 1947, p41
 I was extremely tempted by the Pineapple Wedge Salad, as it both combined flavours I like with my own favourite vintage recipe quirk, the abuse of the word salad, but as no one else in my house eats tomato I wasn't sure I could eat enough on my own.
PINEAPPLE WEDGE SALAD
Sliced pineapple, large firm tomatoes, cream cheese, a little milk, salt and cayenne pepper, curled celery, radishes, lettuce leaves.
Soften cream cheese with a little milk, add pinch cayenne and salt if needed. Spread half the pineapple slices with cream cheese, cover with a thick slice of tomato and place
remaining pineapple slices on top.
Cut each "sandwich" into three wedges, leaving one "sandwich" uncut to decorate centre of platter. Arrange on serving platter with lettuce leaves, curled celery, and radishes. Mayonnaise may be served separately.
 I settled for the pineapple chiffon tart, which is the one just above the word pineapple in the above picture. I'm happy with how my version looks too:
My pineapple chiffon tart
The recipe is straightforward, and I made it as written, although I chose not to garnish with nuts:
PINEAPPLE CHIFFON TART
One cooked pastry-case, 2 ½ teaspoons gelatine, ¼ cup water, 3 eggs,
½ cup sugar, pinch salt, ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind, 1 cup shredded
cooked pineapple, chopped nuts.
Soak gelatine in water. Cook egg yolks, salt, lemon rind, pineapple, and half the sugar for 15 minutes over boiling water, stirring occasionally. Add gelatine, stir while cooling over bowl of ice. Fold in egg-whites beaten stiffly with balance of sugar. When beginning to set pile into cold pastry-case, chill until set. Serve cold, garnished with grated pineapple and chopped nuts.
The stage of cooking the yolks and sugar and pinapple over heat is tedious, but the final result is worth it. I ended up with more than would fit into my pastry case (I used store bought) and I put the extra into a small glass dish and it was lovely by itself too.

A feature on 'vegetable dishes' is really a feature on what vegetables can be stuffed with breadcrumbs. 
The illustration accompanying a feature on vegetable dishes, it shows stuffed cabbage rolls.
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 4 1947, p 53.
I made a different breadcrumb recipe, a mushroom and breadcrumb stuffed steak. My husband and I both liked it very much.

This month also had a feature on children's birthday parties.
Party fare
Australian Women's Weekly, Oct 11 1947, p 38
While I do have a small boy birthday party to plan this month, the food for that will not be as elaborate as the "apricots'n'peaches" or "goblin cup cakes" here. And although I like the idea of rainbow ribbon sandwiches, I am not serving sandwiches with dates, nuts, carrots and white sauce as a filling to four-year-olds. I was however intrigued to find a recipe for Hundreds and Thousands biscuits, an icon of Australian childhood. 
HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS
Two ounces margarine or butter, vanilla, l oz. castor sugar, 1 egg, 4oz. flour. ½ teaspoon baking powder, pinch salt, 1 extra tablespoon sugar, pink and green coloring, hundreds and thousands.
Cream butter or margarine thoroughly with vanilla and sugar. Beat in egg-yolk, add sifted flour, baking powder, and salt, making a dry mixture. Turn on to floured board, roll thinly. Whip egg-white to meringue consistency with extra sugar, flavor with vanilla. Color half pink, half green. Spread over rolled mixture, pink on one half, green on the other. Sprinkle liberally with hundreds and thousands. Cut into finger-lengths, place on greased tray. Bake 10 to 15 minutes in moderate oven (350deg. F). Allow to cool on tin.
I only made the pink version.  While my unbaked cookies were pleasingly similar to the Arnott's biscuit version...  
Before baking, bright pink and lovely.
after baking they dimmed a bit and the top layer didn't achieve the crispness I was hoping for.
After baking.
If I made these again, I would make the base even thinner, and cook at a slightly lower temperature for longer, in the hopes of avoiding the slight browning. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

#anAWWyear - September 1947: Craft

This post, the alert will spot, is actually being posted in early October, and that is because I fell victim to ambition- I was absolutely determined to finish a particular one of the September craft projects before I blogged about all of them. Sadly, the month ended before I could manage it.

Being a crocheter, September 1947 had a few solid crafty offerings for me. This traycloth, designed to be worked up in join-as-you-go motifs in fine cotton thread, is apparently able to be mastered by 'even those who are just beginning to crochet'.
Black and white photograph of a thread crochet traycloth made up of star motifs
Delicate crochet traycloth.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 20 1947, p53.
While this sort of thread crochet isn't something I can use in my life right now, I did want to test out the motifs, so I made a square of four in a heavier, green crochet cotton as a sample.

My test version, in a heavier cotton.
The motif pattern is indeed quite simple, the joining is easy, and the joined motifs absolutely must be blocked. This has been, and it still needs an iron and perhaps a starch. 

