In the late fall, Named Patterns released previews of their book Breaking The Pattern, and I knew I had to have a copy. The book has ten base patterns with several variations of each, as well as suggestions on how to further change things up using other pattern pieces that come with the book. The styles included have the fresh and modern look that Named is known for. The photos in the book are beautiful and inspiring (though I’m not sure what it is with the trend of holding a leaf while posing these days) and had me flipping through the book over and over again.
When I saw the previews I had my eye on the Ruska Knot Dress, the Solina Dress, and the Saraste shirt dress. I made the Saraste shirt dress a few weeks ago using some Liberty of London cotton lawn, but I didn’t really feel I could pull off the button-up collar look. The pattern was well-drafted though and the dress came out beautifully, but it just wasn’t for me, so I sold it to a friend so it can be worn and loved.
In sewing the patterns, I felt a bit frustrated by the instructions. Some of the steps had long chunks of text with few diagrams to break them up. A lot of the steps actually just tell you to go to another pattern’s instructions and follow a step there. At one point I actually turned to that step and the step told me to go to a different step for a different pattern. I felt kind of like I was looking at those little doodles in my elementary school textbooks where they told you “Go to page 89!” and when you went to page 89 it said “Go to page 203” and so on and so forth, and in the end it got you nowhere.
Since the instructions seemed kind of vague to me, I felt that a less experienced sewist would struggle constructing the garments from this book. Some parts of the book have actual photos to complete steps that include somewhat crucial sewing skills (like setting in sleeves or installing an invisible zipper) that I feel like someone should know if they’re making these patterns to begin with.
The patterns all come on sheets that need to be traced, since the pattern lines all overlap each other. What really bothered me is that there was no chart or numbers indicating where specific pattern pieces could be found, and the sheets weren’t all organized by pattern. So in order to find a piece I needed to trace, I needed to go through all the pattern sheets and open them up and flip them over until I found it.
Anyways, I would still recommend this book because the patterns in it are gorgeous and very well drafted (I sewed both the Saraste and Solina dresses without any changes to the pattern). Named patterns are often quite pricey (and don’t always come with several variations), so to get 10 (not including several variations) for the price of the book is pretty good bang for your buck.
Shortly after finishing and sending away my sort-of failed Saraste dress, I traced out the pieces for the Solina dress. It looks pretty complex with all its ties and interesting pleats, but I actually found it really quick to put together.
The pattern doesn’t have a lining and I can’t really picture how I could add one without needing tons of fabric (since there is no waist seam I can’t think of a way to only line part of it). This made it really quick but also the fabric I bought is slightly translucent so I’ll need some sort of slip or nude undergarments. I have no regrets about my fabric choice, though, because the tencel twill I bought from Matchpoint Fabric is deliciously buttery and soft, and I love the drape of it much more than the heavier tencel twill I usually buy elsewhere.
I was concerned throughout the project that the dress would be too long and would maybe look like a bathrobe? But once I had the waist ties sewn in I tried it on and loved how it looked. Fortunately I have long legs so the length doesn’t look awkward (the patterns are drafted for a 5’8″ woman) and I can picture it looking really cute with sandals in the warmer months.
I would also note that the sleeve ties are a touch long, and if you don’t wind them around your wrist twice you’ll have long lengths of ties dangling about. If I make this pattern again with the ties I would probably shorten them. To begin with having them there will be a bit impractical.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really know when I’ll wear this dress. It’s quite the statement piece. I have a lot more fun making statement pieces though, so I don’t really mind. I’ve already been thinking about making more of these, but maybe with short sleeves and a skirt that ends at the knee for something more summer-appropriate and casual. It’s the kind of dress that you can really change up based on skirt and sleeve length and fabric choice.
Have you bought a copy of Breaking the Pattern? What patterns are you planning to try?