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Q&A with Saara and Laura from Named

Hi Everyone,
We are delighted to bring you a Q&A today with the fabulous ladies behind the Named Clothing pattern collection! 
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
We are Saara and Laura Huhta, the two sisters, designers and entrepreneurs behind the indie pattern label Named. We founded Named a little over five years ago, after having sewed for almost our entire lives!
How and when did the comapny start?
The story of Named start in the fall of 2012, when we first got the idea of starting our own indie pattern label. It came to us as a sort of a whim one sunday afternoon, when the two of us sat on a bus to go from our training to our parents place for lunch. For some reason we started to chat about work, and what kind of work we would love to do if we could choose anything. It has always been clear that we love sewing and crafts, so starting our own pattern label sounded like the perfect plan, and we started to write down our business plan right there and then! One year later, our web site saw the day of light, and our first collection 'First Named’ was released.
What was your background before Named?
As mentioned, we have sewn since our mom taught us the skill when we were very young. After that, Saara studied a degree in fashion design and pattern making, and Laura graduated as a footwear designer. For the time before Named, Saara worked as an assistant in movie and theatre costume design, and Laura as a design assistant in a handbag design company.
Where did the company name come from?
That one is actually a funny story! We had a really hard time coming up with a name for our own business. The deadline for registering the name was getting closer and closer, so we simply had to decide that whatever the name, we cannot dither any longer, at this point the company just has to be named. and Named it was!
What's a typical 'day in the life' for you?
Typically every morning we open the computers, and Laura checks all the e-mails. Saara will take care of the web shop orders. We do a lot of resale orders, sales, social media and that sort of day-to-day tasks during the days. Making patterns takes quite a lot of Saara’s time, and when we are in the middle of a pattern development process, Laura will make the instructions.
What's your favourite part of the job?
We love to be the bosses of ourselves and getting to decide which direction we take the brand to! Of course we love to design and sew. Sewing and designing periods usually happen only a couple of times a year, and they are always a delight!
Have you got a favourite pattern?
Oh my, impossible to decide! I would say that there are several favorites for several reasons. Of course our Kielo Dress, which is probably our best known pattern. 
Then there are patterns that took a lot of work to make, for example the Helga Playsuit, but worked out great when the pattern was eventually finished. That is always very rewarding to see a pattern become a real, wearable thing after it looked as though it would never work! 
From our book Breaking the pattern we absolutely love the Solina Jumpsuit. It has a lovely silhouette and beautiful details, with a fabric that was almost like it was made for it! So all in all it’s a very successful style which we are quite proud of.
How long does it take from initial idea to launching a pattern?
It is hard to say. We usually design collections that have approximately ten styles. It takes us half a year to finish the entire process from initial idea, design, making patterns and writing instructions, through testing to actual patterns and instructions in a sellable form. The book project was very different because the collection is so much bigger, and the theme is very different, with all the pattern variations, and mixing and matching pieces.
What's your most popular pattern?
Kielo dress. It was released in the spring of 2014 as a part of our ’All Things Nice’ collection, and it still sells more than any other pattern in our shop. But it’s understandable, because it is a very simple pattern with a very exciting and interesting look!
How did the book come about?
The book project has been one of the most exciting - or actually the absolute most exciting - projects in our history! It was fun to step out of our routine of releasing two pattern collections a year, and work on something that much bigger, and so thrilling! It was definitely a fun project, even though it took a lot of work, and we are very happy with the result.
Breaking the Pattern by Saara & Laura Huhta (Quadrille £26)
Who is the book for?
The book is made for ladies who love style and sewing, and would like to improve their sewing skills but also be creative and experiment with pattern hacking! As the name suggests, the book offers a lot of options for ’Breaking the Pattern’, and doing things in a different, more personal way!
What sorts of fabrics do the patterns from the book use?
We use a variety of fabrics, from light and drapey chiffon and challis to robust denim! We also have a few patterns for knits, and one coat in which we used a lovely Cashmere coating. Of course there are patterns for the very basic things, such as shirtings, too.
Have you got a favourite pattern/part of the book?
As mentioned before, we really love the Jumpsuit pattern. The Palo Jeans pattern is also a nice and very unusual jeans pattern which we love. We love how the book turned out and how it is easy to use for different skill levels - the book starts with a very simple project, and the skill level will develop throughout the different projects, ending up in a gorgeous coat! So a beginner can start from the very first project and move along, learning new skills project after another. But there are still plenty of things to sew for even a more experienced seamstress!
What's next for Named?
Who knows! Right now we are anxiously waiting for the book to come out and see how it’s received! Of course we would like to do a lot of book-related things after its release, to give it all the attention it deserves! But in which form - tutorials, blog posts, sewalongs - that we haven’t decided yet.
Image Credit: Arto Markkanen
Thanks so much for chatting with us today! We cannot wait to get our hands on a copy of the book and start making!
And keep an eye on the Minerva Crafts blog...projects from the new book are coming soon from some of your favourite bloggers!
Vicki @ Minerva

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