(… Or at least half a pattern)
Happy 2019! Remember the Anni building block pattern that we released on our 5th birthday last year? And the Wrap Skirt add-on block that was published in October? Now we have yet another add-on pattern for Anni, and it’s a wrap bodice! The Anni Wrap Bodice add-on block will be sold exclusively in our web shop, as of tomorrow the 11th of January 2019!
Technically this new block includes two pattern pieces: a new center front piece and a front facing, which replace the front and front facing patterns of the original Anni pattern to create a brand new wrap neckline. It can be sewn with any Anni bottom variation – jumpsuit, playsuit or skirt, and with a short or a long sleeve, or sleeveless. If you use one of the original Anni bottoms (listed above), the garment will have a zipper fastening in the back, and a faux-wrap front. Or, you can also sew the new wrap bodice to the add-on wrap skirt pattern and make a wrap dress with a tie closure. In that case note that you will still need both the original Anni pattern and the Wrap Skirt add-on, since the Wrap Bodice add-on doesn’t include the back, side and sleeve pieces.
I made an Anni Faux Wrap Jumpsuit to wear for my dear friend Tiia’s wedding last September. I used the jumpsuit bottom with the wrap front, and made my Anni without sleeves. I also added a belt with belt loops, just to emphasize the wrap effect, even though the garment has an invisible zip in the back. I sewed it in this gorgeous light jacquard that we received from a friend Nicoletta – also a pattern designer behind the brand di Nuvole di Cuori – years ago and have been saving for something special. And isn’t the confetti print just the right choice for an event as festive as a wedding? I sure think so! I had just enough of this precious fabric for a jumpsuit, even though I had to make the belt from 3 bits, and the front facings in two parts.
I love the jumpsuit so much, but haven’t been able to wear it even once since the wedding, sadly. It is not quite something that one could wear just for the office or taking out garbage, I will just have to wait for the right occasion. Additionally, I had shoes with a moderate 18-cm heel, so if I wear the jumpsuit with any other footwear, I’m not only considerably shorter, but the jumpsuit legs are also that much too long! (I might have to shorten them later, or alternatively grow longer legs.)
Instead, I have been wearing the heck out of the plaid Anni Jumpsuit sample that we sewed for our photoshoot! The style is not on our site yet, but you can see the samples in our Facebook or on the slideshow of our web site’s front page. In fact, it has been my favorite garment last fall, and has already starred in our new headshots, and in our London book release party! Even though I think jumpsuits are the absolute best thing to wear right now, I’m planning to combine this wrap bodice with the pencil skirt bottom next and create a pinafore-like faux wrap mini dress.
But, what on earth is a building block pattern? Let’s recap quickly! Our Anni has various pieces for different bottoms, necklines and sleeves, so called ”building blocks”, that are all (with a few exceptions) compatible with each other. Most blocks come with the original pattern (PDF only, costs 13 €), and the add-on blocks don’t work alone without it. Having all the blocks means that you get a chance to select details, such as sleeves, necklines and bottoms as you like and create a style that is 100% your own.
The new add on for Anni increases the amount of variations with 9 new styles, and if you top that with the Wrap Skirt add-on, 12 variations! That is 60 variations in total. The new add-on will be available tomorrow!
Have you ever wondered what and where the places in our book’s photos are? Probably not, but let’s take a tour anyway! When the two of us were just starting to plan our sewing book, we already had an idea about the photo shoot. We thought it would be fun to display the garments somewhere in our hometown of Helsinki, together with our good old team – the fantastic photographer Arto Markkanen, and the Make-up artist Jannica Stelander who we can always count on. We have worked with these two for a couple of years already, and wanted to have them in this photo shoot yet again, so it made sense taking the photos here where most of the team was.
We looked for locations that have character, but aren’t too dominant. They also had to be quite close to each other in order to make our photo shoot day go quick and smooth! Now that we look back, it’s a bit hard to recall why we selected these exact places. Funnily, they are all quite familiar to us in one way or another, and they are also close to our studio shop in Eastern part of the inner city area of Helsinki.
Our first location was the Isoisänsilta bridge, which is a beautiful new white bridge that connects Sompasaari to the Mustikkamaa island. Our FW16 collection photos were taken on the Mustikkamaa island, just a few months before this bridge was opened! The idea to take photos there was Claire’s, the designer of our book from Quadrille. She had seen a photo of the bridge somewhere in the internet and thought it looked like a beautiful place for a photo session – and we definitely agree!
The second location was right next to Isoisänsilta at Suvilahti. Suvilahti is an old power plant zone that has been turned into a cultural area – for example the Flow music festival is held there every August. One might say that it’s a very hipstery place, and Suvilahti is often spotted starring many photos, fashion and other. In fact our FW15 collection was also partly photographed in Suvilahti!
And it’s no wonder why Suvilahti is such a popular place for holding photo shoots – the location is very unique and picturesque with the monstrous gasometers and the beautiful old electric power plant buildings that date back to the early 20th century. We especially fell in love with the wavy surface of the plaster wall of the Kattilahalli building, as well as the colossal gasometer of course.
Our third location was Konepaja at Vallila, which has originally been owned by the VR concern (a state owned railway company) since 1903, but is now an up and coming neighborhood, and the home of many businesses and people. Also, Konepaja is right across the street from our shop.
Konepaja has originally served as a railway carriage repair station and factory, and the old red brick buildings and pipes bear a lot of history!
The last shooting location was in Itä-Pasila, an area in Helsinki which has been built mostly in the 70’s, and was once considered quite an ugly part of the city, with plenty of concrete and lots of soulless office buildings.
Lately Pasila has had quite the facelift, and it has been colored with the works of many street artists! It is now the place to be for Helsinki street art lovers.
A good example of how fast the concrete walls are being colored by art in Pasila, is this big mural by the Canadian street artist Li-Hill, that wasn’t here six months earlier when we were taking photos of the same wall.
We chose Itä-Pasila for its roughness, which creates a nice contrast to the beautiful and graphic Isoisänsilta, and the nostalgic Suvilahti and Konepaja. All these places together create a nice traditional yet contemporary atmosphere for the book. (Or at least we think so.)
Thank you for reading!
Laura & Saara
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