Meet Nancy Zieman

February 5, 2014

SeamsUnlikelyBookCoverLike it or not, your smile is your ticket through many doors. A smile is the universal symbol of happiness, contentment, encouragement and kindness. Think about how your smile has affected your life. Hasn’t it opened doors, swayed decisions, made new friends and quelled uneasy situations? What if you had half a smile? Do you think it would have made a difference? Do you think things would not have been so easy?  Would you have been able to put your best foot forward and ignore the stares and faces of wonderment?

Imagine trying to accomplish what you have done in your lifetime with half a smile. Then think of what Nancy Zieman as accomplished. When you look at Nancy what do you see? Do you see the relaxed side of her face that is the number one thing that’s searched for on Google? Do you see a self-made woman? A terrific mom, a joyful grandmother, a treasured wife? Do you see an expert seamstress? Or do you see a famous television personality? At first glance, you see all of these things. But what you don’t see is the courage it has taken to get where she is. You don’t see the pain she has endured during many lonely years with countless health issues.

You don’t see the responsibility of growing a business from her basement to a chicken coop to a building complete with offices, warehouse space and a retail outlet. You don’t see the drive, determination and sheer genius of growing a business from demoing in front of small classroom into streaming 30 years of her PBS television show into the living room of millions of Americans. You don’t see the family struggles that occur when you grow a business from one part-time employee to 100+ employees while raising two young boys.

You don’t see what she has endured through the years – first having the courage to step out and follow her dream. And all that with half a smile.  When I look at Nancy, I don’t’ see the relaxed side of her face. In fact, I never remember which is the ‘good side and which is the bad side’. I see her beautiful smile, the twinkle in her eyes and the sheer genius that lies behind that façade we call a face. l see a loyal friend and a mentor. I also see a shy young school girl who has beat all odds to build a life that stands above many.  Read Seams Unlikely to learn how she’s done it.

And, please follow along on each stop of the Seams Unlikely book blog tour to learn even more about Nancy and show your support for her. Plus – there are giveaways! Click on the February 4th blog posting, listed below first, and comment on Nancy’s blog for your chance to win your own copy of Seams Unlikely.

February 4          Nancy Zieman

February 5          Eileen Roche

February 5          Pat Sloan

February 6          Melissa Stramel

February 6          The Long Ladies

February 6          Tori Thompson

February 7          Amy Barickman

February 7          Melissa Mora

February 8          Shari Butler

February 8          Vicki Christensen

February 9          Carolina Moore

February 9          Kate Mclvor

February 10          Amy Ellis

February 10          Melissa Mortenson

February 11          Ilene Miller

February 11          Liz Hicks

February 11          Rachael Pannepacker

February 12          Bill Gardner

February 12          Elizabeth Evans

February 13          Amy Webb

February 13          Lindsay Wilkes

February 14          Gertie Hirsch

February 14          Veronica Philips

February 15          Jenny Gabriel

February 15          Laura Wasilowski

February 16          Frieda Anderson

February 16          Rita Farro

February 17          Cindy Cloward

February 17          Joan Hawley

February 17          Patty Young

February 18          Nancy Zieman


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about how Nancy has inspired you. One lucky comment will receive a $125 gift voucher courtesy of Bunnycup Embroidery to spend at!


The winner of last week’s assignment:

Tell us the last place you found inspiration for a monogram. One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Deborah Jones’ Beautiful Lettering Made Easy. Good luck!


And the winner is…Elaine C- “I have done mostly 3 letter monograms and prefer them. I like to do different things with them like different shapes and fonts. I like to do monograms for couples with the sir name initial larger in the center. