Archives For Cal Patch

Week two of Slow Fashion October has just finished. The prompt for this week, “Small” was actually a big one for me.

From Fringe Association:

Week 2, October 5-11: SMALL
handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability

A lot of those words have been coming up for me over and over again this past year. From my interview with Ben Hole a few months ago about his family’s ultimate small-batch one-flock yarn to the ongoing Curious Handmade Wardrobe project, I’m diving into these themes repeatedly. What’s funny is that when I saw the prompt “Small” my mind immediately went to a slightly different place. I remembered a project I made eight yeas ago: my very first pair of handmade socks.


The pattern was Falling Leaves by Jessica Landers, and I’ll never forget about it. It was definitely a slow project for me! But I gained a totally disproportionate amount of joy from such a small garment, I learned how to knit a sock, started to learn how lace operated…I’m pretty sure I followed the chart upside down and back to front and it was years later before I realised why I could never get it to look like the picture (slow process alright). I also used a completely inappropriate yarn for socks but loved the project so much anyway that it didn’t matter that I could only wear them around the house and to bed.

With my current projects, I’m still stretching myself. Learning is still a slow process for me, and the results are still incredibly satisfying. I have just finished a single tunic dress. It’s a simple piece but the fabric feels wonderful. It’s a classic navy colour, which wasn’t the easiest to sew (at least not at night) but it will be a perfect capsule wardrobe piece. As a beautiful neutral canvas, it will look amazing with all my lovingly-knit shawls. After all the planning and talking about less being more, and quality over quantity, this piece feels like a real achievement…one small step closer to my ultimate goal of living with less.

Now I’m planning a skirt out of The Fibre Co (Dry Goods) woollen fabric. This fabric is a new venture for The Fibre Co and is currently very small batch! With this project I really want to relish every small detail of the process, from start to finish. I plan to draft the pattern to fit me and take my time designing it exactly how I want it. This is a garment I want to suit me and and make me happy and no one else, without having to care if its “fashionable” or not!!

I wrote a lot last week about my desire to live with less, and a more recent part of that process has been serious decluttering process. I went through my wardrobe pretty carefully, and selling/giving away so many clothes I didn’t love was a real lesson in not making rash, un-thought-out purchases. There were lot of things bought on sale because they were a good deal or in a rush because I was desperate for an event or change of size. They didn’t bring me joy. (A quality Marie Kondo talks a lot about in her wonderful book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.) Taking my time means I need a lot less things – and having a smaller wardrobe means it is much easier to see what will coordinate with what I have. It has dramatically shifted my shopping and making habits for the better.


CH 87: With Cal Patch

Helen —  August 14, 2015 — 1 Comment

Curious Handmade Podcast Ch 87

So this week has been the big official launch of the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge! If you haven’t gotten involved yet, don’t worry, there’s still lots of time. We’re all still in the dreaming stage! You can get all the details on the official post here on the blog, and make sure that you pop into the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group to get in on all the community conversations and support.

Onto today’s podcast: it’s the first one that ties into the Challenge, and although it was recorded months ago, it’s so perfect to usher us into this project. I’m talking with maker, designer and teacher Cal Patch of Hodge Podge Farm. We were cabin mates at Squam this year, and I was so thrilled to sit down and record this interview with her right there in that magical environment. I’ve been squirreling the recording away until now and I’m bursting to share it with all of you: it’s a really special one.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their magnificent Acadia yarn.

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can get your hands on some Acadia of your own at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links

Cal Patch Squam Smock

Cal mentions her Borealis Shawl design in Jill Draper Makes Stuff yarn

We mention Cal’s amazing online class on CreativeBug. You can find them all right here if you’d like to browse. Some that are especially good for learning foundational sewing and pattern drafting skills are

Market Tote Bag (this is Cal’s recommended very first sewing project!)

Patternmaking Simplified: A-Line Skirt

Learn Pattern Drafting

Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch

Hanging dress

Cal’s always busy teaching and sharing her knowledge with other crafters. She generally has a bunch of workshops coming up all around the world. All the details and dates can be found on her teaching page. The next few in line are:

in August:

Make Your Own Dress Immersion Weekend at Drop Forge & Tool in Hudson, NY

Print & Sew Folk Dress (with Maya Donenfeld) at Craftstitute in Ithaca, NY

in September:

Sew Your Own Leggings at Fiber College of Maine

in November:

Sewing and Crochet Classes at Lucky Star Art Camp in Texas

 Cal Patch Skirts

As if all that online and offline teaching wasn’t enough work, Cal has somehow found time to bring out an absolutely wonderful book which really demystifies pattern making, a subject which intimidates a lot of sewists. It shouldn’t! Especially if you have Cal’s book by your side.

Design it Yourself Clothes: Pattern Making Simplified

You can find out more about everything she’s up to by visiting her at:

hodge podge farm

Cal’s Etsy shop



Just a reminder! I’m still pinching myself that Curious Handmade has made it to the finals of the UK Podcasting Awards!  Every vote counts and I’d be so grateful if you’d take a moment to vote for us here! Thank you so much!

Please come along on September 5th for the Great London Yarn Crawl! I’m sharing a stand on a rotating basis with a bunch of wonderful designers as part of their pop up marketplace Indie Designer Spotlight.

I’m working with Emily Quinton from Makelight Studios and my friend Vicki Hillman, fashion stylist to plan the first Curious Handmade live workshop on Friday the 9th of October. Save the date!

I really hope you enjoyed listening to that episode as much as I loved recording it: you can hear how much fun we had. Don’t forget to get in on the Creative Handmade Wardrobe Challenge! Until next time, happy making!