After designing and writing guidesheets for over 350 McCall’s patterns, I was invited to design for Butterick. Including Vogue, this is the third brand for which I’ve designed. This spring my bestselling McCall’s designs were moved to Butterick with new photography. You can see them all on our website.  Then in August my first two new patterns debuted, a blouse, here, and a jacket, which you’ll see in an upcoming blog.

Palmer/Pletsch Butterick shirt pattern B6856

My first new Butterick design is B6856, a very wearable blouse with many interchangeable details. You can find it on the Palmer/Pletsch website or online at Butterick. It’s exciting that my former guidesheet writer/illustrator, Pamyla Brooks, is working with Butterick now. We make a good team!

The process of designing for Butterick is different than for McCall’s. My team needs to provide a croquis of the style along with specifications, select and buy the fabric, and sew the garments for photography. In the past, McCall’s did all of this because there was no way I could do 12 designs a year beginning in 1980. Now, I will accept lots of help!


Melissa in trench coatEnter my daughter, Melissa Watson,  here in her newest trench coat, McCall’s 8246. I taught her a lot growing up. Now she’s giving back! She drew the croquis in Adobe Illustrator—not one of my talents. She has great taste and color sense. She selected the silk fabrics for these cover blouses and swatched the views on the croquis.

Then enter Helen Bartley, Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor and now lead teacher for our Portland, Oregon, workshop location. She also is author of our new book, Fit and Sew Custom Jeans (available October 2021). Helen also has her own business, Seam Diva’s Sewing Lounge.

book Fit and Sew Custom Jeans

Even though she was madly trying to finish the book, she offered to sew the blouses. Here she’s wearing one of the blouses and of course jeans. The photography blouses are sewn in a size 10 and I’m a size 12. Darn! She deserves to own them after sewing all three in slippery silk AND they fit her! She did an amazing job.

Helen shares a few thoughts on sewing a detailed blouse in silk.

Designer Tip“If you prewash silk, you won’t get water spots if your iron happens to drip or you get caught in the rain. Dip the yardage in cool water for about 5 minutes. Roll in a towel. Then lay the yardage over a rod or over the side of a bathtub. When it’s almost dry, iron to dry completely.

“Fusible interfacings made the details much easier to sew. I did a lot of hand basting. It might not be popular, but it worked better than pins.”

Sewing the Blouse in a Rayon and Cotton Fabric

I just finished sewing this blouse twice. This one is from a lightweight woven rayon and cotton fabric.

Pati in blouse

I cut the pocket tabs, front band, neckband, and back yoke on the bias for added interest—and a bit more challenge.

back yoke closeup

PerfectFuse Sheer interfacingBoth Helen and I say that you can’t sew the details in squiggly fabrics unless you fuse interfacing to stabilize them. We generally fused to both layers of the bands, tabs, cuffs, and flaps.

We both used PerfectFuse Sheer and cut with the lengthwise stable grain in the direction of the buttonholes. I fused the outer yoke with the grain going across to keep it from stretching. I cut the yoke facing on regular grain with no interfacing.

Follow instructions on the back of the package insert.

I cut out the View C back and sewed the unusually deep pleat like this one.

back view of B6856 blouse with deep pleat

In my fabric it hung strangely, flaring out at the hem. Helen’s silk has more weight and draped beautifully. I recut my back, eliminating the pleat.

I wanted to sew shirts I could wear with the six pairs of jeans I’d sewn while editing Helen’s jeans book.

All the details in these three blouses are interchangeable. I decided to maximize the details by putting as many as I could into my first shirt. I like a challenge!

B6856 line art

I included all the tabs—both epaulettes (View B) and roll-up sleeve tabs. I decided the box-pleated bust pockets (View C) with the shaped flap would camouflage if I don’t wear a bra. All this meant sewing 12 buttonholes and sewing on 12 buttons.

I graduated from the 3-hour shirt to a 3-day shirt.

The clincher detail was the traditional sleeve placket. I must admit I’ve never sewn the “house with the chimney” placket. I think if I sew this again soon, I’ll be good at it.

close-up of sleeve placket

The instructions in the Butterick guidesheet are good. I’d suggest using fusible interfacing on the placket piece and tracing the lines from the tissue onto the interfacing.

