Thursday, April 19, 2012

Madame Weigel's Journal of Fashion

Now just between you and me, I have a birthday coming up soon and imagine the thrill when I got home from work tonight to find this gorgeous present in the mail from the Queen Of The South!  (The wonderful postal service, we must make more use of it.)  This publication dates from December 1, 1932 and included its original free pattern to make the blouse pictured on the cover.

Here is a detail of the wonderful quality of the printing on the free tissue paper pattern for making the blouse

Both the journal and the pattern are in wonderful condition, I can't imagine where it has been for the last (almost) 80 years but somebody has obviously taken great care of them.  Madame Weigel's Journal of Fashion (A Delightful Home Journal) was published monthly in Australia, and as well as the free pattern there were patterns included for crocheted doyleys, a "London Letter" explaining the movements of the English Court (none of the walls were papered apparently at the Royal Lodge ad Windsor, they all were painted in a dull surfaced English made paint), a knitted pinafore, a knitted dressing jacket and so on.  There were instructions for a knitted shawl and a doll tea cosy, a novelty work basket, a smart jumper knitted in diagonal stitch and also wide filet crochet border for decorating the edges of linen with a "bleeding heart" pattern.  Bleeding heart is the popular name for the dicentra and I can see what a truthful depiction this crochet pattern is.

 As well as the free dressmaking pattern included there were illustrated and advertised patterns for 13 other wonderful garments which could be sent off for; I was only sad I couldn't obtain any of them because they were most fetching.  

The little jacket over the dress is called a "coatee".  My nana used to talk about "coatees" of her youth and I always wondered what they were - now I know.

I was particularly sad that I could not lay my hands on a lifetime's supply of "Formettes", the little tablets which promised me I could stop starving myself and overtaxing my heart with strenuous exercises, weakening myself with ineffective reducing treatments.  Apparently if I had these Formettes I could "get rid of that excess fat once and for all - reduce easily, safely and permanently"!  They were also "invaluable for palpitation of the heart, shortness of breath, indigestion, dyspepsia, sick headache, heartburn, etc".

 Also there was the A.M.S. Digestive and Liver Tonic which would cure just about any ailment known to humankind, and all at the cost of 3/-, which seemed very reasonable for such wonderful results.  I don't know if I would bother with Madame B Eugene's Freckle Soap, but the finger waves of the lady in the illustration were something to behold - I would very much like to be able to reproduce them.

The bottling set looked ferociously demanding.  I remember bottling from when I was a child, and what a hot and sticky process it was - always in the height of summer and it used to attract wasps.  On the other hand, before freezing was widely used in the domestic situation it must have been a wonderful way of ensuring a supply of fruit and out of season vegetables later in the year.

You can see the little lady in the upper left hand corner with her magic wand, "Mrs B. Thrifty", exhorting readers to cut their food bills in half, and that must have been the main reason for people to want to spend all that time and effort on such a pursuit!


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post and I think the clothes and the adverts are fantastic. If only I could get some of those tablets and then I would think about one of those gorgeous dresses in the diagonal stripes. A real treasure, thank you for sharing.

  2. What a lovely gift you got! I want a blouse made like that...the sleeves are so pretty. Are you tempted to use that pattern and make one for yourself? I love the flouncing at the skirts' hems...the plaid dress is my favorite. Isn't it funny how medicines back then cured everything from in grown toe nail to heart trouble! And I am not even sure what dyspepsia is, but I certainly must have it and need some Formettes for it as well as reduction. Especially reduction. Great fun post!