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Palmer/Pletsch was created by Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch in 1974 to self-publish their books. Both were teaching sewing and had just completed their first book, Sewing Ultrasuede Fabric. Together they wrote more books and designed sewing patterns. They were the first to assert that sewing could be “fun, fast and easy,” a phrase they coined in the early ’70s. Susan left the business in 1984 to pursue other projects.
Palmer/Pletsch now publishes sewing, home decorating, image, and craft books by other talented sewing, image, and home decorating teachers; creates videos on those subjects; offers sewing workshops and imports or distributes a select group of sewing-related products.
Founder and president of Palmer/Pletsch
Pati Palmer is “the Fit Expert,” known for creating the Palmer/Pletsch tissue-fitting method, along with Marta Alto. Once the tissue is altered to fit, your pattern is ready to cut.
Under the Palmer/Pletsch umbrella, Pati developed and conducted seminars throughout North America and Australia for 15 years. In 1980, nine Palmer/Pletsch educators taught 900 seminars in North America. In 1985, Pati established the Palmer/Pletsch International School of Sewing in Portland, Oregon, which offers sewing and fitting workshops to train both consumers and sewing educators from around the world. Satellite sewing schools in Philadelphia, Connecticut, Michigan, and the Seattle area also offer Palmer/Pletsch “Sewing Vacation” workshops.
In addition to co-authoring many of the books that Palmer/Pletsch has published, Pati has been an editor of the other titles and is also featured in the videos Fit Pants to YOUR Body, Jeans for Real People, Serger Basics, Creative Serging, and Will This Fabric Work for You?
Pati graduated from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Clothing, Textiles and Related Arts and a minor in Business. Since 1980, she has designed and written instructions for 350 patterns for The McCall Pattern Company, starting with the now-legendary Pati Palmer/Susan Pletsch 8-hour blazer pattern that stunned the industry by selling one million copies the first year. Look for her newest line of patterns in Butterick. Palmer/Pletsch patterns are unique in that the guide sheets include more than sewing, incorporating tips on fitting, design, and pro techniques. The patterns themselves have alteration lines printed on the tissue—all pattern improvements initiated by Pati.
Pati says, “I am thrilled to see so many young people sewing and sharing through blogging and social media. They are enthusiastic and innovative. Time for the 20- and 30-somethings to shine and the rest of us to continue our good work while mentoring them!”
Pati lives in Portland.
Check out this January 2018 article in schmetzneedles.com :
Palmer/Pletsch Design Director
Linda Wisner has worked with Palmer/Pletsch since 1980. Her first project was to design and coordinate the production of the book Sew a Beautiful Wedding by Karen Dillon and Gail Brown. That book was the first one Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch entrusted to someone besides themselves. Linda has been responsible for the design and production of every book since then, along with the look of pretty much everything Palmer/Pletsch. In 1988 Pati brought her on staff as the Palmer/Pletsch design director.
In the early 1990s, when serging was sweeping the sewing world, Linda teamed up with Lynette Ranney Black to co-author Creative Serging for the Home and Other Quick Decorating Ideas. In its first year the book sold nearly 100,000 copies and in 1991 won the coveted PCM award for best book of the year in sewing and crafts. Linda’s background in graphic, interior, and landscape design came together in this book. With Linda’s keen culinary experience and food styling expertise Palmer/Pletsch was able to publish The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner by Liz Edmunds.
Linda graduated from Macalester College with a degree in Theater and Fine Arts, followed by coursework at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota. She then went to work for Macalester in the News & Publications office, which introduced her to the professions of graphic design and publishing. As owner of Wisner Creative, an award-winning design studio and advertising agency, Linda worked with a number of companies in the home sewing industry. Palmer/Pletsch values her range of skills and talent, from design, copy editing, book production management, and promotion and social media.
Palmer/Pletsch General Manager
Without Pati’s brother, George Palmer, Palmer/Pletsch wouldn’t exist! With over 40 years of experience in retail operations, George has brought a mix of retail management and marketing skills to Palmer/Pletsch Publishing. His duties are managing the warehouse operation, controlling inventory and operating costs, plus working directly with our customers. He also is the go-to person for our Certified Sewing Instructors and all workshop attendees.
