What can the world learn from Finnish sewists?
In this article from Named Patterns, we discover the secrets behind the effortless style of their native Finland.
A lot can be said about the Finns’ style, clothing and sense of fashion – we tend to opt for comfy and casual, loose cuts and neutral colours. But there’s also so much we can learn from the Finns, in terms of fashion and sewing!
FREE PATTERN AND 20% DISCOUNT
Named Patterns is our featured pattern company for September 2021. We'll be working with them throughout the month to bring you inspiring ideas and top tips.
They've also very kindly provided us with a free pattern for Premium members and a 20% discount for all members - claim yours here.
A neutral and timeless wardrobe is an essential for a Finn. This is not only handy, but also more sustainable, since garments in a neutral and harmonious color palette are more timeless, and easier to combine, giving a better opportunity to mix and match your items more freely. It does not mean that you should sew yourself a 100% beige wardrobe. Instead, focus on a harmonious color palette that suits you. If you love color blocking with bright red and blue, then do that, as long as your wardrobe has a sense of coherence.
As Finns we often feel a little ashamed for not following fashion trends with the most keen eye. But not chasing the ever-changing trends can be a good thing for you and the environment. Instead of following trends, pay attention to what feels like you, and sew garments that you can love for decades, not for spring/summer 2022.
Did you know, that in Finland crafts are a mandatory subject in the elementary school? In school, you can choose to study either carpentry or sewing, so it is not uncommon that (even though some hate these subjects) students leave the primary school with a good understanding of the basics of sewing. When Named was started back in 2013, indie patterns were a rather new thing in Finland, or at least it felt that way. Instead, Finns were and still are very used to sewing from sewing magazines – those with painfully busy pattern sheets, no seam allowances, very short and sparce sewing instructions, without illustrations of course. A complete nightmare for someone used to sewing with indie patterns!
Learning the basic skills in crafts education helps in coping with less informative patterns, but learning to sew in school has also taught us to teach ourselves. It makes us more persistent, more prone to looking for information, asking for help when we can’t figure things out alone, and sewing with friends and in groups. What can you learn? Learn to learn, look for information from books and videos, be persistent, ask for help, sew with a friend, and if all else fails, attend a course!
Babies are ideal customers
Many Finns begin their sewing journey by starting to make clothes for their kids. Babies are ideal customers – they don’t complain about wonky seams, mis-matched patterns or ill-fitting shoulders. They just look cute in their mom- or dad-made outfits! Since baby clothes are mostly made of knit fabrics, Finns actually often feel more comfortable sewing knits than wovens. A serger is our best friend, not nemesis. If you are either in the beginning of your sewing career and don’t know where to start, or horrified of sewing knits, start by doing some baby clothes or kid’s wear! If you don’t have offspring of your own, ask if a relative or a friend is in need of baby clothes, most often they will be happy to receive a few. And soon you will be comfortable sewing knits and wovens like a pro for a person of any age.