This post will focus on shedding some light on the design process of the Breaking the Pattern garments! Looking back to the design period now, a year later, is actually quite difficult and it’s surprisingly hard to remember the evolution behind each style. The journey from the first drawings to an actual pattern can be very long and the styles can have quite the metamorphosis during that time. But it is also so much fun tripping down the memory lane!
Normally when designing for Named, we come up with a theme for the entire collection first, then do some research on the theme, and after that start design the garments. This has proven to be a very fruitful design method for us. However, with the BTP collection we decided to start from a little different angle, because having a themed collection for the book would have been too restrictive. Also, our main focus was to make this collection as easily modifiable as possible. Additionally, it had to be timeless and classic with a twist, just like our other patterns, and like always, we wanted to include interesting structures, sewing skills on different skill levels, intriguing cuts and flattering silhouettes for a variety of body types. We also wanted to create another collection that would be almost like a mini-wardrobe, with pieces that are easy to mix and match, and styles that are suitable for different occasions. With plenty of dresses of course (we have noticed that you ladies like dresses!).
One of our absolute favorites to design, make and now wear, was the Solina trio! Solina was one of the designs that came together very easily. We had a very simple winter-appropriate dress in mind, with light, ladylike details. We wanted to add a pleat detail to the front, and at first we had many ideas on how to do it; Pain pleats that are sewn closed sounded too boring, but having them stringed like shoe laces seemed too fiddly. Eventually we settled on the closed pleats with a bow tie, which is a very feminine and cute detail. Fun fact: throughout the process Solina’s working title was ’the Princess Leia dress’!
A classic white shirt was a must-make for this collection – after all, it is a wardrobe staple! To make the shirt classic, yet not basic, we designed some fun slits in it. The two of us always design on our own first, without knowing what the other sister is bringing to the first design meeting. When we had our first BTP review together, both of us had a scribble of a shirt that had vents at the shoulders! This might actually be just a way to revenge to a dress pattern that was supposed to be published with our SS17 Playground collection – it had similar vents, but we never managed to make the pattern work well enough to be released. With Saraste, it was also important that the pattern would have the same armscye as Solina, so that the sleeve patterns could be switched from one style to another. And that is how we have made it – you can switch the Solina sleeves to Saraste and vice versa!
When designing a collection and sewing the samples, there are always styles that become our favorites, and others that make our blood boil. This time, our absolute pet pattern was Palo Jeans – such fun to design, make patterns for, and to sew! Probably because it is such a unique style, and we got to use a mixture of different fabrics from different sources – leftovers from Nummi bag, old flea-market jeans and vintage denim from our grandma’s awesome stash! The least favorite in this collection was Kaste dress, and we don’t really even know why. It might have been the fact that it had so many pieces that were hard to name (you know – upper front, lower front, front side, front facing and the list goes on), or because we couldn’t find a fabric for either of the variations until the very last minute.
Kaste was actually very easy to design, the fun geometric cut had been in our mind already since the FW17 collection and Agate dress was released – you can maybe see now, that the two styles have a very similar cut, only Kaste has an additional diagonal cut at the waist! We designed the pattern so that it has similar vertical seams as Saraste, just so you could use the Saraste ruffle on Kaste, and add the Kaste butterfly sleeves to Saraste, if you want. And now that the Kaste dresses are ready we are obviously very happy with the result, and Saara is already planning on making a Kaste dress for herself. So no hard feelings, Kaste, you are quite all right after all!
Happy pattern breaking!
Laura & Saara
Ok, let’s fast forward from our photo shoot to midsummer, when all patterns and written material were ready, photos edited, and the book was in its first stage, sent to us for first proof read! We did this on our midsummer holiday, when Saara was relaxing at her friends’ summer cottage, and Laura was enjoying Copenhagen. The two of us met in Lisbon, from where we continued to Lagos for a surf camp. In the bus (which we had to take because we missed our train), we put together both of our notes from the first proof read of the book. Altogether that must have been at least ten hours of work for each, plus the 4-hour bus drive (in the below pic, Saara is snacking on chocolate while working on the book in the bus). We had to make a very quick transfer from one bus to another at Lagos, since our first bus had left the station late of schedule, and when our bus arrived to the bus station of Lagos, we ran to the next bus. We made it of course, and arrived to our surf camp eventually. It was late and we were hungry and tired, so we decided to get settled in our bungalow, have something to eat, and then send the pdf with all the notes back to our publisher.