George received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Portland State University in 1976 with a focus in marketing and management. He worked as a store director in the grocery business before joining Palmer/Pletsch in 1993 to manage the retail side of our sister company, MammaRo’ (Italian ceramic stores). In 2014 George was promoted to general manager of Palmer/Pletsch. He moved the warehouse across the river from Portland to Vancouver, Washington, to cut costs and streamline the wholesale operation.
He enjoys spending time with his wife of 35 years and four adult children and 13 grandkids.
Pati’s daughter, Melissa, specializes in designing modern patterns under the Melissa Watson for Palmer/Pletsch brand for the McCall Pattern Company. She also offers custom suits for men and women through her company Watson Ellis. You can make an appointment at watsonellis.com!
After earning degrees in business and marketing and moving to New York City, Melissa attended Parsons School of Design to further develop her fashion design skills. She spent her early career designing for ready-to-wear companies such as Theory, Ralph Lauren and Faherty Brand; sewing; and dabbling in teaching pattern fitting classes for the next generation of fashion sewists.
All her McCall’s patterns provide fit tips in the guide sheets and alteration lines on the tissue using the successful Palmer/Pletsch tissue-fitting method. For more fitting techniques from Melissa that work with any pattern in your stash, check out her free McCall’s videos at youtube.com/watch?v=ZvzUiIFfFIo
Pati thanks her daughter for spending a year helping us build our new website, designing The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting, and spreading the tissue-fitting message. She will always be a part of the Palmer/Pletsch team.
video “star” • Palmer/Pletsch Portland workshop instructor • book co-author
Marta’s career as a sewing expert began during her summer “vacations” from studying at Oregon State University, when she sewed costumes at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. That led to a job at San Francisco State University teaching drama students how to sew costumes. As a result, Marta learned how to sew without patterns and to fit many actors’ figures.
Marta’s unconventional problem-solving approach to fit and sewing techniques grew out of this experience. Pati used to cringe at Marta’s less-than-technically-correct solutions, but came to appreciate Marta’s creative problem solving, including the coining of new fit terms such as “smooshing out a dart” and “taking a little here and putting a little there.”
After Marta returned to Oregon, she became a custom dressmaker at a major department store. She sewed designer clothing for mothers of brides who wanted a special dress that fit them and for people who wanted outfits out of that wonderful “new” fabric, Ultrasuede. Marta then became manager of the store’s sewing school where she taught both custom and speed tailoring, machine quilting, and many garment sewing classes.
Marta joined Palmer/Pletsch in 1981 and traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia teaching Ultrasuede, fit, tailoring, and serger seminars. In 1986, she became a Palmer/Pletsch corporate workshop educator. Marta is also co-author of the books The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting, Pants for Real People, Jackets for Real People, Sewing Ultrasuede, and The Serger Idea Book, and is the talent in most Palmer/Pletsch videos. She also helped develop the Palmer/Pletsch interfacing line.
Today Marta is mostly retired, but still teaches Palmer/Pletsch 4- and 5-day workshops in Portland. Her videos can be streamed or downloaded from the Palmer/Pletsch sister website palmerpletschdigital.com.
Pati thanks Marta for being an indispensable part of Palmer/Pletsch since the beginning!
Marta Gives Special Thanks
“I can’t believe I have been teaching sewing for 50 years!! I’ve loved seeing my students learn, particularly when they have those aha moments. I truly want to thank all of the ladies who have taken my seminars and hands-on classes and workshops. I learned as I was teaching—especially fit, which has been a continual learning experience. Thanks for loaning your bodies for fit practice!
I have been so lucky to have worked with Pati and to have had the opportunity to travel and teach all over the world. I’ve been to every state in the US, many of them every year for 20 years, as well as many times to Canada and Australia. What a fantastic career!!”
ABOUT OUR OTHER WORKSHOP TEACHERS
Workshop instructor and author of Fit and Sew Custom Jeans
Helen Bartley is a lifelong student of sewing, and her empathetic teaching style is all the better for it. A Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor and corporate educator, Helen teaches the pants, knits and fit workshops in Portland.
