Slow Fashion 2017 with Cal Patch, Katrina Rodabaugh, & Jessica Lewis Stevens

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Sunday afternoon, July 23rd through Friday mid-day, July 28th

Ferry Beach Park Association, Saco, Maine



A small group of just thirty stitchers will spend five days in exploration of ways to make your wardrobe ethical, sustainable, handmade, and beautiful! We will do all this with the expansive beauty of one of Maine's pristine beaches as our backdrop, and inspiration....

As of 7/10 there are still five (5) spots available in Slow Fashion. Housing options at Ferry Beach are filling up, so register now if you want to join us!


Let's hit the pause button, and see what we can learn about Slow Fashion.  Maine is a beautiful place to turn down the volume, shut off the email, leave the phone in your room, and spend some time exploring this relevant movement.  Join this group of three world class makers: Cal Patch, Katrina Rodobaugh, and Jessica Lewis Stevens to learn ways to make your garments both beautiful and ethical, and an expression of your beliefs

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As with the blissful Slow Stitching retreats I have produced for the past two years, the format for this retreat focuses on slowing down your practice to absorb the joy and beauty of Making with your own two hands. Cal, Katrina, and Jessica will open their hearts and their tool boxes to share their knowledge and skills for creating a handmade wardrobe you can be proud of. We will all stay at the Ferry Beach Park location which is literally Right. On. The. Beach. The rooms are rustic and homey, the sound and smell of the ocean ever present. The food is simple but nourishing. You might forget when in time we are. This is a location that transports you back to the Summer Holidays by the beach of our collective childhood.  Each day you will spend with one of our three Makers.

~Cal will teach you how to draft a pattern for a simple woven top that can easily be customized in myriad ways. This is a perfect intro to pattern-drafting if you’ve been wanting to dip your toe in the water, and the sewing couldn’t be simpler. Sewing your own clothes is satisfying and practical. Drafting your own patterns goes one step further and puts the entire design process in your hands.  In your time with Cal, you’ll begin by drafting the basic pattern to your measurements, then cut + sew a quick muslin (fit sample) to check fit, and tweak the pattern if necessary. Next you’ll either continue by turning your sample into a "wearable muslin", or cut a new one, perhaps adding extra seams or pockets. Beginner stitchers will keep it fairly simple, and those with more advanced skills can customize to their hearts’ content. Everyone will leave with a shirt that reflects their personality and reminds them of this inspiring week in Maine!  This basic t-shirt shape makes a lovely “blank canvas” pattern to use as a foundation for all sorts of techniques: piecing, quilting, embroidering, dyeing, eco-printing… and of course you can combine and layer the treatments to create the most special garments.  We all have fat quarters or other smallish cuts of precious fabrics, too small to use for garments - until now! You can play around with different seam placements and piece together smaller scraps of fabric, placing some of those treasured morsels front and center. You might even incorporate some of your dyed or stitched samples from this week into your project.

~ Katrina will share her prodigious resources, leading the group through some of the most direct ways to participate in slow fashion through mending and repairing the garments we already own. By keeping our garments in good condition we extend their usefulness, postpone their fate in a landfill, and also better understand the value of hand-stitching and the required skill to make or repair garments. Furthermore, mending makes our wardrobe more fashionable and more meaningful. Not only is our mending useful but with a few simple textile art techniques and thoughtful design it can be quite beautiful too.   Sashiko is a traditional Japanese stitching technique that lends itself beautifully to contemporary crafts. Sashiko is the perfect stitch to mend existing garments or to create beautiful new textiles. Katrina will lead the group in a discussion of traditional techniques like Boro, Sashiko, Kantha, embroidery, and quilting and their modern applications in Visible Mending and Slow Fashion.  You’ll also consider “mendfulness” or applying mindfulness to fashion and the creative opportunity in repair.

Katrina will start you off making a Sashiko-inspired potholder as a design project while sharing various resources for continuing beyond the classroom. After lunch you will utilize your new Sashiko and Boro techniques to mend an existing garment with the Katrina’s help. You will leave the workshop with a potholder, mended garment(s), various resources, an introduction to Mendfulness, and greater stitching confidence and skill.

~Focusing on foraged and locally accessible dyes native to the Northeast, Jessica will cover all of the basics of the natural dyeing process. Here is your chance to see what others are talking about. You will work together to extract and modify a range of colors for several types of fibers including cotton, linen, silk, and wool. You will explore and discuss what makes a plant or mineral suitable for dyeing, how to prepare and mordant your fibers, and how to combine dyes for endless color possibilities. She will also cover techniques such as solar dyeing and how to prepare a fermented indigo vat, and you'll have a chance to experiment with creating Shibori patterns in a prepared vat. You will be provided with a list of resources for sourcing your own natural dye supplies, as well as a guide to dye plants and materials that can be found through the seasons.