After Helen sewed the three shirts in silk, she suggested moving the vertical lines of the placket opening box closer to each other by 1/16” on each side. Then the placket will easily cover the underneath layer.

I did a lot of marking with tracing paper: pocket and flap positions, and buttonhole placement lines. I used snips to mark the center back on all pieces and the cuff foldlines.

Pin the pockets to the front over the curve of a ham since they are placed over the bust. It makes the pocket a little larger than the under layer so it will be smooth on your bust. Position the flap the same way.

Quick TipButterick Palmer/Pletsch B6852 shirt patternDon’t shy away from this pattern because of the traditional sleeve placket. Instead, just use the “painless placket” sleeve from our blouse pattern B6852. The sleeves are interchangeable.

Marta Alto invented the “painless placket” in the 1970s. We show it in our book Mother Pletsch’s Painless Sewing.

I stopped doing any other kind of placket.

The sleeve seam becomes the placket opening. It is super easy!

the painless placket

fitting help in the guidesheet

Fit TipBe sure to tissue-fit. Try on the tissue. What you see is what you get. I did my usual square shoulder and sway back alterations. Common alterations are shown in the guide, a sample of which is shown here. I added a large-neck alteration for the first time. Pamyla, who has been doing my guides for a long time, commented she hadn’t seen that one before in a Palmer/Pletsch guide. The neckband hugs the neck. It’s easy to increase the size for a larger neck.

tab position on sleeveI didn’t check the sleeve length because I don’t usually change it on a shirt. Bad advice. Always check everything. Mine is a bit long, but I decided it just looked more expensive and couture! The cuff is a bit too big around. I’ll check these things in the future.

I like the sleeve rolled up to just below my elbow. I sewed the tab first. Then I pinned it to the placement line on the pattern. I rolled the tissue and pinned the tab in place. When I slipped it on to see where it landed, I lowered the tab placement marking about an inch. It is perfect.

Pro Tip

marking buttonholesI carefully measured the center line on the band and the length of the buttonholes using a chalk wheel and a ruler. I purchased this ruler from Pamela Leggett at It has white lines on one side and black on the other. Use the side that shows better on your fabric.

ooops! Buttons are sewn to the inside.

Buttons are sewn on. Oops, what is wrong with this picture?

I love to do handwork when watching television, but sometimes it causes mistakes like sewing the buttons to the wrong side of the band. I had to laugh at myself and redid them with a smile!

The Second Shirt—a Rayon Batik

My second shirt is made from a rayon batik fabric.

Pati in B6856 blouse sewn in a batik fabric

sleeve detailI took a “details vacation” by eliminating the cuff and placket altogether as well as the epaulettes. I cut a 4” hem allowance on the sleeve so that when rolled up, the inside would be finished. It sure saved a lot of time!

On my first shirt, I did a French seam on the sleeve to encase the seam allowances. It looks tidy when rolled up.

patch pocket detail

I loved sewing this batik fabric. It was a good quality and easy to sew. All the details pressed well. I saved time by sewing all the tabs, pocket flaps, and cuffs so they were ready when needed.

I always read the guidesheet instructions. It keeps me on track. It made sewing all these details a no-brainer! Yes, I follow the guide, even those I write! It really helped, especially when I got to that fancy placket (for which I didn’t write the instructions).

Pati in her batik blouse B6856Happy Sewing!

Pati Palmer

P.S. Thank you Linda Wisner, design director, Palmer/Pletsch, for designing and posting this blog. And to Ann Gosch for editing.



Check the back of the envelope for yardage. I prefer to see the finished garment measurements for bust and hip on the back of the envelope, but if they are not, they are printed on the pattern tissue in those locations.

