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Pati with Andrea (@duchessofcloth on Instagram) and Peggy Mead from @sewhouse7, a Portland indie pattern company.

Here’s more about that outfit I wore to Frocktails, the Portland, Oregon, event that brings together sewists to show off their skills and exchange Instagram handles. In this photo I’m with Andrea (@duchessofcloth), in pink, and Peggy Mead from @sewhouse7, a Portland indie pattern company. (Photos courtesy of Clutch and Josephine’s Dry Goods.)

Retro Palmer/Pletsch Raw Silk Jacket

I talked about the rayon print flared pants in the last blog. The jacket I wore with it is made from a vintage Palmer/Pletsch pattern McCall’s 3589. The fabric is raw silk. I had apple green and a caramel color. I decided to make both in the same pattern. You’ll get to see the caramel-color jacket an upcoming blog.

You could use our vest/jacket pattern M7695 if you have it. (It just got discontinued.) It is very similar in shape and style. In fact, I shortened the the vintage jacket 4”, which is close to this pattern.

I will share with you a few things I learned making this jacket. I sewed with a size 12 and added a little width at the hips. I have a gap in the back armhole so I added a back shoulder dart. Then, since I am narrow in the shoulders, I trimmed the front shoulder to match the back.

This technique is used when the back armhole gaps whether you have prominent shoulder blades and/or a slightly round back. In The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting you will find this on pages 141 and 142. I didn’t add to the outer edge of the back armhole because I have narrow shoulders.

The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting page 141

The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting, page 142

I fused interfacing to both upper and under collar and to the front facing.

I made test samples to see which interfacing(s) I’d use. I always sew a seam, press it open and trim and grade. The seamed sample I selected for the front facing interfacing will be used to test buttonholes. I tested PerfectFuse Medium and Light and chose PerfectFuse Light, which clings well to textured surfaces.

interfacing tests

When I sewed my buttonhole test samples, I also cut them open. They did not look good in this loosely woven fabric when cut open. Palmer/Pletsch traveling educators in the 1980s started a practice of leaving the buttonholes uncut if the garment would always be worn unbuttoned. That’s what I decided for this jacket—to wear it open, with buttonholes uncut.


I decided to add patch pockets so I fused interfacing to the pocket facings. I stitched the pockets in place with edge- and topstitching.

One of our Certified Sewing Instructors, Ivonne Gutiérrez, from Puerto Rico, invented an adhesive seam guide that I just applied to my machine. It is fabulous! The color-coded lines are easy to see and the corner turn feature helps you stitch at the same width on both sides of a corner.

Sewing With Color seamguide

Sewing With Color seamguide 

The guide comes with instructions in both Spanish and English. You can order directly from Yvonne or from the Palmer/Pletsch website. You may think this would be low-cost because it is paper, but remember that inventing a new product often requires hundreds of hours in testing to fill a need, writing instructions, and having it printed, cut and packaged. After using this stitching guide, I’d pay twice the price. Love it! Thank you, Ivonne!

Sewing With Color Label

An Alternate Bottom Look

McCall's No Side-Seam Pant pattern M7415
M7415 Cropped No Side-Seam Pant in rayon batik print with elastic waist

McCall's Palmer/Pletsch pattern M7415I wanted another, “more conservative” bottom to wear with the green jacket. I decided to use a subtle batik rayon print and the narrower view C pant McCall’s 7415. There is only one pattern piece for a no-side-seam pant.  The guidesheet for this pattern also includes fitting tips.

I cut the size that was closest to my hip measurement plus 1” for ease. If the fabric were knit, I might take that pattern piece that is the front and back all in one and fold out a tuck down the middle of the tissue to make it 2” smaller than my hip. If it were still too large, I’d take more out and recut one side to reduce width.

My waist is larger than the pattern size. For a no-side-seam pant, the only way to get more waist width is to straighten the center front and back seams and leave out the side seam darts. Works for me! I also added an elastic casing to the top of the faced waistline pant. I know I usually need more front thigh width so I added to the front inseam for “insurance.”

altering the pattern

Alteration in tissue to accommodate a wider waist.

Also see page 141 in Knits for Real People for more on sewing and fitting a side seam pant.

page 141 from Knits for Real People book

Knits for Real People book

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Gail Catron

    I use the slacks pattern. Sourced for fabric, please. Thanks. Gail

  2. Pati Palmer

    For the no-side-seam pant I used a blouse-weight rayon. I bought it last year at a store that is now closed. What are you looking for?

  3. Carolyn

    Why not leave off buttonholes and buttons, too, if you’re not going to use them? I don’t think they’re very decorative, but others may disagree. It’s true the jacket would be awfully plain without them, but there are other choices: jewelry, a fabric flower or flowers or other flower-like decoration or some sort of trim. I like to wear scarves and have many, some plain and some not so plain, and I like how they look with jackets I’ve made that have neither buttonholes nor buttons.

  4. Anne Casey

    Wow, Frocktails has certainly spread across the globe! Portland is a long way from Melbourne, where it started in 2013. Last year’s event, the 90 tickets sold out in 30 minutes! I’m looking forward to this year’s, the Saturday after Melbourne Cup Day (which gives those of us who are always slow a free sewing day).

    Sydney has run one for several years now, and Perth will have their first this November.

    I hope the Portland organisers acknowledge the original event in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

  5. Pati Palmer

    Yes, the organizers talked about Frocktails originating in Melbourne at the opening of the first Portland event. It is such a great idea. Leave it to the Aussies to create a great party! FYI, I love Australia and have great memories of people, places, and events. I’ve been there 18 times to speak at Stitches ‘n Craft shows. I was the first speaker at the first ever show. But my last trip was two years ago to attend my daughter’s wedding to a lovely Australian man from Port MacQuarie. When in Sydney, after the wedding, Sue Neall arranged a dinner for me and a number of sewing instructors. It was lovely. And when in NYC last Christmas visiting my daughter, I had dinner with a couple and their two sons from Melbourne. I knew their parents very well and attended the Melbourne Cup with them. It was a lovely reunion. Thanks for mentioning the founders of Frocktails. I am interested if it has spread to other cities here or around the world.

    1. Carolyn

      There’s a Frocktails event planned for Asheville, NC (I think I have the city correct) soon — or perhaps it’s already happened, according to the owner of Folkwear. Check out the website for more — and correct — details.

  6. Janice Buckner

    I’m loving your blig posts! I’m a home ec grad from North Dakota State University-BS 1966 and MS 70. I have all of your early books and am thinking I attended one of your seminars. I was Univ of Idaho State Extension Clothing Specialist- 1971-76, then returned to Fargo to teach at NDSU. I LOVE reading how you adjust your patterns and the sewing detail!!

    1. Pati Palmer

      I worked with a woman both while designing for Vogue then McCall’s who went to North Dakota State about the same time. Karen Burkhart, but I don’t know her maiden name. She was amazingly well trained and we loved to work on product improvement together. Nice to hear from you.

  7. Rosalie P.

    I love the 3589 pattern and have made both the dress and jacket, probably 10 or more years ago. I made the jacket in silk doupioni (with crepe skirt of matching color) for a wedding and did not add buttons/buttonholes; I lined it in Bemberg. So glad you reminded me of this pattern. Found it in my file and will make the jacket again

    1. Pati Palmer

      So fun to hear about your outfit! Thanks for the comment.

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