Slow Fashion 2018 with Cal Patch, Katrina Rodabaugh, & Jessica Lewis Stevens

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Sunday afternoon, July 22nd through Friday mid-day, July 27th

Ferry Beach Park Association, Saco, Maine



Slow Fashion returns for 2018 with the same instructors, but a slightly different format and some new additions!

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....



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 also an expression of your beliefs. All while treading lightly on the planet.

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Slow Fashion returns for 2018. We had such a good time at the beach last year that we all decided we need to do this again. As with the blissful Slow Stitching retreats I have produced for the past three 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 open their hearts and their tool boxes to share their knowledge and skills for creating a handmade wardrobe you can be proud of.  You will spend a full day with each instructor working through basic pattern drafting, mending, and natural dyeing.  Cal, Katrina, Jessica, and I will share the ways that you can take each of their workshops together to create a special garment during the retreat, with the ability to apply the same ideas to other parts of your wardrobe.

Last year we included a clothing swap party one night, and that's coming back!  Bring items from your closet that just don't get the love they deserve and see if someone else might take them home. Last year there were all sorts of cool ideas that came out of the swap combined with what Cal, Katrina, and Jessica taught, that gave new life to closet misfits.  This year we will also be joined by Amy DuFault, Sustainable Fashion activist and journalist, to give a talk about the current state of Slow Fashion, and to offer her perspective throughout the workshops. 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 absorbing their specific skills. Then on the last day we will have the opportunity to take all you have learned and play with the ideas, making a special item to take home with you, or further exploring the ways to make it all yours.

~Cal will teach you how to draft a pattern for a simple woven tunic 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 continue by either 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 tunic that reflects their personality and reminds them of this inspiring week in Maine!  This basic tunic 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 can also incorporate some of your dyed or stitched samples from this week into your project.

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~ Katrina will share her prodigious resources, leading the group through some of the more 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.

In the first half of this workshop you’ll focus on a warm-up Sashiko stitching project that could be used as a patch pocket or embroidery for the tunic made with Cal Patch. During this design project you’ll discuss various resources for continuing beyond the classroom. In the second half, participants will utilize the Sashiko and Boro techniques to mend an existing garment with individual consultations. Students will leave the workshop with a design project, mended garment, various resources, an introduction to mendfulness, and greater stitching confidence and skill. Basic sewing and stitching skills are required.


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~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.

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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’s focused on a fashion fast, Make Thrift Mend, to deepen her commitment to sustainable fashion, mending, natural dyes, and preserving garments. Her first book, The Paper Playhouse 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:



For this Slow Fashion retreat, Amy DuFault will be our sustainable fashion speaker-in-residence giving ongoing encouragement as we mend, knit, and make on the porch, and will be on hand to answer any and all questions you might have throughout the week. As she feels the process of becoming more conscious about the fashion industry starts with baby steps, we'll take a 5 day journey with her to look at how every aspect of our lives can be an opportunity to look closer at ourselves, and how that reflects what we buy. 

Part 12-step program, part fashion-bootcamp, we'll all (hopefully) come to terms with just why it is we live in a world driven by fast fashion and what our place is within it.

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A veteran of the slow fashion movement, Amy DuFault is a sustainable fashion writer, consultant and Director of Communications at Pratt Institute's Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. Having spent the past 20+ years as a journalist (12 of which have been laser focused on sustainable fashion), with bylines in The Guardian, GOOD and other publications, Amy has morphed as a professional writer penning stories about sustainable fashion trends to a less embraced part of the industry focused on human rights, environmental protection and transparency.

In addition to her writing, she has served as digital content director and consultant for natural dye guru Kathy Hattori of Botanical Colors for the past 4 years, and continues to work with brands looking to improve their ethical and sustainable benchmarks.

Along with food writer Anna Brones of Comestible and environmental filmmaker Jenny Nichols, Amy launched the Food & Fibers Project last year to look at the intersection of food and fiber, and the challenges and similarities both industries face. Their first film featuring Kathy Hattori of Botanical Colors won a place in the National Geographic sponsored Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado last year. The trio continue to engage through storytelling with the goal of getting people to consider where both their food and fibers come from.

Amy splits her time living on Cape Cod with her husband and two teenagers and in Brooklyn and loves the balance.

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. This year there are some extra options if you are returning and want to share quarters with others. Go to their website here to read about your options.  Call or email them to set up your lodging once you have paid your deposit. 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, that's great! You can still join us for lunches if you like, meal cards can be purchased on site, or in advance.


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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. Registration will open on Monday, March 5th at 3:00pm EST.  It will be announced through my newsletter first!  So if you are not on the newsletter email list, sign up now! The link is at the bottom of the home page. You will need to pay a non-refundable deposit to register, and then arrangements can be made for how to pay your balance.