Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#anAWWyear - February 1948: Fashion

Firstly, an apology for the break in posting. I had a struggle getting ready for Christmas, so there went December. After Christmas I had a large work contract to squeeze in before mid-January, the computer was having major issues (and we have since bought a new one, a decision we should have made months ago), and I having a down patch with my health related to my chronic illness. So there went January.  

Jumping back into my #anAWWyear with February, I'm starting as usual with a look over the fashion shown this month.

I was having a conversation just this week with my sister about tartans and plaids and how much we liked them yet didn't have them in our wardrobes, so these two looks - one from an advertisement, one from a feature on film stars - naturally caught my eye. The pairing of the solid top with large-scale plaid skirt works very well, and I also like the slightly more muted brown/greens of these outfits than the stronger blues/blacks/reds of many such prints I see in reproduction vintage skirts.

An Australian Wool Board advertisement.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 14 1948, p 14. 

The lovely Rita Hayworth.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 21 1948, p 25.

I don't know who was doing the Vicars Wool fashion sketches in this era - they are signed with what appears to be the initials 'R H' -  but this is yet another one of their drawings which is making me sigh wistfully for the sort of life where I wear such chic outfits. 

That colour!
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 14 1948, p 6.

I don't usually include an entire page from the magazine, but this feature on the 'Versatile Skirt' was worth it. While I've read plenty of advice about combining pieces to make different outfits in vintage papers, they are rarely illustrated in this way. I particularly like that it isn't an obvious 'basic' skirt either, made up on this slightly green yellow colour - I feel that is more effective a display than a navy or black skirt would have been. 

One skirt in many different outfits.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 21 1948, p 11. 

 The final two selections I've chosen this month are embellishments.  A dress from the Fashion Pattern service has lace trimming its off-the-shoulder neckline, and while neither are ideas I usually like something about this is appealing to me right now. Possibly the squared off ends pinned in front?

This ballerina dress takes 7 yds of fabric for the full-length option.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 28 1948, p 39.

This feature on beaded embroidery as decoration on clothes has some very nice examples - the embellished over-sized cuffs on the green blouse in the background are striking.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 7 1948, p 11. 

A good leap back in, and I'm definitely adding a plaid or tartan skirt to my winter wardrobe wish list!

Friday, December 1, 2017

#anAWWyear - November 1947: Food

We've hit November and the weather is heating up, so naturally we have gelatine

Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 45
I decided to try making one of these 'Ice-Box cakes' from a Davis Gelatine advertisement.
Look at those ivy leaves!
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 47 
There are two parts to this recipe - each of the variations starts with lining of the tin (I used a loaf tin as that was closest to the illustration) with a sugar, melted butter and crumb mix. I used the cornflakes suggested and my four year old had an awesome time crushing them in a bag.
"ICE BOX CAKE is made in a plain mould or cake tin. Cover the bottom and sides with a crusty mixture (see below), then fill with a delicious confection (see our recipes).Chill for 12-24 hours-do not freeze - unmould, cut and eat - enjoy.
CRUSTY COVERING: Melt 2 tablespoons butter, add 1½ cups brownsugar, cook for a few minutes till smooth, add 2 cups crushed cornflakes, biscuit or wafer crumbs. Mix well, press to the bottom and sides of the mould. Chill for 20 minutes or longer, then fill. Unmould by placing in warm water."  
The variation I tried used marshmallows and fruit - I used bananas, as I had them, and used both pink and white marshmallows. 
"3 teaspoons Davis Gelatine dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water, ¼ lb. marshmallows, ¾ pint milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla essence, 2 cups fruit such as sliced bananas, peaches, apricots, 1 cup cornflake crumbs or wafer biscuit crumbs (measurements level).
Cut marshmallows in quarters, place in saucepan with 3 tablespoons of milk. Let stand. Beat egg yolks and sugar, add to balance of milk, cook until thickening slightly. Cool. Add dissolved gelatine. Warm marshmallows, melt slightly. Beat egg whites, fold into the marshmallow and fold lightly into the custard mixture. Arrange in the prepared mould in alternate layers with fruit and wafer crumbs. Chill."
I'm not 100% sure the measurement is 3/4 pint of milk, because the font is small, italic and at an angle on the page, but less than that didn't seem right for the amount of egg yolk.
My IceBox Cake. No Ivy
The texture was a bit weird, honestly, and neither my husband or I really liked it. I then froze it to see if that improved it at all, and I did enjoy that a bit better. Still not something I will make again.

Another feature was on using tinned foods, and I experimented with their 'Meat and Potato Puff'.

Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 15 1947, p 41
Two cups mashed potato, 2 eggs, good ½ cup milk,  1 teaspoon minced onion, 1 dessertspoon diced parboiled red pepper, salt and pepper to taste, 1 12oz. tin luncheon meat.
Add milk and egg-yolks gradually to mashed potatoes. Mix in onion, red pepper, salt and pepper, diced luncheon meat. Fold in stiffly beaten egg-whites. Turn into greased oven
ware dish, stand in tin of hot water, bake 40 to 45 minutes in moderate oven (375deg. F.) until lightly browned on top. Serve hot, garnished with parsley sprigs and tomato slices. For four or five."
As it came out of the oven.

Served with parsley. 

While this was fairly tasty and I thought could be a comfort food type of dish, my husband didn't think it was so different from just mixing stuff into mashed potato - he thought the 'puff'-ness didn't come through.

Last recipe this month was a reader submitted one for Orange Gingernuts.
Half cup sugar, 1 tablespoon golden syrup. 2oz. margarine or butter, 1 egg, grated rind of 1 orange, 1½ cups self-raising flour, 1 dessertspoon ground ginger, pinch salt.
Warm sugar, golden syrup, and margarine or butter until melted, mix well. Cool, add beaten egg and orange rind. Fold in sifted flour, ginger, and salt. Roll into small balls, place well apart on greased tray, flatten with a fork. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in moderate oven (350 deg. F). Allow to cool on tray."
Orange gingernuts, with enthusiastic fork pressing from my four year old. 
My son also helped me make these, but sadly he refused to eat more than a bite because they were 'too spicy'. They are a strongly flavoured ginger nut and I adored them. 

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.
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:
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. 
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!