Helen is the author of Fit and Sew Custom Jeans, and served as technical editor for the Palmer/Pletsch book Knits for Real People and as contributor, garment sewer and model for that book and the highly regarded The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting.
She has developed and taught many 5-day jeans workshops during the past few years, perfecting jeans fitting and sewing instructions.
Helen studied clothing construction and textiles at Eastern Washington University. In 2008, she founded Seam Divas Sewing Lounge, where she continues to teach classes.
Helen is also a guitarist and singer-songwriter who occasionally performs in the Portland area.
Creator of the Learn to Sew Program, Beginning Sewing Teacher Training workshop, Learn to Sew videos and patterns
Janet Corzatt, at center of photo, has been teaching beginners to sew since 1996. Her background in education and many years in the fabric and sewing industry have come together in a sewing curriculum that has enlightened and inspired many sewing students.Since 2000 she has also been training sewing teachers from around the world on how to use her sewing program to teach new sewing enthusiasts, in both Palmer/Pletsch workshops in Portland and through our home study program Learn to Sew with Janet Corzatt. The skills you learn by viewing her videos will open up the world of sewing and get you started on your way to expressing your own creativity through sewing.
Janet Dapson, Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor, conducts our popular fit workshops in the Midwest.
Having attained the Palmer/Pletsch master level of educational associate, Janet specializes in bodice/skirt/dress/pant fitting and tailoring techniques. In addition to Palmer/Pletsch fit and pant workshops, she offers basic to advanced sewing classes at her specialty fabric store, Fabrications, located in Richland, Michigan, near Kalamazoo.
With a degree in biology, Janet pursued her first career in the biomedical field. Sewing was always her creative diversion and also enabled her to create the professional wardrobe required for her job. She eventually made a career change, turning her sewing passion into a business. After taking in-depth courses with Palmer/Pletsch in Portland, Janet taught sewing at her home and at the local Bernina store for several years before opening her own business. Learn more about Janet at fabricationsonline.com .
Marla Kazell is a Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor and custom dressmaker based in Portland, Oregon. She was trained in couture by Roberta (Bobbie) Carr, author of Couture, The Art of Fine Sewing. Upon Bobbie’s death, Marla became the caretaker of the book and worked with Palmer/Pletsch on its update. Visit her website at MarlaKazell.com.
Palmer/Pletsch East in Connecticut
Pamela Leggett, far left,has been teaching sewing since 1981. Specializing in pattern fitting, knit sewing and fine garment skills, she has developed a fun and informative teaching style that is available in her patterns, instructional
DVDs and at the Palmer/Pletsch Connecticut Sewing School.
One of Pamela’s passions is creating garments that flatter and fit the wearer. Her desire to teach others to achieve the perfect fit led her to the Palmer/Pletsch pattern fitting method, which she has used to help hundreds of women achieve good fit and renew their love of garment sewing. It is with this knowledge that she created Pamela’s Patterns, which have many built-in fitting solutions and adjustments.
Pamela’s Patterns have been reviewed and featured in magazines and online review sites. Pamela is a contributing writer, book author and DVD personality for Threads magazine, an instructor for Craftsy online classes, director of the Palmer/Pletsch Philadelphia and Connecticut workshops, and a national sewing/serging educator. She has also appeared on PBS’s Sewing with Nancy and Canada’s The Shopping Channel.
Pamela’s teaching studio is in Vernon, Connecticut, near Hartford
Learn more about Pamela at pamelaspatterns.com
Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor Nancy Seifert conducts our popular fit workshops in the Seattle area. Nancy began teaching Palmer/Pletsch methods in 2002 and says, “I was hooked! Finally, a method that made sense.”
Nancy has trained with Pati Palmer and Marta Alto at multiple Portland workshops and has been a popular and successful teacher of Palmer/Pletsch pant, fit, and jacket sewing classes in the Seattle area for more than 10 years. She is now working with a Seattle-area retreat center to offer true “Sewing Vacations,” hopefully beginning in 2021.
