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.”
- 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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I only got 26 minutes of the Pati Palmer podcast! Hoping that you will upload the rest please!!!
Hi Loriann, Thank you for alerting me to this issue! I’ve corrected it now. You should be able to hear the whole show. I’m sorry about that!
Thanks Abby! I listened to the rest of the episode this morning. I’ve been following Pati Palmer since the 80’s and recently had a chance meeting with her and Marta at Montavilla Sewing in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I was taking a dress fitting class with Aneka Truman from Made To Sew (British Sewing Royalty) and introduced Aneka to Pati. What fun to see two sides of the pond interact!
Thanks Abby for interviewing Pati. It was fun to discover more things about her sewing life!
Yay! Thank you for hanging in there, Loriann!
Abby: such a great interview with Pati Palmer! I listen to all your podcasts but this one was great, with so much history. Well done. Pati shared so much and I felt like I was right there talking with her too.
That’s great to hear, Teresa. Thank you for listening.
Hi – I tried to delete the cut-off episode and re-download … but it was still 26 minutes.
Hi Kristin, It can take just a few minutes for my host to communicate with iTunes. I hope you’ll try again!
I was just reading the McCall’s article and saw the podcast button. I found your interview with me. I’m sewing so I decided to listen to it for the first time since it was recorded. I must say this is the best interview I’ve ever had. You did your homework in order to ask great questions and you are so comforting with your guests. It was like hearing about my journey through the years in the sewing industry. I’d love to share it with the University of Rhode Island students because that is where I’ve donated my pattern archive and garments I’ve made from my McCall’s patterns. I’d also love to put a link on the Palmer/Pletsch website. There are a couple other universities using Palmer/Pletsch patterns in classes and they may also love to share a link to this. You have such a lovely voice and manner. I so enjoyed doing the interview. So glad I got to listen to it, even though I was there! Thank you. Pati
Hi Pati, Great to hear from you. Thank you so much for these kind words. I so enjoyed talking with you for this episode! You’re welcome to post the link and share it, and if you need anything further please reach out!