B6856 envelope back


Helen Bartley will be teaching a new 5-day blouse sewing workshop in Portland/Vancouver on March 24-28, 2022. Our goal is to help you master the details. We think it is a way to improve all your sewing. The 2-day or 4-day fit workshop will be a prerequisite. Check our website for details —

This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Alexandra

    I have been on the fence about this pattern but you just sold me on it. I’m gonna get it! Plus I already have B6852 and if I can interchange the sleeves… why not! I also got Melissa’s trench coat pattern. I think it’s a classic and you can’t beat that is part of the Palmer / Pletsch pattern collection. Love all of your patterns. I wished every single pattern was written with the tissue fitting instructions. It makes a huge difference when it comes to fitting.

  2. Nirmala Dillman

    The new blouse pattern looks wonderful. Helen was giving me some fit tutoring online during the time that she was working on the blouses. I felt as if I was following along just a bit. Anyway, I am excited about this new pattern and hope to be able to join you sometime soon in Portland for classes.

  3. Elaine H. Fritz

    I like the neck style of this shirt it lends a more “dressy” look for a top to wear with slacks and jeans. Your lovely model is thin and the front hangs well but, for mature women who may have more of a “tummy”, I would like to see pleats or gathers where the front joins the yoke, as an option. Perhaps that is addressed on the inside sheet. I like the pleat in the center back but, perhaps, not quite so deep.
    I notice you do not show body measurements on the envelope and it would help to know how much ease is built into the pattern for fitting purposes. Perhaps that, too, is on the inside sheet.
    I have made your 3-hour blouse many times but have never been able to finish one in that length of time, regardless, I have been very pleased with the results. Thank you.

    1. Pati Palmer

      I’ve been on a roller coaster. Sorry I took so long to respond. I want to suggest if you do a full bust alteration, you can transfer the horizontal bust dart to the shoulder and turn it into pleats or gathers. We show how in our Fit Guide. I keep promoting the finished garment measurements be printed on the back of the envelope. They are printed on the tissue in the area of the bust and hips. I always passed consumer requests on to McCall’s and will be doing the same for Butterick. Pati

  4. collette youse

    great designs

  5. Elaine

    I really love this blouse pattern. Pati, you really look great in both versions – I especially like the rayon batik view with the pocket detail and Helen’s silk blouse with the pleat at the back. Thank you for the placket tips as well as the other tips and techniques you shared. Always enjoy reading your blogs. I’m looking forward to receiving Helen’s Jean book and tackling a pair of jeans for myself. That will be quite a challenge for me!

    1. Pati Palmer

      Thank you. I am really enjoying it with my jeans! We are in the middle of the first jeans workshop. The jeans book is in Tacoma but we were air shipped three copies for the six students to share while they sew. It is a huge help in teaching. Congrats Helen! Have fun sewing the shirt and jeans! Pati

  6. sally

    Oh how I would love to attend this on my birthday too, except I live half way round the world! If you ever come to Australia I will be in …. just sayin’ lol Love your patterns and have your books. This shirt pattern is my next buy after we escape lockdown!

    1. Pati Palmer

      I used to do the Stitches shows in Australia. My daughter even modeled in the fashion shows when she was four. She is now married to an Aussie! Love it. Pati

  7. Chantal Lapointe

    I would like to congratulate Melissa for the outstanding trench coat pattern. I am in awe of this style and ran to buy the pattern as soon as it came out. I love her attention to details!

    1. Pati Palmer

      I need to get her pattern and sew it!! I just realized her blouse M7904 also has amazingly beautiful details. Helen Bartley, author of Fit and Sew Custom Jeans, pointed out the details during the Blouse workshop going on right now in Portland. The V-shaped back yoke, the 4-button wide cuff with an extra long traditional shirt placket, uneven lengths on front and back etc. I have the pattern and am also going to sew it!! Thanks for the suggestion! Pati

  8. Joan

    I really appreciate reading all your tips about this pattern; it looks like a really good one!

  9. Judi

    Love it and happy to see you’re back in action!!!


    Beautiful pattern.

  11. linda d

    I love this blouse pattern! Makes me want to sew my clothes again. Like so many, I gave up because of fitting this changing, fluffing, mature body and went to quilting. Still look at patterns in fabric stores though. Thank you for all the work and tips!