ABOUT OUR AUTHORS
Lynette Ranney Black
Lynette Ranney Black co-authored, with Linda Wisner, Creative Serging for the Home and Other Quick Decorating Ideas. In its first year the book sold nearly 100,000 copies and in 1991 won the coveted PCM award for best book of the year in sewing and crafts. She also starred in a DVD on the same subject.
In 1996, Lynette authored Dream Sewing Spaces: Design & Organization for Spaces Large & Small. Fourteen years later and 80,000 copies sold, a second edition was published.
A Montana native, Lynette graduated from Montana State University, where she majored in home economics and business. She relocated to Portland, where her first job was with a sewing machine company. Lynette later took the architectural and interior design skills she developed in college to a kitchen and bath remodeling firm, eventually becoming a Certified Kitchen Designer.
Now with a master’s degree, Lynette is on the faculty of Oregon State University as an associate professor for 4-H Youth Development statewide and in Wasco County, Oregon.
After graduating from the University of Washington, Gail took her Clothing and Textiles degree to New York, where she became promotional consultant and later marketing director for one of the largest retail fabric companies. In the early 1980s she began freelancing as a writer and sewing expert. Her byline appeared frequently in a range of sewing publications. She also appeared frequently with Nancy Zieman on Sewing with Nancy and on other television programs.
Roberta Carr & Marla Kazell
Roberta “Bobbie” Carr was the author of Couture, The Art of Fine Sewing. She brought a fashion approach to home sewing. An expert in couture sewing, Bobbie traveled internationally sharing her vast knowledge. She lectured, starred in a number of couture videos, and taught hands-on workshops at her store, The Fabric Carr, in Los Altos, California.
Upon her death in 2008, Bobbie bequeathed her couture book to Marla Kazell, a custom dressmaker in Portland who had attended many of Bobbie’s workshops and became a close friend. As the book’s caretaker, Marla has already done one update. It is a book that remains a classic. Marla also teaches workshops in Portland. Visit her website at MarlaKazell.com.
Winky Cherry is the author of the six books in the My First Sewing Book series of kits, and a teaching manual and two DVDs based on The Winky Cherry System of Sewing. Having taught children to sew for more than 40 years, she believes that hand sewing rewards the child with a feeling of accomplishment and a completed project. Sewing is also a way to learn safety, sharing, decision-making, confidence, and patience. She uses rhymes because they make sewing rules fun and easy to remember. She lives in Tesuque, New Mexico. She is shown here with a very young Melissa Watson.
As her cookbook The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner was coming together, Liz Edmunds’ passion for the importance of family dinnertime led a kitchen-store manager to dub her “the food nanny.” The moniker stuck! Today Liz serves as part teacher, part counselor, part coach for families in need of organizational help and cooking instruction so they can implement a weekly dinner plan in their own homes.
When Liz and her husband, Stephen Edmunds, started having children, Liz set a goal to create a consistent dinnertime with the family, despite her husband’s extensive travels as a pilot. She began implementing her “theme nights” and has been developing and tweaking recipes ever since.
Steve and Liz are the parents of seven children. Their daughter Lizi has now partnered with her mother to run their business. They live outside Park City, Utah.
Learn more about Liz at thefoodnanny.com.
Nan Ides is the author of Hand Mending Made Easy. Being petite, she always had to shorten and re-hem her clothes. Coming from a family who always sewed, she was shocked to learn how much others paid for simple mending jobs such as replacing a button or hemming a garment.
Her teaching experience began when people asked her to sew on a button. Instead, Nan would respond “I’ll charge you $10 to sew on the button, or I’ll teach you how to do it for free.”
Nan’s goal is to teach as many people as she can to do simple mending jobs themselves—to save money and time, and for self-satisfaction. While she has a formal business background, with a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Information Management, she has also been sewing for most of her life. She’s designed many of her own clothes, often finding it easier than altering ready-to-wear. This passion has led her to study with nationally-known designers and sewing instructors.
