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PATI PALMER IS IN THE NEWS 
 
  

 
 

 

Pati Palmer has been teaching sewing for 37 years. After being an educator for the Armo interfacing company and a department store buyer and home economist, she conducted seminars throughout North America and Australia for 15 years. She traveled 26 weeks per year before establishing the Palmer/Pletsch International School of Sewing in Portland, OR, where she now trains consumers and sewing educators.

Pati is the author of 10 sewing books and editor/publisher of 20 more books and 11 how-to videos and five DVDs and creator of eight Palmer/Pletsch sewing notion products. From 1980 to the present Pati has designed and written instructions for more than 220 patterns for The McCall Pattern Co. Prior to that she designed for Vogue.

 

Pati and her daughter Melissa were featured in the August 2009 issue of SQE Professional

To download a pdf of the article, click the cover.

 

 

 

 

In July 2008 Pati was the American Sewing Guild 2008 Hall of Fame Honoree at the annual conference in Chicago, as well as keynote speaker.

In 2011 she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals
 

30 Years Designing for The McCall Pattern Company

What do John Molloy, Family Circle Magazine, 1980, and Pati Palmer have in common?

Family Circle editors approached Pati to write an article on sewing blazer jackets for women in 1980. At the same time, she was designing the innovative 8-hour Blazer, her first pattern for The McCall Pattern Company. By pure coincidence, at the same time, John Molloy's Dress for Success was a best-seller, telling women that if they wanted to get ahead in the corporate world, they needed to dress like men. 

Malloy doesn't know he thrust a new licensee for McCall’s into a spiral of successes.  There were no blazers for women at retail, so women sewed them, but women entering the workforce had less time to sew. Palmer’s new, faster tailoring methods and new technology in fabrics resonated with those women.

Timing is everything. The average pattern in 1980 sold 1500 copies a month. Her pattern sold 20,000 copies the first week, 40,000 the second week, 60,000 the third week---over 120,000 the first month and by year end, one million…more than any pattern in history.

This year, Palmer celebrates her 30th year with McCall’s and is their 2010 #1 licensee. To celebrate, McCall’s is introducing for Fall 2010 the New 8-Hour Blazer, even more innovative than the first, focusing on the latest technology in shaping fabrics and in fitting today's female figure.

                                                         BUY THE PATTERN...

 

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Check out this story about Pati and Marta and the 2014 Stitchery & Sewing Expo in Puyallup
 in the Martinez News Gazette --   http://martinezgazette.com/archives/12539

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This story about Pati and her two interns appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of the Oregon Stater Alumni Magazine. This can also be viewed as a PDF...

For more about interns Amanda Grisham and Nicole Ognibene....see the online Oregon State University Synergies page.

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Sue Hausmann, in her blog, says:

"Pati Palmer was honored for her years of sewing inspiration as the 2008 inductee into the Sewing Hall of Fame. A good time was had by all. Pati also spoke at one of the luncheons and it was great to hear how she got started in the sewing industry and to see some of the garments she created years ago and see some of her early publications. Do you remember sewing with double knits and Qiana?? Pati and I do!
 

OREGON BUSINESS MAGAZINE FEATURES PATI...

Local Designer Leads Sewing Revolution

March 2010

When Pati Palmer went to Oregon State University in the early 1960s to study home economics it was the cusp of the women’s revolution. Soon the cool girls would have little to do with sewing and the domestic arts as their generation left the home and moved full force into the workplace.

As that revolution rolled on, Palmer set about making her career in sewing and building over the next four decades a mini empire. She and partner Susan Pletsch started Palmer/Pletsch Inc. in 1974, designing first for Vogue Patterns and then in 1980 switching to the McCall Pattern Company. There they created what would become the best-selling pattern in McCall’s history. Tapping into all those cool girls who were now working women and needed a uniform, they designed a pattern for an easy-to-make blazer that sold 1 million copies in one year.

In 1985, the partners started the Palmer/Pletsch School of Sewing in southeast Portland to teach sewing and train teachers. Pletsch left the company in 1986 and Palmer went on to build her business, which now includes the school, book publishing, pattern design, traveling seminars and sewing workshops. Known as McCall’s “fit expert,” she remains its top-selling designer. Her sewing books (she is the author of 10, editor/publisher of 23) have sold more than 3 million copies. She also produces how-to DVDs and is the creator of eight sewing accessories. She recently was inducted into the American Sewing Guild’s Sewers Hall of Fame.

At its peak, her company and her late husband’s Italian ceramics import business, La Vita Vera/Mamma Ro, grossed about $2.5 million. But the retail expansion of the Mamma Ro stores went bust  and Palmer/Pletsch took a hit as fabric chains began to fade in the early 1990s. Now revenue is about half of that peak, and Palmer’s staff for both companies is small — herself and three others. They are a soup-to-nuts operation, doing everything from shooting their own video for the DVDs to taking photos for the books, to doing their own boxing and shipping. Whatever it takes.

Palmer has an impressive sewing room that spans the third floor of her elegant home in the West Hills of Portland. Equally elegant in her trim blondeness, the 63-year-old industry leader has always lived in Oregon, unusual because New York is the center of her industry and the home of McCall’s. But her guiding principle has been fashion for real people and real bodies, not Manhattan X-rays. “The advantage of me being here and designing for McCall’s in New York is that I know what’s going on,” she says. “When you are with real people, that’s how you see things.”

Palmer is very real. An instant girlfriend, she is genuine and passionate about where her industry is headed, despite the ups and downs. She’s stitched together the ceramics and publishing parts of her operation with the publication of a new cookbook, The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner by Liz Edmunds, which features the Mamma Ro products. “These two companies are very compatible,” she says. “They are going in the same place.” That place is focused on web sales for both companies, leaving behind the fickle brick and mortar.

Palmer is gratified to see interest in home sewing growing again. She says it began to pick up about five years ago with quilting leading the way, and the recent recession has also boosted the industry. Then there’s the Project Runway effect, a reality TV show that debuted in 2004 and shows no signs of fading. Each season, young and bright-eyed contestants compete with each other to create the best fashion designs with hopes of getting launched as a designer. “The fashion schools are full of 20-somethings sewing now,” Palmer says.

Younger women have so enthusiastically embraced the ancient domestic art that sewing lounges are sprouting up around town, like Seam Divas in Vancouver, Wash., a place that offers warm support and a hot cup of coffee along with learning the craft.

Welcome back, cool girls.

ROBIN DOUSSARD

http://www.oregonbusiness.com/articles/82-march-2010/3068-sewing-circle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palmer/Pletsch Publishing - 1801 NW Upshur Street Suite 100 - Portland, Oregon 97209 - Orders 1-800-728-3784 - Fax: 503-274-1377  -  email:info@palmerpletsch.com