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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 6 (September 1, 1937.)

Our Women's Section — “Timely Notes and Useful Hints

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Our Women's Section
“Timely Notes and Useful Hints

Spring in September.

From Head to Feet. Hats.

For sports wear, style change is not so swift, but the “town” hat shows those subtle variations which mark the new season. Even the sailor, smart still with straight or upcurved brim, may be startlingly new with a high crown. Another “high” hat is the inverted flower-pot. The pancake hat, with small or medium brim looks distressingly unsuitable for our spring weather changes. More useful are the turbans, berets and toques. One very smart turban was of bands of grosgrain ribbon in deepening tones. Toques of shiny straw, with flat plaques of many-tinted flowers, and wisps of veiling, or flutings of ribbon, possess appeal even for the woman who always feels happier in a felt.

For those who can wear it, the new brim, pulled sharply off the face, is flattering.

An interesting “new” style is flattopped and brimless, rather like a mortar-board with the points cut off. The brow line is attractively curved and the sides are shaped to show off the coiffure.


New colours? Mainly the yellow to brown and red to brown sequences. Sharp new colour contrasts have been studied rather than new shades. Remember that in planning new outfits!

Paisley designs are rampant for scarves, tunics, frocks and even for blouses and jackets. Patterns may go round and round you like the hoops of a barrel pushed closely together, but don't let them unless you're not only slim but soigne.

Sports frocks are mostly shirt-frocks with neat pleats in back of bodice and accompanying jacket. There are pleats or gathers in the front of the bodice and neat pleats, usually knife pleats, in the skirt.

Other frocks are softer, more flower-like. This effect is achieved by the flare of skirts, by the fulness of sleeves and by tie-sashes used instead of belts. Two sleeve-lengths are important, the first covering half the upper arm, and the second reaching to just below the elbow. In each case the fulness released at the shoulder is brought in by clever seaming and tucking to fit the arm closely for a couple of inches before the sleeve finishes.

Most flower-like frock of all is a spring print copying in its style the Tyrolean dirndl. The very full skirt is gathered into a neat bodice.

Most bodices have fulness gathered either to the shoulders or to the yoke.

‘Tween season frocks, smooth woollens or heavy silks, well-cut and of plain material, may be cleverly trimmed with contrast stitching, plain or of simple design, in bright, coarse embroidery threads. Or again, a flattering dark frock is brightened and given distinction by huge metal clips and bracelets.


A jacket frock is a useful acquisition for spring. The frock will probably have brief sleeves for summer wear. In a light woollen, gay embroideries will be featured at neck and pockets (a result of the peasant trend in recent seasons). An oyster ensemble, for instance, shows a glint of gold and a flash of red outlining the jacket.

Of course, the jacket need not match. If you like continuity, have the lining and revers of the jacket of the same material as your frock. This mode is unusual in a floral design.

A striking jacket for a plain frock is in Paisley design; or how about a tartan swing-back jacket for pepping up things in your immediate neighbourhood.


Utility coats are mostly plain and belted with moderate collars and revers, and a slight shoulder fulness in the sleeve. Some styles with front closing from neck to hem, are collarless. Popular, too, will be the top-coat with swinging lines and loose sleeves set in deep armholes.

The tie-sash, so popular in frocks, is seen also in coats. A dressy coat, with tie-sash and front closing, has very wide, stiffly-stitched revers which stand out straight along the shoulder line, and are cut straight to a point at the waist, giving a triangular bib effect.


When choosing a spring suit, study suitability for cool summer days and for the autumn. Have a light woollen jumper, high necked, as well as blouses to go with it.

Perhaps you have a grey flannel suit which you wore successfully last year with a navy, blue blouse. This spring, experiment in colour. Very successful with a grey suit is a geranium blouse and a geranium band on the grey slouch hat. Remember the colour “kick” that can be given to a matching outfit by a contrast hatband.

A neat idea for a blouse is to have an under-collar matching the suit colour.

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If you look distinguished in black, whispers Paris, wear a black blouse with your black pin-stripe suit and depend for accent on a large gold or silver lapel clip. I saw one spray of leaves, in gold, quite six inches long.


Shoe materials are mainly glacé, calf-skin, suede or patent, or combinations of these.