Learn more about Nan at handmending.com
Marcy Miller combined her 25+ years of business experience, teaching abilities, and understanding of Palmer/Pletsch into the book The Business of Teaching Sewing, co-authored with Pati Palmer.
A native of Aberdeen, Washington, Marcy earned a degree in home economics from Washington State University. Soon after, she and Pati became fast friends. Marcy went on to pursue varied careers and adventures, with sewing always being the “common thread.”
After marrying, Marcy got involved in the teaching of sewing as a business by attending Palmer/Pletsch sewing and teacher training workshops. She is now a Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor and has taught sewing to students in three countries and four states.
Sue Neall, Sydney, Australia
Early in her 40-year career, Sue Neall traveled to the United States and got the opportunity to meet Pati Palmer, and their 30-year friendship has directed the rest of her sewing career. She has taught four-day Palmer/Pletsch workshops and trained teachers throughout Australia and New Zealand. She is the co-author of Knits for Real People and Jackets for Real People with Marta Alto and Pati.
Sue came from a family of pattern makers, graders, designers, and seamstresses. After spending her childhood playing on various garment-factory floors, it was a natural progression for her to attend East Sydney (Australia) Technical College.
Her introduction to knit and stretch fabrics came just after her technical training. With the launch of Knit Wit fabric stores in Australia, the knit revolution generated a resurgence in home-sewing in the Australian market. Sue says everyone wanted to become a Certified Knit Wit, including her! She taught for Knit Wit and then Just Knits stores. After writing her first series of four textbooks on sewing with knits, she became education manager of McCall’s Patterns Australia, training independent retailers to run stretch sewing classes in their stores.
Sue and her husband of 40 years have three children, all of whom are involved in her latest venture: fashion textile tours at sewinspirationalevents.com.au. Sue says that combining her love of sewing and travel into one venture is the culmination of a lifetime of experiences, hopes and dreams.
Nancy Nix Rice
Since 1989 she has transformed women’s lives by transforming the contents of their closets. She also travels across the U.S. presenting workshops on appearance and wardrobe for corporations, professional associations and women’s conferences.
Over her 25-year image career, Nancy was among the first to earn the coveted Certified Image Professional certification from the Association of Image Consultants International. She also edited AICI’s member magazine Image Update. She also trained with the Professional Image Institute in Atlanta, and co-authored (with PII president Susan Bixler) The New Professional Image—Business Casual to the Boardroom.
In her earlier career, in the home sewing field, she managed and owned award-winning retail fabric stores, created a top-ranked sewing school, managed the national consumer training programs for Baby Lock sewing machines, and appeared as a sewing spokesperson on both QVC and the Home Shopping Network.
She continues to write about sewing and wardrobe topics for various sewing publications and to present educational programs for the American Sewing Guild and the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals.
Nancy is available for color and wardrobe consulting and presentations on style and wardrobe development. For more information, visit nancynixrice.com
Susan and Pati met as educators for the Armo interfacing company. When knits became popular in the late 1960s, Armo asked Susan and Pati to work together on a new knits program for all 30 home economists traveling and teaching. In 1974, they wrote their first book together, Sewing Ultrasuede Fabric, followed by Mother Pletsch’s Painless Sewing (1975) and then a redo and expansion of Pati’s first book Pants For Any Body (1976) and finally Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring (1977). All these first books led to the expanded versions today. Susan and Pati designed fit patterns for Vogue 1975-1980 and then designed for McCall’s both writing the guidesheets and initiating product improvements including fit instructions.
In 1984, Susan retired from the company and self-published a book drawing on her experiences traveling to teach called Smart Packing which came out in September 2001. She became the go-to travel expert for newspaper writers around the country about traveling after 9/11. Susan lives in Portland, OR, and Scottsdale, AZ, where she grew up. She graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S. in education. She now goes by Susan Foster.e
FREE HANDOUTS FROM OUR BOOKS AND PATTERNS
Click on the images below to open up your FREE PDF.
A History of How We Developed Our Palmer/Pletsch Tissue-fitting Method
The Preface from The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting
Buy the Right Size Pattern
A guide to selecting patterns sizes.
The Tissue-Fitting Sequence
from The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting