By Pati Palmer with Helen Bartley

I created 10 jeans patterns for men and women for McCall’s since 1980. So how is this new Butterick jeans different? There are actually two patterns, B6911 for misses sizes 4-20, and B6912 for Plus sizes W20-W38. Together they accommodate a hip size range of 30.5” to 63”.  Both patterns have two leg widths (slim and straight leg) and two rises (at the waist and barely below). The patterns are available
at our website and at

Butterick Palmer/Pletsch jeans pattern B6911 line art

The other difference is that jeans connoisseur and Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor Helen Bartley has since written a jeans book for Palmer/Pletsch! She has studied jeans since she was a teenager and knows more about jeans than I could ever imagine. So, while she was writing, I sewed seven pair to learn her techniques and become a better editor for her. We also offer a digital, searchable flipbook at

View the tutorial on that site to see the advantages of a digital flipbook.

She wanted pocket bags with a bottom fold for less bulk and uses techniques and a sewing order that allowed for fitting-as-you-sew. Most important, she provides a new way to select your size based on your fabric and your personal preferences. She’s even found a way to adapt tissue-fitting to tight jeans made with stretch denim to tissue-fitting. Who would have thought?

The guidesheet for my new Butterick patterns is based on Helen’s book Fit and Sew Custom Jeans. I highly recommend the book for the most complete jeans fitting and sewing education. The guidesheet credits Helen’s book for the use of its copy and art. Refer to the book if you need more in-depth help. Get the spiral binding so you can open it flat. Or purchase our flipbook version to keep open your your computer.

Pati Palmer demonstrates wrap test for denim fabric


Here I am doing a “stretch test” to find the finished hip measurement for my fabric. In other words, how tight can I wear this fabric and be comfortable? I am stretching my fabric around the fullest hip, using a double layer to allow for pockets and seams. I will look at the finished garment measurements on the back of the envelope to pick my size. This amount of fabric measures 37” so I will use the size that has 37.5” as the FGM, which is a size 12. 

Butterick Palmer/Pletsch jeans pattern B6912 finished garment measurements


Page one of the pattern guidesheet shows you how to determine size and how to prepare the tissue so it won’t tear when you have negative ease. Adding a “chunk” of Perfect Pattern Paper will allow you to try on the tissue even though it is smaller than you are, so you can check the crotch.

Butterick Palmer/Pletsch jeans pattern B6911 guidesheet page 1

Page 3 shows techniques and sewing order that allows you to fit.

Butterick Palmer/Pletsch jeans pattern B6911 guidesheet page 3

In the book you can see us fitting several different body types (men and women) in tissue and fabric. Follow along to “hear” Helen as she thinks out loud in the captions.

Fit and Sew Custom Jeans book page 80

We fit the men in our other jeans pattern B6840 jeans. It is not a men’s pattern, but when you tissue-fit, what you see is what you get. Alter accordingly.

Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Pattern Paper

We also show you the steps for tracing a PDF pattern onto tissue.

Our alteration tissue Perfect Pattern Paper comes with two sheets of gridded tissue 40” X 85” tissue in a package.

Or, use Pamela’s Pattern Tracing Fabric, a nonwoven fabric that you can write on and tape to, allowing you to then alter with Perfect Pattern Paper

tracing a PDF pattern information from Fit and Sew Custom Jeans book


hidden button fly placket from Fit and Sew Custom Jeans book

Try out a hidden button fly placket. Helen, author of the Fit and Sew Custom Jeans book, has filmed a video for you. Go to and search for Palmer/Pletsch hidden button fly. At PalmerPletschVideo you’ll find this wonderful sewing tip and other creative video resources to help your learning journey. 


Our next blog is about fitting a plus size woman in a super stretchy denim.

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Visit our workshop pages to find your sewing vacation.


Helen loves playing with design mods when making jeans. Chapter 8 in Fit and Sew Custom Jeans will give you lots of ideas and below are two photos of one more— she has widened the legs for a full flare—an easy thing to do

Helen Bartley in jeans with flared leg

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Deborah Del Nero

    I just finished the book yesterday. Like all Palmer Pletsch books, it’s comprehensive yet easy to understand. Well done, Helen and Pati!

  2. Robyn

    Hi Helen,

    I loved your book and this is a great blog. I will see you in July at camp but will try to come to a jean workshop too. Love the
    flare jean. But then everything looks good on you. I love the fit of Pati’s jeans too, again great fit is the answer.

    See you soon.

    1. Pati Palmer

      We look forward to seeing you in a workshop again!

  3. Cathy

    Using the fabric to measure your hip size makes so much sense. Brilliant!

  4. Pati Palmer

    Thank you! The years of working with Helen to produce the jeans book was worth it! Appreciate your evaluation! Pati

  5. Barbara Gibbs

    Good afternoon, Ladies — I took the jeans workshop in April and believe that it is worth the money and time! My next challenge is to make jeans from non-stretch denim (I’m not a fan of stretch fabric generally, nor of stretch denim in particular). It will be a little while before I can get to the non-stretch version, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying those from the workshop. And the book is great! Using it, I feel confident that I’ll be able to complete the next pair of jeans, and that they will fit when I’m done.

    1. Helen Bartley

      Hi Barb. Your jeans turned out great. The new patter B6911 is going to be great for your non-stretch, but you should be able to use the other one, too. Just add to you side and inseams. xo, Helen

  6. Victoria

    Can this pattern be used for non-stretch denim?

    1. Helen Bartley

      Hi Victoria! Absolutely. Use the guide sheet or the Fit & Sew Custom Jeans book to learn how to choose the best size for your body AND your fabric. Have fun.

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