So, you see, there is much to be learned, and we will give you the time you need to absorb it all.  Each day will be spent with Cal, Katrina, or Jessica, learning their techniques and tips, and practicing new skills-or sharpening old ones. You will spend a day with each teacher, with plenty of time for inspirational wanderings.  The fourth day will be open to exploration. You will have the option to play with any or all of the techniques you have learned, with the guidance of Cal, Katrina, and Jessica. Or if you prefer, you can go for a swim, take a hike, do some stitching, some reading, or whatever your heart desires.  The focus will be on slowing down, taking time, connecting to your practice, the community, and your inner voice. Evenings will be open for more stitching, star gazing, walks on the beach, making new friends, communing with old ones, and anything else you might like to do by the beach, in Maine, in July....


Cal Patch

Cal has been a maker since she was a Girl Scout in the seventies. She sews, crochets, spins, embroiders, knits, prints, drafts patterns, dyes… hence the name of her label: Hodge Podge. Cal has been teaching textile arts for over 15 years, and loves showing people new skills. She designed clothes for several big names in the fashion industry before leaving to forge her own path as an independent artisan and create one-off handmade pieces. Cal owned a boutique in Manhattan and later opened one of the first indie craft schools in 2002. After seventeen years of designing clothes in New York City, she recently relocated to the Catskills, where she is becoming a crafty farmer. Her book on drafting sewing patterns, Design-It-Yourself Clothes, was published in 2009. Currently she teaches at various shops, studios and retreats around the country and sells her work at craft fairs and online in her Etsy shop. You can see what she's up to at


Katrina Rodabaugh


Katrina is an artist, writer, and crafter working across disciplines to explore environmental and social issues through traditional craft techniques. Her artwork, designs, and writing have appeared in galleries, theaters, magazines, and arts venues across the country. She’s received grants, residencies, and awards for her work and earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College where she trained and taught in the Book Arts Studio. Her blog, Made by Katrina, won the Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Award. Since 2013 she has maintained a fast fashion fast, Make Thrift Mend, to deepen her commitment to sustainable fashion, sewing, mending, and preserving garments. Her first book, The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes, and Books was published in January 2015. Visit:


Jessica Lewis Stevens


Jessica is a quilter and natural dyer making a home and tending a small homestead in southern Vermont. Her practice is borne of a love for the visible marks of hand-making, the earnest work of making what we need, and cultivating a relationship with our natural environment. Following studies in book arts and letterpress printing, Jessica has spent the last several years engaging with textile arts to learn and share the heritage of American quilt-making and natural dyeing practices, creating useful, heirloom-quality goods that celebrate both a whimsical and meaningful connection to nature. She is currently working on a collection of play quilts and developing natural dye workshops for children. Visit:


Registration is for instruction (and some special goodies) only. If you decide to join us you will need to contact the Ferry Beach Park Association directly to make your housing and meals arrangements. They have many levels of housing set aside for us, so hopefully there is something that works with your budget. Go to their website here to read about your options.  Call or email them to set up your lodging once you have gotten a confirmation from me on your place in the retreat. Tell them you are coming to the Slow Fashion retreat when you sign up and you will get our room rate, as well as being in our specific locations. They can even set you up with a Slow Fashion roommate!   If you are local and would like to join us as a day student, you will still need to register with them for the lunches we will all eat together.


We are adding some yoga sessions with Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter to our line-up, for those who would like the option to stretch their bodies along with their stitching skills....

Ferry Beach Park Association is a retreat and conference center located on the coast of southern Maine. They are located just a short 30 minute drive from Portland, three hours from Boston and about seven hours from NYC. Ferry Beach is a place where those challenges you thought you would never shed just seem to melt away when you are not even looking, a place that offers rest and relaxation in addition to an opportunity to step into your greatness. At Ferry Beach, you can experience the joy of community, the challenge of personal growth, and the comfort of spirit.


In order to give you plenty of time to check, and double check, your schedule, and confer with partners, bosses, children, parents, and pets, to make sure this will work for you, I am delaying the opening of registration until March 3rd. I will announce the opening of registration with an email. So if you are not on the newsletter email list, sign up now! The link is at the bottom of the home page.

Registration is now open! You can click on THIS link to be taken directly to the form.....!