There is also a fantastic two page feature on 'crisp lace accessories for spring' 
black and white photograph from magazine of a lace crochet jabot. text reads "A CROCHETED JABOT, which will revive any frock or suit that needs the treatment. A white one and two or three in colors would be a valuable addition to spring accessories'
This lace jabot will 'revive' a frock or suit.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p45
It features a jabot and three different bows. I made the butterfly bow and you can blame the jabot for why this post is so late. 
These are mislabelled- the top one is actually the butterfly bow, as is easy to guess.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p45
The butterfly bow - indeed all the bows - are designed to lie flat to be starched and ironed and then are gathered together with a crocheted tie with a button or snap to form the blow shape. I know I crocheted my tie. I blocked it. But somewhere between choosing a button and going to sew the button on, it disappeared. So my butterfly is still in its flat state at the moment. I am searching some more before I admit defeat and crochet another. It has also not yet been starched. 
My flat butterfly bow, waiting for its centre tie,
which may or may not be somewhere in my laundry
I worked up the butterfly in no. 60 crochet cotton and a 1mm hook. This still feels quite big, but it is meant to be a statement piece - the article says that they 'may be placed in lapels or at the yoke of a frock with good effect' or would be 'a smart finish for a belt' so they can't end up tiny.

The jabot, shown made up by the AWW above, and as an artist's impression worn on the second page of instructions (and below) is made in three rectangles of a lace pattern and then pleated onto a neckband. 
Such a chic jabot!
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p47
I worked this up in an unlabelled cotton thread from my stash but I'm fairly sure it is also a no. 60 cotton and a vintage hook labelled 'Milward' on one side and '4, Made in England, 20' on the other which measures between 1 and 1.25mm on a hook gauge.  It is supposed to be made up in a finer thread (ideally I would have used no. 100) but again, I'm trying to stash bust with this yearly project and not buy supplies.  This is one panel.
One panel of the three needed for the jabot.
If you look at the start of the panel, when you've only completed a short depth, it looks effective to use as an edging.
I think this would look nice on vintage style nightwear, as a sleeve or neck edging.
I only got one and a half panels completed, but I'm going to keep going and finish this one!

Rounding out our September craft is a rather odd craft project, the "reminder of how much we used to smoke" handbag.
Novelty handbag. Yes, it is.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 20 1947, p45
Made up of a cigar box and a heap of burnt matches, there was no way I would be making this one, but I thought you'd appreciate seeing it as much as I did.

Now onwards, to October!

Friday, September 15, 2017

#anAWWyear - September 1947 Recipes: A Taste of Spring

I'm sure in many parts of the world, even in the magazines of the 1940s, there is a 'back to school' focus in September, but Australia avoids this by lining up the school year with the calendar year. September for us is the end of winter and the start of spring, so in the recipe features of this month we start to see the shift to lighter, cooler meals, including salads.
detail from recipe page of the Australian women's weekly, showing a plate of salads and recipe text.
This is raw vegetable salad (in the lettuce cups) with an unidentified other dish.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p46
I tried one recipe from this "Taste of Spring" feature, the Glazed Lamb Slices.
The glazed lamb recipe.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p46
Not a great reproduction, but the recipe is simple: put two tablespoons of mint jelly in a saucepan, and when heated and runny, add 1/2 tspn gelatine powder and stir until it is dissolved. Then add 1 teaspoon melted butter, 1 teaspoon vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, you could probably use apple cider vinegar too. I don't know if I'd use a dark coloured one with the mint jelly. If I were to use the currant jelly as suggested as an option then obviously you could.), and the spices, It says 'celery, salt and pepper' - I used just salt and pepper as that's what I had and I wasn't sure it was meant to be 'celery salt' or something else. As you continue to stir it will start to thicken. At that point, spread it onto slices of lamb roast that you have leftover from last night. I covered 6 slices easily with this. It sets very quickly.

I loved this. It seemed strange to re-gelatine jelly but the added ingredients really made a difference and it tasted divine. My husband took one bite and announced 'this is cold.' I wasn't sure why he was surprised - I had never said the lamb would be hot - but he doesn't appreciate cold meats. He heated it in the microwave and the glaze held up well - I was expecting it to melt off but it was fine, just got a bit squishier but stayed on the lamb. The three year old refused to touch it, or the plain lamb, and ate ham instead. 

I don't have a photo of the finished dish because green jelly glaze on slices of meat is not very photogenic. I took several photos and they all looked unappetising. It might take a professional food stylist to make this look great. In person it looked a bit strange but not awful, and it tasted great. I'm definitely keeping this as an option for leftover roast. 