Popular styles are the court and buckled court; the wide-bar buckled shoes, perhaps with cut-outs; two or four-eyelet tie shoes. All these usually have a medium Spanish heel. The monk shoes, with fringed or tucked flaps neatly buckled across, and the shoe seamed up the front have Cuban heels—or lower. The ghillie and the derby, shoes for walking comfort, have definitely low heels.

Individuality is given to shoes by clever combinations of materials, by cut-outs, by punching and by outlining seams in a different colour.

Shoe styles are so varied that shoe selection should present no problems.

Giving a Spring Accent.

The clothes you have may be quite suitable, for the season, but you may be more than a little tired of them. Rip off the accessories from your dark, tailored frock, and give it a large metal clip at the neck-line; try a two or three-toned tie-sash; or twist narrow grosgrain ribbons in bright colours round your waist and let the ends fly free.

Perhaps a new hat will perk up your street outfit. At least discard the dark gloves worn through the winter and wear chamois or oyster, or the new sun-tan—something light and careless.

If you love magpie effects—dare you?—yes!—outline the wide revers of your black jacket with white piqué an inch wide. And have shoes and bag agleam with patent leather.

Look critically at your handbag. Yes; those old letters, your savings-bank book, your glasses case, the cigarette case that fights for room with the compact—all these have bulged your bag too long. You must be ruthless—discard, or buy a bigger bag. In any case a new handbag, at a moderate price if you wish it, is necessary. A tip for bags—look at your shoes and then choose your bag.

* * *

Just a Memo. Book.

The Andersons are coming to dinner! What shall you have? A plain roast is always nice, but then—how about something different?

It won't do to experiment for an “occasion.” You ransack recipe books. You've been cooking all these years— and yet you're stuck! Whatever have you served in the past? There was that mutton en casserole the night the Webbs stayed over on their way south. And you had soup. Somehow that dinner went well. What soup was it? And a steamed pudding—or was it a cold sweet? You're getting more and more muddled, and you'll probably end by having the usual roast. The guests will enjoy it, for you can cook a dinner, but that little glow of satisfaction at having served an appetising and unusual meal, will be missing.

Try keeping a memorandum book! Try it on the dog—if the family won't eat it—I mean, of course, any experiment that isn't a success. But if it is a success, note it in the memobook.

Index the book to suit yourself—successful menus, quickly-prepared dinners, luncheon dishes, summer drinks—table decorations—just those things you find difficulty in thinking up when a special occasion arises.

You'll find yourself, too, turning to the memo, book for suggestions on ordinary days—when you think a bowl of soup for lunch will warm the children up (you know two or three quick soups; what are they? memo, book knows), when you simply can't think of a pudding, or when the family is going out at the week-end and you want to have something savoury and substantial ready baked. You'll bless your memo, book warmly.

* * *

Necessary Detachment.

You know how wearing it is to be ruffled. Perhaps you have trained yourself to approach life, and the many little tasks necessary to living, with a calm spirit. To have gained so much control over yourself and your environment is a wonderful thing.

But do you treat human beings with the same calmness with which you treat things? You have taught yourself to order your own environment without hurry and without fuss, but are you so admirable in restraint when other people protrude themselves and their belongings into that charmed circle of orderliness which you have formed around you?

Probably you frown mentally, and endeavour to subdue a human-being, to put him or her in place, as you would a book or a dish-towel. Don't try it! If you do, it is the result of over-regimentation of yourself. Be the master of things, but not of men. Realize that each individual makes his own surroundings and that no outsider has the right to apply other ideas of order.

Of course, if you are occupying the same house, or sharing the same interests, there must be a certain relaxing or tautening of habits to suit the other person. No rational being objects to compromise in the interests of peace.

But watch yourself! Don't regard your methods and your outlook as the only ones conducive to peaceful living. Don't be your own apostle and preach your own perfection, even in thought —or you'll be a horribly prickly person to have dealings with. Remember that the finest people have been, not the exponents of methods, but the lovers of mankind.

* * *

Prelude To a Perm.

After deciding it is time to make an appointment for a “Perm,” it is advisable to give the hair special treatment before the actual date of the operation. If the hair is dry, massage it well with warm olive oil, being sure that the scalp is massaged and not the hair merely rubbed, which tends to injure rather than to improve it.

There are numerous hair lotions, too, which are very beneficial, but care must be taken to use the one most suitable for your own particular scalp. The main thing is, to have the hair in good condition in order to get the best result.

