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Read the first two issues of our new e-magazine!

The first issue features our three winners.
Click here to open the PDF.

The second issue features the distinctive jackets made by
five of our honorable mention entrants.
Click here to open the PDF.

Note: You might also enjoy past issues of our other
e-magazine, Fashion for Real People. Find them here...



Congratulations to the winners of our 2012 contest!


Final judging took place in February for the 2012 
"Best Rendition of a Palmer/Pletsch Pattern"
Judging was based on overall appeal, fit, and construction.
Forty-eight people entered 83 garments, which kept our judges very busy!
We are pleased to present our First, Second, and Third Place winners below

Our first place winner is Cennetta Burwell,
from the Chicago area, who took inspiration from the
seaming details in Melissa Watson's jacket pattern M6294
to create a stunning jacket with beautifully matched stripes
and contrasting piping. Cennetta won our workshop prize.


Second place winner Nancy Robertson, inspired by Kate Middleton, used pattern M8461, an out-of-print pattern from 1996, to make a classic shoulder princess-seamed tweed jacket with Ultrasuede used in the collar, bound buttonholes, and elbow patch. Nancy won a $100 gift certificate.

Third place winner Maryann Lundin converted pattern M5767 into a hooded houndstooth jacket for her daughter-in-law, Sarah. The lining is a brilliant red print, with a darker lining in the hood. Maryann won a $50 gift certificate.


There were so many wonderful garments that we decided to announce ten honorable mentions, too. Congratulations to these ten people on such good work! And thank you to everyone who entered this contest. We'll be showcasing all the entries in several issues of Fashion from Real People.
Janice Aston for her navy wool crepe jacket (pattern 5597) and pants made with a gray rayon/silk fabric from Donna Karan (pattern 5239) Mandy Bengeyfield for the romper dresses she made for her daughter Sophie (Melissa Watson pattern M6331) Lisa Cederoth for her copper-colored silk dupioni suit (Melissa Watson pattern M6294) Barbara Eckman for the "class jacket" she made to attend her 35th Reunion at Princeton Ande Jackson for her high-fashion batik jacket (pattern M6329)                              

Barbara Matthews for her beautifully-constructed swing coat combining a brown Pendleton wool with a diagonal plaid wool.(pattern M5984) Mary McCarthy for her jacket made from teal silk a friend brought back from Hong Kong (out of print pattern M 4657) Marsha McClintock for her jacket with a detachable lower portion (Melissa Watson pattern M6294). Susan Pfaff for her purple wood tweed jack (pattern M5984) and caramel-colored wool pants (pattern M5239) Sydnee Watson for her hot pink jeans jacket embellished with metallic embroidery and crystals (out of print pattern M5191)  

We asked our three winners to tell us about their motivation and their response to winning:
Cennetta Burwell says:

It is such an honor to be selected as winner of the Palmer/Pletsch  "Win a Workshop" contest.  Entering the contest, I knew there would be many talented sewists. So at best I hoped for an honorable mention. Thank you. To the other contestants, I would like to celebrate you and encourage you to keep making beautiful clothes and to share your experiences with the rest of us.

Pati and the Palmer/Pletsch family, this was such a great opportunity to challenge myself.  I'm grateful and am excited about coming to meet and learn from you.

It is my desire to continue to encourage sewing. Maybe home sewing will make a fierce come back. And just maybe more schools will add it to their curriculum. 

About me -- I come from a family of sewists.  My grandmother (father) designed and sewed all of her clothes. My mother's family were expert quilters. So thanks to them, sewing is in my blood. 

Much of what I know was learned reading sewing books and magazines. Now, sewing blogs, forums and clubs are my greatest teaching tools. The only formal training I have had was a six week course in grade school. Today I am a proud member of the Haute Couture Club of Chicago and American Sewing Guild - Chicago Chapter.  By day, I work for the University of Illinois as functional support for Electronic Research Administration. Most days I can't wait to get home to do something creative.

More on my sewing can be found at:




Nancy Robertson says:

What I love most about sewing is that it gives me complete control over the look and fit of everything I wear. It's easy to go online and fall in love with a thousand-dollar outfit from a top designer. But since I started sewing six years ago, I've learned to recreate almost any garment or handbag I want for a small fraction of the cost. During the past year or two, I've also learned to incorporate more of my own details into sewing patterns through draping and flat pattern drafting.

For me, the most challenging aspect of sewing is garment construction, especially the construction of tailored jackets, and I'm still learning. Fortunately, I discovered the Palmer/Pletsch Jackets for Real People book a few years ago, and I've used it on every jacket I've made. I've also found it very helpful to be part of the online sewing community, and I participate on as nancy2001.



Maryann's daughter-in-law

Maryann Lundin says:

When Pati Palmer announced the ďWin a Workshop - Best Rendition of a Palmer/Pletsch PatternĒ contest, I decided to enter a coat I had planned to make for my daughter-in-law. I had been procrastinating on the coat and this opportunity gave me an additional goal to strive for while creating something my daughter-in-law would enjoy. But above all, my reason to enter the contest was based on a personal goal: to challenge myself to create a garment I would be completely satisfied with.

Everything came together beautifully. My daughter-in-law, Sarah Lundin, was instrumental in the success of this garment, providing a wealth of design ideas as well as always being available for fittings. I am more proud of this coat than anything else Iíve made. Reflecting back on why this is the case, I realize itís due to three aspects of the creation process.

The first aspect was how I came to view the fitting process as part of the entire sewing process. For the past few years I have been increasingly focused on improving my garment fitting skills, but I have long viewed fitting as a necessary evil and could not wait to begin sewing on the fabric. I took to heart Patiís comment that 25-30% of construction time will be spent fitting the garment. Once I got my mind around this, it was easier to focus on fit. By accepting that 25-30% of the time will be spent on fitting, I found myself more excited about the fitting process that Iíd long disliked.

The second aspect was the design process.  Designing is a process that can create feelings of anxiety, anticipation, and frustration. But this process is also what generates such excitement about the garments Iím creating. By accepting that I would have all those feelings while I designed and redesigned, I was able to immerse myself in the project more. 

The third aspect was the construction process. I am the more comfortable with this aspect of the creation process than any other, but I was able to challenge my design and construction skills by adding many couture details to the garment. The addition of the many intricate details to the lining elevated my overall sense of accomplishment.

I submitted my photos with a feeling of satisfaction and patted myself on the back for a job well done.   And I thought that was the end of it, as I had achieved my personal goal.  Imagine my surprise when Pati notified me I had won third place! Winning not only validated me as a sewing professional but also reaffirmed for me that focusing on fit as the first step in garment construction is time very well spent.  Now I canít wait until the next contest!


And Pati says...
We were so impressed with the garments you entered. Thank you! We learned a lot in the process of reviewing the entries, and reading not only the construction details, but also the the stories that went with the garments. In the future we'll give you more guidance on what makes a good entry. For example, since we're judging fit, among other things, we need to see the garment ON you or the person for whom you are making the garment. Make sure you really show us how your garment works for you, by using a good camera, posing in a setting that doesn't compete, and making sure the lighting is good and the resolution of the image high enough for good reproduction. Let us see the front, back and side view. Tell us your process and include photos. We'll have examples in Fashion From Real People over the next few months.
To see what Palmer/Pletsch patterns are currently available, visit our pattern pages. To see a workshop schedule, visit our workshop page...




























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