Monthly Archives: September 2017

  • Named Clothing: New Pattern Collection

    This week saw the launch of a new collection of patterns for AW2017 from one of our favourite design teams: Named produce gorgeous and wearable garments but their story is a little different to most pattern houses.Named Clothing was established in 2013 by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta, and describes itself as a Finnish DIY Fashion Label. The siblings admit to a love of clothes and fashion but also on a more practical level, they enjoy good design across the board and DIY making. Their hugely popular Instagram account shows this breadth of interest as well as behind the scenes of the business.

    Their aim with Named is to bring a fresh way of looking at the fashion industry and the clothes we choose to wear; supporting ethical, sustainable and slow fashion in direct contrast to the fast-paced, throw away culture that prevails in high streets around the world. And not only does this refreshing ethos sit well with moral principles, it's a great unique selling point for their business. If the customer is the one making the garment it means there is endless freedom of choice - you can choose the fabric, the colour combinations, include design variations and even make tweaks to the patterns (as guided on the website) to produce a totally unique garment that is fitted for you. What's not to love?

    Named also have a bricks and mortar shop in Helsinki, which is highly unusual for a standard pattern company, but we all know just how useful it is to see and touch a garment that has already been made up before we buy the pattern ourselves. (It's something we like to do at Ray Stitch too, and our window displays and the sample rail are always popular.)

    Named Clothing definitely sits within the fashion world though, and takes itself seriously as a label. Their garments combine the clean-lined simplicity of Scandinavian design with interesting and quirky details, and just like other fashion houses they launch two collections a year (Spring/Summer & Autumn/Winter) But as the duo want to encourage as many people as possible to get making their own clothes, the patterns in each collection span 5 levels of difficulty from beginners to advanced. There really is something for everyone.

    Autumn/Winter 2017 from Named is entitled 'Earth Science' and includes a beautiful cocoon coat, a funky twist on a sweatshirt and a choice of four dresses.

    Ruri Fitted Sweatpants - relaxed and comfortable but tailored with poppers at the ankle. We suggest making these in a stable, heavy knit. Something like a Ponte di Roma or a cosy sweatshirt fleece.

    Gaia Cocoon Coat - a loose fitting, fully lined coat with so many ways to customise to suit your taste. Try it in wool in a funky colour or a luxurious melton.

    Tierra Wrap Skirt - a double-layered asymmetric wrap skirt with a large feature bow, the pattern specifies a jersey for this skirt and we think this heavy grey knit would work a dream. We haven't tried it yet but we suspect the shape could also work well in a woven fabric, maybe a linen or a denim/chambray.

    Stella Raglan Blouse and Dress - vintage-style dress and blouse with pussy-bow collar and elastic waist and cuffs for ease of wear (& making.) This GORGEOUS Leah Duncan cotton lawn springs immediately to mind looking at the pattern, or any of the pretty lightweight lawn and batiste fabrics in this section.

    Gemma Maxi Dress and Sweatshirt - Wow! two great garments in one. Both the dress and sweatshirt have a very cool geometric panel in the front which can be downplayed or really go to town on contrasting colours. You could be really playful with this and mix a couple of things up, contrast prints/plains/textures. Suggestions: Organic printed knit, Fluffy Ivory Knit, Neon Coloured Scuba, Stripey Double Knit, Quirky Print. So many options, it's impossible to choose...

    Agate Pencil Dress - a semi-fitted bat-winged dress with invisible zips and a side vent. Toned down, how about a seasonal linen/wool mix, or washed linen? Or vamped up, go for a luxurious look with Liberty Silk Satin.

    As always, we love to hear from you and would be keen to know what YOU think about these new Named patterns - find us on Facebook and Instagram (we're very sociable!) And don't forget to tag any photos of your creations with #raystitch so we can see them too!






  • Ray Stitch: Focus on Charley Harper

    Birch Fabrics have recently released the fourth collection of Charley Harper prints, entitled 'Western Birds', and we are really excited to be stocking the full collection of these gorgeous fabrics. The range includes woven canvas and quilting cotton so is ideal for soft furnishings as well as garments - we love the bold prints for a simple short sleeved top.


    Ray Stitch Western Birds


    We know how popular Charley Harper's designs are with our customers, and this range has been highly anticipated. But how are these original mid-century designs being turned into new collections today?

    Charley Harper, born in 1922, was a Cincinnati-based Modernist artist, specialising in wildlife and plants; something he attributed to growing up on a farm. His distinctive style is described as Minimal Realism, and he strove to capture the essence of his subject in the most simple way possible. He is quoted as saying "I don't see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, colour combinations, patterns, textures..."


    Biology Book


    During his career, Harper illustrated many publications, including the Ford Times magazines, posters for zoological societies and many biology books which were used in schools - even the text books were super stylish in the 1950s! A young Todd Oldham grew up with these illustrations but it wasn't until he rediscovered a vintage magazine in 2001 that he came to know the artist behind his childhood memories. Oldham contacted Harper and a great friendship and working partnership developed, which lasted until Charley died in 2007.




    Todd Oldham worked with Charley Harper to produce two books of his collected works, 'An Illustrated Life' and 'Animal Kingdom', and in doing so digitised his entire back catalogue. This endeavour was to become a key factor in the production of the fabric ranges. After Charley Harper passed away in 2007, Todd Oldham Studios held the licenses and copyrights, but Oldham said he felt very protective over the work and wanted to ensure the quality of the designs was upheld.

    Illustrated Life

    Other companies had been keen to produce a fabric line, but it wasn't until Birch Organic Fabrics approached Todd Oldham Studios to inquire about working together, that they agreed to collaborate. Oldham felt the organic brand was a natural fit for the ecological ethos of Harper. The designers at Birch work closely with Todd Oldham to respectfully turn the now digital art of Harper into repeated patterns using PhotoShop, with quilters and garment makers in mind. The first range 'Debut' was released in 2013 featuring the now iconic ladybirds, and 'Nurture' and 'Maritime' followed in 2015 and 2016. Birch Fabrics has produced the collections in a range of fabrics including poplins, double gauze, knits, cotton and canvas so there will be the right fabric for your project.


    charley harper collections


    The popularity of Harper's mid-century Modernist style seems to be ever-growing in popularity, and the desire of Todd Oldham Studios to make them into 'heirloom' items fits in perfectly with the Ray Stitch belief of making with meaning and make it last. Luckily, Charley Harper was such a prolific artist we can expect many more collections from Birch Organic Fabrics to come.

    You can find the new Western Birds range at Ray Stitch online, or pop in to see us and the fabric in real life!


    charley_westernbirds_spottedtowhee copy