Questions & Answers with Pati Palmer

This is a follow-up to the last blog, Pati Palmer – The Julia Child of the Sewing Industry!

Pati Palmer

What do you consider to be your best personality trait?  
Patience. I am extremely patient and that has been a good thing for my career teaching sewing and fit.



Besides Portland, what is your favorite city to visit?
Probably NYC as I have gone there every year, some more than once, since my twenties. I went as a department store buyer and special events coordinator, as a member of the board for the former Home Sewing Association, McCall’s, and to see Melissa who moved there seven years ago. My favorite trip to NYC was when Melissa was 11 and I’d been teaching workshops every day for 3 weeks. The last day of the workshops wanting to spend time with me, she said, “Mommy, can we go to NYC?”  I thought I’d put her off by saying “Sure, but let’s use miles. You call United and see if you can get free tickets and use points to get a hotel or hotel upgrade.”  Three hours later, she came to me and said, “We have a flight at 11 pm tonight and we are staying at the Plaza.” So we took the red eye and had a ball. We bought our first Designer Barbie at FAO while waiting to get into our room. Also, I wanted to show her this doll-house store. I remember her saying, “Mom, if you really want a doll-house, just buy one.” (How did she know I wanted one as a child, but my parents couldn’t afford one!)



Can you remember the BEST thing you ever sewed?
Yes, a three-piece steel blue Ultrasuede suit for my late husband. He proudly wore it to the Atlantic City gift show and it was stolen from his room.  It was a beautifully tailored blazer, vest and pants. It was also hot fashion in the day!



What’s your idea of a vacation?
Doing nothing but being in a sunny place with about five non-fiction books. What often happens though, is that I take a manuscript to edit. But it is a very relaxing way to do technical editing with no other distractions.


Melissa Watson and Pati Palmer

What advice did you give to Melissa?
Nothing is a risk if you can live with the worst consequences.



What do you do on your DAY OFF?  
Because I am in charge of my own schedule, I work when I want and usually that is a little bit every day, so I don’t really do “days off.”  However, recently one of my authors Nancy Nix-Rice and her husband Rob stayed with us for a week. Nancy had stayed with me close to a dozen times over the 4 years we were producing the Looking Good Everyday book, but we had to check off long lists every day, so we did nothing but work when she was here. This time we played. Took the Mt. Hood Railroad from Hood River, OR to Mount Hood. We even sat on the front veranda of our house which she had never done before. We also walked all over Portland. Had several true days off–in between keeping up with email!


Pai Palmer with her daughter, Melissa Watson

What was the best advice your mother ever gave you?
If you think you can’t win, then you don’t deserve to win.


Pati Palmer

What is your best sewing machine needle advice or tip?
In order to remember what needle I have in the machine, I keep the package out until I put in a different needle. When we were testing needles for knits we found that with ponte knits we could stick with a universal needle most of the time. But when spandex was added to the mix, a ball point needle was better. For ITY poly/spandex knits, the stretch needle was usually best in preventing skipped stitches.

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  1. Anita Havener says:

    Dear Pati,
    I just lost my Schmetz collection of needles for my seven sewing machines and four of the sewing machines when my sump pump quit working. I lost all of my fabric, my other sewing accessories and assundries, my spinning items, my weaving items, my quilting items, my yarn for knitting and crocheting and all of my needles and hooks. I got the numbers from my Schmetz needles, but none of them match the numbers on the website. The needles are various ages, some of them I inherited from my mother when she passed away four years ago. Does Schmetz change the numbers on their needles every so often? How do I know what needles to order or buy to replace the ones that I had? I have a list of the numbers that were on the packages of the needles that I lost in my “flood” if they would help you to help me. I hope that you are able to help me soon so that I am able to start rebuilding “my” room. Right now I am at a lose!
    Also, the website will not let me create an account. Any help with that challenge?

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      Dear Anita,
      I’m sorry for the loss of your sewing supplies. Pati Palmer is not officially associated with She was featured in one of our recent issues of SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW digital magazine. Concerning the list of numbers you have from the SCHMETZ Needle packages . . . are they a four digit number found on the front top left side of the card near the logo? Or are the numbers a 7-digit number from the back top right? If it’s the number from the front, we can help. The numbers on the top right back of the card are the printer’s card identification number. If you contact us via, we will be happy to email you a list of the available SCHMETZ Needles and their corresponding item numbers. Concerning the web site . . . you cannot create an account in advance of an actual order. The account is created in the act of placing your first order. I hope this response helps. Please send us an email at and we’ll email you the aforementioned list.

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