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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 6 (September 1, 1936)

Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints. — Spring Jottings

page 60

Our Women's Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints.
Spring Jottings.

A “Clean Sweep” Sale—and so it was. Passing now, I see no remnants of the heavy, dark, warm fabrics, the furs, and the clear glitter of the winter evening mode. All are swept away underground, or wherever out-of-season stock is kept.

The change seemed to begin with neckwear—young-looking bows and frills, fronts, bibs and tuckers frothed over the counters and found their way into shop windows, posed perkily against gay backgrounds of prints and voiles, seersuckers and piques, all manner of cotton fabrics. Having withdrawn one's eyes from the kaleidoscope of cottons, one could notice the silks, real and artificial, neat in small geometric or flower designs, or flamboyant with large floral sprays.

* * *

But the cold wind still nips, and a window full of spring tweeds in real new season colourings assures us that cottons can wait. Tweeds in overchecks, tweeds with bright nubs flecking them, really large and glaring plaids—here is material for skirts, suits and straight swaggers.

Suits for spring are classic in mannish worsteds; or if you want something casual, more knock-about, choose a plain skirt and plaid coat, or viceversa. Have the coat, in swing-back style, a box jacket, or with a backyoke and pleats for fullness.

* * *

Hats are intriguing, and many of them are ready to wear now before the weather improves, and woollies are discarded—and everyone knows the rejuvenating effect of a new hat.

Hats are small. I noticed particularly a glengarry in velvet and corded ribbon, a Breton sailor with a new and jaunty tilt, a pastel felt with a folded crown and the inevitable forward sweep of brim, numbers of small “bonnets” in wisps of straw or material filmed with veiling in various fashions, a few smothered in flowers; some with perky feather mounts. Coarse, shiny straws will be popular; but, of whatever material, be sure you have a toque.

* * *

Good Taste.
Art in Industry.

The dining-room suite, fatly opulent, bulged and curved ornately, straddled the turkey carpet, flower-blobbed; the wall-paper, arrogant in colour and design, called attention to itself; the very jardinieres, heavily ornamented, overawed the simplicity of green fronds embowelled in them.

Friends said, “How effective! In what good taste!”—and thought, “How expensive! We could really do with a new carpet (or sideboard, or curtains, or table-runner) at home.”

That was when Victoria, and Albert the Good, and Domesticity, and the Cult of Comfort, heavily ornate, ruled over an England hurrying into the welter of the Machine Age.

In this outpost of English culture, there are lingering remains—the Victorian system in art has not worked itself out even among our friends and relatives. Among the travelled, and among the younger, among the enlightened, and among the unconforming few who refuse to bow to Mammon in this guise, yes!

After a too-rich diet, plain food. After over-ornamentation, restriction to utility alone. So, over the civilised world, people have purged their parlours of fripperies and endeavoured to get back to essentials—a difficult process, possible only by strict adherence to the formula that objects be made to fulfil their function alone, and that any ornament is detrimental. The spirit of this creed is expressed more in modern architecture than in any other product of our age. The owner of a bungalow, quite charmingly eaved, pergolaed and lawned, is jolted, definitely, at the sight of blocks of flats built strictly in pursuit of utility, air and sunshine. In the same way, descriptions of rooms designed for leaders in the “modern” movement read almost like a nightmare to the bungalow wife. “But one couldn't live in such a room,” she says. Probably not; it is too stark. But it must be remembered that the stripping away of all design is merely reaction after the too-lavish use of it in the early machine age, the period of strict diet which will effect the cure.

Manufacturers are now seriously considering design. It is realised that the aesthetic quality of most manufactured goods is still unduly low, and the market for them is consequently restricted. If those in power can set a standard and raise the average of public taste, and, at the same time, by employing artists in design, raise the aesthetic value of machine-made goods, supply and demand will meet on common ground.

In England, from which most of our, manufactured goods come, a Council of Art and Industry, set up by the Board of Trade, has been working for two years to educate the public to appreciate and demand things of good design and to encourage increased employment of skilled designers.

In New Zealand, manufacturers will follow English trends in design. It remains only to attend to the educative side of the process—a far more difficult proposition. Artistic education should start in the schools. It certainly starts there, but how far does page 61 it continue? Small skills in drawing and in handwork are developed, but the large matter of appreciation is almost neglected. Circumstances, of course, are against teachers. There is a lack of experts and also of material, both for manipuation and for example.

As for adult development in artistic taste, its growth is fortuitous, depending mainly on whether acquaintances are interested in such matters and have books to lend. Our chance to observe things of good taste is negligible. There is no New Zealand exhibition of furniture, fabrics, china, glass, carpets, showing beauty of form, proportion, and of colour, combined with appropriateness of design, such as was shown in Edinburgh recently by the Scottish Committee of the Council of Art and Industry.

Even the advent of an Empire Art Loan Collection, such as has added interest to the opening of the new National Art Gallery, has meant little to most of us, save a further realisation of our inability to recognise what is of good taste. Even a collection of almost priceless china looks to me, regarded as a person of higher than average education, a “lot of junk.” I am annoyed that I regard it in that way, that I have not the knowledge to appreciate it, but what can I do to remedy the defect?

When I find the scent, and follow the trail in pursuit of good taste, I will let you know.

Knotted Faggotting.

On some of the newest collars and cuffs, blouses and lingerie, faggotting makes a decorative finish. To anyone who is experimenting with the stitch, I suggest working a simple edging for a collar or the top of a slip. Then, having discovered how easy it is, designs for fronts of blouses or nightgowns may be attempted.

It will be found that the method of knotting, as illustrated, is firmer and retains the spacing between the materials.

Cut one inch strips of bias material, fold in half, stitch, and turn inside out. Do not make the strips too long, or the turning may be difficult. I find the job easy by affixing a small safetypin at one end of my “tube” and gradually working it through.

Turn in a tiny hem on the edge of the material to be faggotted. Tack the material and the prepared bias strip, wrong side up, on firm brown paper with their edges about a quarter of an inch apart. Proceed according to the illustration.

Knotted faggotting

Knotted faggotting

Health Notes.

In our last issue, we outlined the various constituents of foods generally, so now just a word regarding selection of diet, and a few hints in connection with cooking.

Firstly, let us advice you not to become “fussy or faddy” about your diet, but choose a well-balanced mixed diet of plain foods, and see to it that the cooking is right, for no matter how well-chosen your diet may be, it can easily be “murdered” in the kitchen.

From our last article you will have gathered that you must select from the following groups:—


Meat, fish, eggs.


Fruit and vegetables.




Milk and its products.


Cheese, nuts, sugars and fats.

Here let us emphasise the fact that a normal, healthy appetite usually guides one to a more or less correct selection of diet, and to the quantity required for the daily routine. Any error will manifest itself in gastric discomfort, such as flatulence or pain after a meal, and should be at once rectified.

Now, taking the protein groups, Nos. 1 and 4—meat, fish, eggs, milk and its products:—

Remember that protein matter hardens or coagulates when heated, so that