Local sets sail with new sewing business

New+Marquette+resident+Cathe+Hahn+sews+two+pieces+of+sail+fabric+together+to+create+the+Patagium%2C+her+invention+that+allows+stand-up+paddle+boarders+to+sail+downwind.

New Marquette resident Cathe Hahn sews two pieces of sail fabric together to create the Patagium, her invention that allows stand-up paddle boarders to sail downwind.

Isabelle Tavares

Bright patches of blue, pink and orange sail were closely sewn together by a diligent hand. Half of her fingernails were painted a dark seafoam green, with a sparkly silver accenting every other finger. Sails were strewn about the floor and hung on the walls, making for a chaotic yet cozy atmosphere only suitable for a sail constructor 30 years in the making. The new inventor
of Patagium, a sustainable outdoor gear sewing company, makes and repairs stand-up paddle board (SUP) sails in a repurposed shop on Third Street. Marquette, meet Cathe Hahn. Hahn, meet
Marquette.

Hahn moved to Marquette because of dissatisfaction and the feeling of isolation of her previous town of Cross Village, Michigan. She was a sailmaker for 30 years at the Irish Boat Shop in Harbor Springs, which was a
full-service boat shop that sold paddle boards.

“We sold out three summers in a row and I just knew I had to try paddleboarding. [Where] you’re standing on the water like a water-strider insect getting a core workout and not in the
water in a kayak. I also get to look all around, which is what I
love to do.”

The nexus of Hahn’s experience paddleboarding with her sailing expertise conjured the creation of the Patagium sail. The mechanisms of the sail are simple. Hahn modified a small, sugar glider sail to fit like a sleeve around the paddle which
allows the paddleboarder to glide with the wind, much like a
flying squirrel.

These furry flying animals have a membranous structure called a patagium that assists in flight. Thus, Hahn found the name
of her creation. She developed a prototype from a napkin drawing and had a friend try it before the snow hit in October of last year.

“After that, I made a pattern and started making sails for
my friends to use. It didn’t
really take off until I got involved
with [email protected] and with
social media,” Hahn said.

The store officially opened
on June 21.

“The communities of Marquette, Ishpeming and Negaunee have been amazing. They believe, like I do, in keeping things until they fall apart,” Hahn said.

“Anything I can get on to the
machine, I can try to fix it.”

Hahn said her love for the
water flowed from growing up in a landlocked city.

“I have loved the water since day one. It’s a wonder I’m not an Aquarius. The feeling I get from the water that I try to get from the woods is just not the same,” Hahn said. “I need to see the
horizon and immerse myself
in the waves.”

Her passion for the water coupled with her straight
stitching fingers from a young age led Hahn to a life of outdoor
gear repairs.

“When I was 11, my grandmother took me downtown for sewing lessons from a Polish woman. I remember her saying, ‘do it until you do it right,’” Hahn said. “I have sewn since that day. I love working with my hands and putting stuff together.”

Hahn said she is into passing on the art of making things. She intends to hold sewing lessons during the winter and will have private lessons if desired.

“The coolest thing about the sugar glider sail is that I can build every part of it. I knew who to contact to get the cloth, the window material,” Hahn said. “I love seeing people on the paddle board and giving them joy.”