Probably all women with straight hair have a hankering for curls, but if you look a fuzzy poodle with your hair curled, wear it straight. Treat it well, and it will repay you one hundredfold. Massage a good tonic into the scalp and brush the hair until it has the glad-to-be-alive look.

* * *

The Art Of Washing Gloves.

Wash gloves on the hands. Wash quickly, in two soapy waters (lukewarm), and remove badly soiled spots page 59 with a soft brush. Roll off from the wrist—do not pull from the fingertips —and wash the inside.

Rinse twice in clear, lukewarm water and gently squeeze the water out, working from the fingertips to cuff to avoid breaking the seams. Do not twist or wring. Soft skins and some synthetic yarns become weakened when wet, and tear if handled roughly.

Roll gloves in a towel to take out the excess moisture. After squeezing blow into the glove, straighten the fingers and lay flat on a towel with the fingers pointing towards you. Roll up in the towel, beginning with the fingers, and using a kneading motion to remove the moisture.

Dry slowly. Take the gloves from the towel and puff them again by blowing into them. Lay them flat on a towel and ease gently into shape. Do not expose to excessive heat while they are drying. If a glove is of two contrasting colours, place tissue paper on the inside while it is drying.

Press with the fingers. When the gloves are nearly dry, work them with the fingers to soften them and remove the wrinkles. Should they become too dry to work easily, make them pliable again by rolling them up in a slightly dampened cloth, and then finger press them immediately.

Important: Do not attempt to wash other than the gloves marked “Washable.”

* * *

Miscellaneous Hints.

A simple and safe way of cooling an oven which has become too hot, is to place a pan of cold water on the upper shelf.

A tiny pinch of bicarbonate of soda added to the water is said to prolong the life of cut flowers.

Cold water is the simplest and quickest way of removing the smell of onions or fish from dishes.

A simple gargle—a pinch of bicarbonate of soda in a tumbler of water.

Water in which vegetables with the exception of cabbage and silver beet) are cooked, should be used for soups and gravies.


Savoury Kidneys.

Four kidneys, one teaspoon each flour, onion, Worcester sauce, lump butter, bacon.

Mince kidneys, bacon and onion and stew gently with other ingredients in about three tablespoons of cold water. Serve on hot buttered toast.

Potato Bacon Pancakes.

Two cups grated raw potato, two tablespoons flour, two tablespoons milk, two well-beaten eggs, four strips minced bacon, one teaspoon salt, and a dash of pepper.

Blend the ingredients and cook the pancakes on the girdle (or equivalent), brown both sides and serve for luncheon or a light supper.

Ham and Cheese.

Dip small squares of bread into melted butter; sprinkle with grated cheese. Place on a greased dish and cover each with minced ham; sprinkle thickly with grated cheese and pepper and little chopped parsley. Put in quick oven.

Curried Savoury.

Melt one ounce of butter in a pan and add one teaspoon curry powder and a little gravy. Beat two eggs and add a tablespoon of milk. Stir until mixture sets; then pile it on rounds of fried bread. Garnish with slices of hard-boiled egg.

Liver and Bacon Savoury.

Quarter pound minced liver, one teaspoon lemon juice, six rashers bacon, seasoning, one gill stock, one ounce flour, one ounce butter, one gill frying batter.

Make a thick sauce with the butter, flour and stock, add the minced liver, lemon juice and seasoning. Cool on a buttered plate. Form into cork-shaped pieces. Roll each in a rasher of bacon, dip in the batter in deep fat in a frying basket.

Honey Sandwiches.

Cut some slices of bread and butter them. Then sprinkle a little dry oatmeal on a sheet of paper and just brown in the oven. Next spread some honey on alternate slices of the bread, being careful not to apply it so thickly that it runs over the edges of the bread. Then sprinkle the browned oatmeal over the honey, and close up the slices of bread.

These sandwiches should be made very carefully.

Cream Cheese and Gherkin Sandwiches.

Beat up cheese with a very little butter, and so make into a paste. Then take a pickled gherkin and cut it into thin rings, discarding the top and tail. Butter some slices of thin brown bread, and arrange the gherkin rings to cover the butter, using the cheese paste as a filling.

Haricot Bean Salad.

Well cooked beans, potato, tomato and beetroot cut into slices; pour over good salad dressing and garnish with hard-boiled eggs.

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