Han Made Patchology

Han Made Patchology

Posted by Hanna Kohn on

One of a kind and handmade exclusively from second hand materials. That’s the way of Han Made Patchology – a sustainable clothing brand based in Madison, WI. Green Life will be hosting Hannah of Han Made Patchology for a sidewalk pop up on Saturday, June 15 from 11am to 3pm. We caught up with Hannah ahead of the pop up to find out a bit more about what fuels her passion for weaving sustainability together with fashion.


How did Han Made Patchology get started?

 In  May of 2020 I taught myself how to sew by making masks for my family using my mom’s sewing machine from the 90’s (which I still use to this day). Since then, I would collect fabric from thrift stores whenever I found something that I liked. This led me to have bins worth of fabric that I moved from apartment to apartment with me. In the past, I would shove all my sewing supplies in my closet and lug it all out whenever I wanted to sew on a tiny coffee table or desk, which really made sewing a huge event for me. For the first time, in October 2023, I moved into an apartment where I have my own craft corner where my sewing machine, fabric and craft supplies are able to stay out permanently in our second bedroom (vibe room). This has made sewing so much easier and enjoyable for me (needless to say, everyone got a handmade gift from me for Christmas). In January, I kept the sewing roll going and finally made an Instagram (@han.made.patchology) to show off everything I was making, which quickly turned into my small business page where I sell my handmade items made out of exclusively second hand materials! 

Why is sustainability important to you?

Our society is just so incredibly wasteful. The fashion industry consistently ranks in the top 3 polluting industries in the world producing 97 MILLION TONS of waste each year!!! When I decided to start sewing, it was an absolute no-brainer that I would only be creating from second hand materials. There are so many textiles and clothing on this earth already and I want to help give them another life. However small of an impact, I want to show that sustainable fashion can also be super fun, colorful, and stylish and that there are more options out there than simply following fast fashion trends. 

How do you go about sourcing materials for your products?

I get most of my fabric from thrift stores, estate sales or Facebook marketplace. Vinny’s on Willy Street has a $1 fabric bin that is always great to look through. There is also this really great thrift store in my hometown in Minnesota that has bins and bins of fabric sorted by color and a lot of my supply is from there. Most of my thread has been from eBay and usually comes in a gallon size zip-lock bag with all the threads tangled together from some lady who no longer sews anymore. I also recently discovered a second hand craft store in Stoughton called Hello Art Hatchery and I am very excited to continue shopping there.

What is something that you wish more people knew about working with second hand materials?

Working with second hand materials is very much a ‘you get what you get’ situation, which is one of my favorite parts about it. It feels like a little personal challenge to create what I can out of limited resources, colors and fabrics. Oftentimes though, when commissioning an item for someone it can get really difficult to work with an exact color palette or pattern ideas, so being flexible with  ideas and inspo helps me out a lot. Also, the majority of the time, I do not know what type of fabrics I am using because I usually find them at thrift stores without their original tags. I can use my best judgment, but I am never 100% sure, which can get tough when people want to know more about an item. 

What fashion or design are you excited about lately?

Just in general, I love Fashion Brand Company and everything they do (yes that is the real name of this fashion brand!). They are a sustainable slow fashion company based in L.A. and their wacky designs and even weirder marketing are what I aspire to create in my life someday (except with all second hand materials of course). They are just so unapologetic,  transparent, and silly. If you have never heard of them before, just 5 min on their website or Instagram will tell you everything you need to know. I just love them so much. I am pretty sure their Bikini Bod Zip-Up is the first non second hand article of clothing I have bought in like two years and it was so worth it.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Pinterest is really awesome all around. When I’m feeling uninspired I will turn to my DIY board on Pinterest to look through things I’ve wanted to try and make or search for more ideas like them. I also follow a lot of other sustainable sewing accounts on Instagram. Right now I feel super inspired by @maggs_rags and @reese.cycled who both make amazing upcycled clothes.

What project(s) are you working on right now?

I always go through phases of creating one type of thing until I get bored of it. This year I’ve gone through tote bags to sleep masks to pillows and now I am loving making jewelry and summery tops! I am also currently working on making my first ever dress! If all goes well, it will be available on June 15th. 

What are you looking forward to this summer? 

Winters are really great for sewing because everyone is staying inside anyway, but during the summer all I want to do is sit outside in the grass with friends, which is not ideal for sewing. So I am really excited to get into making jewelry or crocheting at the park or on my porch, it just feels right to do in the summer. Also, I’m so excited to go camping! I have this massive eight person tent that you can fully stand up in and it pops up with such minimal effort that it really turns any camping trip into a glamping trip. I can't wait!

Any advice for people looking to start on their own sustainable sewing journey?

You just really have to lean into working with what you’ve got. If you keep your mind set on trying to find the perfect fabric or pattern that you saw someone else wearing, you’re never going to be satisfied with what you find, unless you’re really lucky. I usually collect materials I like first and then figure out what I can make with the amount I have second. This eliminates a lot of frustration around searching for a very specific item for a very specific pattern or not having enough materials to make something. 

Where can people find your work?

Right now I am only selling through my Instagram page @han.made.patchology, but I have been popping up all around Madison at different markets and events which I also post about on my Instagram page!

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