At which point, we obviously noticed, that we had no computer what so ever and instead, had lef it on the first bus (you can only imagine the break down). Well, long story short, we did manage to retrieve our computer from Portimao, two days later (HUGE thanks to the kind people at our surf school for making all the calls and driving us to Portimao), and sent our notes only two days after deqadline. As you can imagine, it was pretty stressful, and the pic below where we seem to be relaxing at our camp’s hammock, doesn’t really tell the full story :D.
The rest of the summer was quite busy with all book related stuff, editing patterns for the pattern sheets, proof read after proof read, and fine-tuning everything. In fact, we had to cancel the rest of our summer holidays to get everything wrapped up (Saara is still waiting for her summer holiday to start, Laura was lucky enough to have hers in September!)
Autumn came and our publication date got closer and closer! We received the first copy of our book fresh from the printer, wrapped in sparkling wrappin paper and confetti (by the lovely commissioner of out book, Harriet), and that was one of the best days of the whole year! Seeing something that you have worked so hard for, turned into an actual thing (and our names on the frickin’ cover)!
While we were anxiously waiting for the release date, our cutting table exploded. It had nothing to do with the book, but funnily, that first copy of the book of ours, was on the cutting table when this event occured, and it survived the explosion without a scratch! As you can see in the photo below, it’s still on the table even though the table has turned into crumble. Luckily too, both of us were out of office when the explosion happened.
The first-ever-copy of the book didn’t survive our book launch party though. We held the party here in our office a few weeks back, and accidentally managed to sell the first copy, that was supposed to be just for browsing, to someone! We only hope that they don’t mind that it might be a bit shabby, and missing the plastic sleeve <3.
One of the best moments of this book journey so far was when we took the trip to London to see our publisher, and also saw and signed this mountain of books! That was the first time that we sort of started to comprehend that all this was real, and the book was actually goin to be published.
We hope you have enjoyed the read! If there’s anything you would like to know about the book and about making it, please leave a comment!
Laura & Saara
Our book Breaking the Pattern was released last month! The process of making it took a little over a year of hard work from the two of us, and from many other people involved. That year was quite eventful, and has definitely included lots of funny incidents, both ups and downs. This blog post series will hopefully give you a little peek into that journey!
We started designing the collection in October 2017. The designs came together quite easily, even though this was the first time we made a collection that wasn’t designed around a specific theme, like previous Named collections. It also differed from our regular pattern line in another way – we had decided to make this selection much more modifiable than any of our other collections, with more variations to one pattern (the Ruska-bunch, for example, has five variations), and the possibility to move pattern pieces from one pattern to another.
Of course the book’s collection was also much wider than our normal line, which usually has around ten patterns. Originally we had planned to make 10 patterns with 19 variations for the book, but while sewing the samples, we decided to add one more variation, the top version for the Solina triplet! This brought our collection into a much nicer round number of 20 patterns. The photo above is our first drawn plan for the whole collection, and as you can see, there are only 19 styles and the Solina top is missing (this sketch is actually still taped to the wall of our studio).
Once the patterns were ready, and the samples had been sewn, it was time to have our photoshoot. It took place in the very cold and snowy Helsinki, in the middle of March. All the snow had pretty much melted already when me and Saara were scouting for shooting locations just a few days before the photoshoot, but as soon as the week that our shoot was scheduled for arrived, it started snowing like it’s never snowed before. Fortunately our models Vanessa and Jessica were very weatherproof, as well as the rest of the crew, including our loyal photographer Arto Markkanen and make-up artist Jannica Stelander, and Harriet and Claire from our publisher Quadrille.
The fotoshoot lasted for four busy days, during which we took studio photots, editorial photos outdoors, and technical photos for the sewing skill -sections of the book in our office. Our photoshoots have never been quite as hectic as these four days, but luckily we managed to get everything wrapped up in time! Somehow, we managed to break two mirrors during the process too.
We had brought lots of plants to use as props for the photos, and on one of the studio days Claire – who is behind the beautiful design of the book btw – noticed that the architecture office next to Arto’s studio had some beautiful big plants in their window. So, off we went and asked them if we could borrow the magnificent plants for some studio photos! And they very kindly let us take their precious plants to our shoot. It was quite horrific moving the fragile things into the basement studio, but luckily we succeeded without harming them (we have seen the plants in the architecture studio’s window later and they seem to be feeling quite all right).
Stay tuned for our next post for more behind the scenes stories for Breaking the Pattern!
Laura & Saara