There were quite a few interesting savoury dishes this month. If you have a hankering for a meat loaf variant, another feature has several, including the pictured jellied veal and ham loaf, and a curried rabbit and vegetable loaf which I would absolutely try if I could find a decent source of rabbit. 
Jellied meat, jellied dessert and salad. Must be Spring
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 13, p42
Another theme for this month was cakes and other tea-time recipes. One page featured a few interesting savoury options including cheese loaf sandwiches and bread rolls, hollowed out, stuffed with a mix of finely chopped hard-boiled egg, cold white sauce and curry powder, allowed to firm and then sliced to serve.  I tried something from a selection of cake, pudding and biscuit recipes all starting from the same basic mixture. While it makes that claim, it does actually change the basic batter for the different categories, and gives ways to change that basic mix to make things cheaper.

So many variants.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p49
The one I opted for was in the baked pudding category and named 'Australian Layer Pudding'. 
You start with the basic batter recipe: 
Cream 4oz butter and 4oz sugar well. Beat in 2-3 eggs one at a time. (I used 2, as modern eggs run slightly larger) Add the flavoring. (I used 1/2 tspn vanilla, one of the listed options)  Fold in 8oz sifted flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder alternately with 1 cup milk.

Then you split the batter in half and colour one half pink. Into the pie dish (I used a Pyrex casserole dish, but next time I would use an actual pie dish I think) you place alternating spoonfuls of the pink and white in a piedish. On top of each you place a teaspoonful of jam (I used strawberry, as it was in the fridge). I baked for about 40 mins at 180. If I made it again, I'd only do one depth of dollop or bake for maybe 5-10 mins more (although my oven is being hinky.) The recipe recommended serving hot with custard. So I did.
My 'Australian Layer Pudding'
It was tasty - everyone in the house ate this. I feel as though the colour contrast wasn't that great, so maybe the pink needed to be more bright.  Texturally it was very similar to cake - I couldn't tell what made this a baked pudding and not a cake.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

#anAWWyear - September 1947: Fashion

I'm starting September with fashion again. I was overwhelmed with choice this month, and I'm worried this post will get quite long!

I'm going to start with some cunning "Paris styles... at budget prices". The Women's Weekly were not only making reasonably priced versions of these dresses available to buy, they were also making patterns available to the home dressmaker.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p43
That blue and white dress gingham sundress looks almost too simple to be Dior. I feel you could wear that anywhere in summer and feel stunning.

The drapey green dress by Marcel Rochas has the most beautiful neckline. I don't know how it would work with a larger bust, but I'd be willing to risk it if I could still get the pattern for 3/6.
Dress by Marcel Rochas
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p9
One of the things I find fascinating about pages like this is seeing the fashion illustrations right next to the models, because the clothes do sit that bit differently. 
More gorgeousness, by Dior and Carven
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p8

In a page on handbags, I was captivated by these unusually shaped bags - the copy seems to suggest these are intended to be more casual beach bags, but made up in the right materials I think that hexagonal drawstring bag could look very smart.
Beach bags from Paris
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 13 1947, p39

There weren't many things that appealed in the fashion patterns service this month; the 'afternoon dress with an elegant drape' pictured below is one of the only ones I wanted. The detail below also shows the top of a three piece casual beach outfit.
Fashion patterns to send away for
Australian Women's Weekly,
Sep 13 1947, p30
I've been considering a pair of culottes or wide shorts as a summer wardrobe piece, and I found myself returning to this picture of women working in Britain's hayfields. The silhouette of these outfits appeal. And always nice to see some examples of real outfits being worn.
Detail of photo accompanying an article on volunteer agricultural workers in Britain
Australian Women's Weekly,  Sep 13 1947, p9

There were a few advertisements for clothes and fabric which I wanted to discuss today too. During my thesis research I ran across an article (sadly I can't find the reference right now - all my notes are archived) which was discussing how, with the fall of Paris to the German army in WWII, the pressing question on everyone's lips must be 'to where will the torch of fashion pass?' I had not considered that, post-war, Paris must be working to regain that torch in the public perception. But here is that sentiment being expressed: "Fashion is again queen at the Rue de Rivoli, style centre of a woman's world."
Section from a Selby shoe advertisement, showing a woman in a blue and white striped dress and text discussing Paris and fashion
Detail from a Selby shoe advertisement
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p14
One of the common perceptions of vintage advertisements, which as a historian of advertising I have always felt obliged to debunk where possible, is that such advertising is less manipulative and more straightforward than advertisements since. In truth this is mostly a function of our training as a society in reading advertisements, which allows for more subtlety. Having said that, you do run across advertisements which openly express sentiments that modern advertising only hints. It is no secret that much fashion is marketed to women with the intention of pleasing the masculine gaze - but we rarely see it spelt out quite so clearly.
Fabric advertisement
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p8.
Although that blue and white dress is rather fetching, with the change of direction in the stripes from bodice to skirt.

What did you think of these highlights? Which would you want to wear?