Fitting Guide with Fitting Pattern


The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting book PLUS our Fitting Pattern B6849 Sheath Dress

With this new complete guide to fitting you’ll learn all facets of pattern fitting and alteration to give you the background and guidance needed to achieve a custom fit on any pattern from any company. Then put your new knowledge to work using our Butterick fit pattern, which reflects how we are fitting and sewing NOW! This pattern not only has updated fitting information in the guide sheet but also includes a fashion dress with length and sleeve variations and an optional collar.

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Learn all facets of pattern fitting and alteration to give you the background and guidance needed to achieve a custom fit on any pattern from any company, including the following:

• Take just one measurement for tops and one for skirts to determine the right pattern size. Find out what to do if you are between sizes or a different size top and bottom.

• Make a “body map” with a close-fitting dress pattern to see how you differ from the “standard” on which sewing patterns are based.

• Learn from “real people” examples of a variety of bodies and their individual alterations.

• Use the book’s new “wrinkle dictionary” to identify a needed pattern alteration. Wrinkles point to the problem,” say the authors, and now you can look up the page reference for a solution.

• See how age can affect body shape, from preteen to octogenarian.

• Take note of the latest sewing techniques for garment details that affect fit, such as darts, zippers and sleeves, for enhancing the look of a well-fitted garment.

• Learn basic skills for designing or redesigning for a myriad of variations using the same pattern.

Throughout the book, step-by step instructions are accompanied by full-color photography and a new style of technical art that is extremely clear. Short captions explain each illustration.

As a bonus, the authors detail the evolution of ready-towear and pattern sizing over the past century, along with their own history in pioneering the art and practice of tissue-fitting.

Table of Contents:

The Palmer/Pletsch Fitting Method
History of Pattern Sizing

Fit Facts

Buy the Right Size
But the Pattern Doesn’t Come in My Size!
What About Ease?
Analyze Your Body

Two Ways to Alter PatternsAlteration Tools & Tips
Prepare the Pattern for Tissue-Fitting

Make a ‘Body Map’—Fit a Sheath Dress
Tissue-Fitting Real People

Tissue-Fitting Sequence
Length & Width
Neck & Chest
Waist, Hips, Tummy & Thighs

SEWING ADVICE: Sewing Techniques That Affect Fit
DESIGN: Designing & Redesigning
REFERENCE: The Wrinkle Dictionary



This pattern replaces our classic sheath fitting pattern M7279. We were so excited to launch that one in 2015. Our first fit pattern came out in 1986. This pattern reflects how we are fitting and sewing NOW! The pattern not only has updated fitting information in the guide sheet but also includes this fashion dress with length and sleeve variations and an optional collar.

Pati Palmer, longtime designer for The McCall Pattern Co., has designed this fit pattern with complete instructions on the Palmer/Pletsch Tissue-Fitting Method for dresses, tops and skirts. It teaches fashion-sewers how to fit patterns to their body. It also includes a fashion dress pattern to sew after the alterations have been made for a custom fit.

A dress fit pattern, says Palmer, enables fashion-sewers to make their own “body map” to learn the alterations they require to sew any dress, top or skirt pattern. The need for a new pattern, she says, came from the fact that the fit pattern she designed for McCall’s in 1983 no longer represented much of what she and other Palmer/Pletsch instructors currently teach in their fitting classes. “The previous pattern, though revolutionary at the time, was now only good for the shape of the pieces,” says Palmer, who first designed for Vogue in 1975, “it looked nothing like our new patterns.”

The new dress fit pattern, like all current Palmer/Pletsch designs for McCall’s, is multisize, has alteration lines on the tissue, and includes complete tissue-fitting instructions in the guidesheet. (The old pattern called for sewing a gingham shell and fitting from that, which Palmer/Pletsch no longer teaches.)

McCall’s agreed on the need for a new Palmer/Pletsch dress fit pattern and also wanted it to be a fashion dress to sew after altering. So B6849 is really two patterns in one. Everyone can use the fit pattern to make their own body map to learn what alterations are needed to fit other styles. And then those desiring a fitted dress can go on to make this fashion classic in multiple ways by varying the design details and fabric choice. The fashion dress pattern can be made sleeveless or with various sleeve and skirt lengths. It even includes an optional collar for the round neckline.

Palmer points out that another valuable feature of the new pattern, especially for teachers, is that all sizes 6–22 are in one envelope. There are three sizes per sheet of tissue. This means teachers will not have to guess which sizes to have on hand for their classes.

For hands-on fit classes, check the Certified Palmer/Pletsch Teachers at or attend a 4-day Fit Workshop and the optional Teacher Training in Portland, Seattle, Richland (MI), and Philadelphia.

Dresses have optional collar, fitted bodice, semi-fitted skirt, stitched hems, and invisible back zipper and hemline slit. Designed for medium-weight woven fabrics.

Additional information

Weight 2.3 lbs
Dimensions 11 × 8.5 × .75 in


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