    1. Pati Palmer

      To all of you who took time to read the blog and to respond. It make doing them worthwhile. Thanks again all! Pati

  12. maggie deegan

    Pati, another winner of a shirt, I love the flattering v-neck look and relaxed fit in front. Can’t wait to make it in some wild fabric. You look good as a super model.

    1. Pati Palmer

      You are so kind. I hope after this pandemic is long gone we will see you in Portland again. Pati

  13. Joan

    Great pattern, Patti: a very flattering neckline and blouse (and you look so trim)! Thank you for the motivating blog — I always enjoy them.

  14. Susan James

    just could not get the neck band to fit the neck edge. tried at least 4 times, even cut on bias. no luck. it just does not fit. very dissapointed as i do love the look of the pattern. any suggestions? i just put it all away. could it have been my fabris? used a polyester crepe

    1. Pati Palmer

      I’d love to see the neck band on your body in tissue. I could maybe see what alteration you could make. You could send photos with your thoughts to Slippery polys can be a challenge as well. Pati

  15. janie everheart

    Patti, love reading your blogs and all the good tips! Wish I could attend the workshops, but I live in Texas, the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and your workshops never seem to be in our area! Boo hoo!! Please consider bringing your wonderful workshops our way! I have ordered the new jeans book and am looking forward to receiving it.

  16. Robyn

    You look absolutely fabulous. The pattern is nice and your selection of fabric is great. Shirt tails don’t
    work for me but I can even off the hem for sure. Love the tailored sleeve cuff also.

    Love your blogs but never often enough.

  17. Sarah Powers

    Dear Pati,
    I will definitely get your new pattern. I have every one of your patterns and every book, including the originals from WAAAY back in the early 70s (love the black and white photos of you and Gail with 70s hair). It was the thrill of my sewing life to meet you at the American Sewing Guild National Conference in Atlanta.
    Thanks for all you do. You are still looking great and doing everyone such a great service by giving us so many options for each pattern and so many details on how to fit correctly and sew with ease. Love those fitting lines!

    1. Pati Palmer

      I’ve been on a roller coaster ever since last fall. Finally catching up. Thank you for sharing how our paths have crossed. And for the compliments on the blog. Makes the time writing and sewing well worth it. Pati

  18. Susan James

    wonder why my comment / question was not addressed?

  19. Dorothy A Steward

    You are looking good in the blouses.I purchase two of the patterns and sent one to my grand daughter,will be sewing this pattern in the near future.I really like the style of the peach color one on the envelope. Love you books also very helpful.

  20. Dar

    So Good to see your work Pati! Always one of my Favorite sewists!

  21. Pati Palmer

    Thank you all for such nice comments. I do love this blouse and hope you will too. If you take the “details challenge” take your time and enjoy the process of each one. Be sure to fit as you sew. Pati

  22. Pamela Leggett

    This new pattern is a winner! I recently got to fit several Palmer/Pletsch attendees during their Sew-Cation at Pamela’s Patterns Studio. I can’t wait to see their finished projects. I need to start one of my own soon!

    Thanks for all the handy tips and tricks from your blog. I love that you highlight the importance of checking everything!

    1. Pati Palmer

      Just off the roller coaster and back to reading blog posts! Always nice to get comments from one of my favorite sewing stars! It makes blogging more worthwhile. It takes so long to write these!!! No complaints though. I Hope your workshops and classes are going well. Pati

      PS Everyone can find Pamela’s workshops at and her other classes at

  23. Helen Harris

    Hello, my name is Helen and I am trying to make this blouse but am not sure what kind of material to use this time because the material I used the last
    time didn’t look very good. I am having a lot of trouble deciding what to do with the color because I have blouses of all colors and think this time I would
    like to try another color because of where I would ware it.

    I am going to try a black and white mixed material this time, because of where I would wear it and also I don’t have a blouse of that color. I hope I can get it made soon.

  24. Dr. Lorna

    I have cut and sewn the neckline on this pattern 3 times and it simply does not stitch on well. The instructions and pictures in this area of the pattern instructions are not clear. What am I doing wrong? Can we get some pictures on this?

  25. Pamela A Jacobs

    I have been familiar with these patterns for years and love the attention to the learning process.

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