On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a business in the sewing industry with my guest, Pati Palmer.

Pati is the driving force behind the Palmer/Pletsch publishing company which has published dozens of sewing books and how-to DVDs and creator of eight Palmer/Pletsch sewing notions products, including PerfectFuse™ Interfacings.

Pati has been designing for the McCall Pattern Co. since 1980, and Vogue prior to that. She has written the guide sheets for over 250 patterns that include fit and sewing tips. Palmer/Pletsch workshops are offered in several cities around the country. Pati is so excited that her daughter Melissa Watson is following in her footsteps, joining a number of talented young women new to the fashion sewing industry.

Pati teaching an early fit class.

It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to talk with Pati and learn about the sewing industry and how she built her career. We begin the conversation with Pati talking about her household growing up and moving a lot. Pati was the Montana state debate champion in high school which she says prepared her well for her later career. She learned to sew in 4-H.

After getting a degree at Oregon State Pati went on to work as an educator for the Armo interfacing company and as a buyer for a major department store, two experiences that taught her the skills she would need to start her own business with Susan Pletsch whom she met along the way. Pati talks about three important turning points in their business that took things to the next level for Palmer/Pletsch and each story is really wonderful! I hope you’ll tune in to the podcast to hear her tell them.

Pati and her daughter, Melissa, demonstrate the tissue fitting method.

Pati also talks about the tissue fitting method which is a signature method for fitting patterns that Palmer/Pletsch revolutionized. One thing I really admire about Pati is her willingness to embrace change, including technological change. She is blogging now and enjoying social media and has brought her company into the internet age with grace, along with her daughter, Melissa Watson’s, help.

Pati wanted to add one additional point after our interview. “What is most unusual about Palmer/Pletsch is that we brought in other talent to work with us. Most “sewing stars” are the company. In our case, we told retailers and consumers that, say, Karen is as good or even better than us. And it became true…I never wanted Palmer/Pletsch to go away and therefore I realized I couldn’t be Palmer/Pletsch.”

Pati recommends:

  • Going to pilates
  • sewing even in a small space (she recently downsized and is now using a small room in a townhome as her sewing studio)

Keep up with Pati and with Palmer/Pletsch on their website and on Facebook.


This episode is sponsored by Cheryl Lynch of Cheryl Lynch Quilts. Cheryl started quilting in 1992 and is an award-winning quilter and published quilt designer. She enjoys devising solutions for creative projects. Her most recent innovation has been Mini Mosaic Quilts that are suitable for young and old as well as novice and experienced Quilter. Cheryl sells her kits and projects in her Etsy shop. She is offering While She Naps readers and listeners a 20% discount. Just use the code whileshenaps at checkout to save!


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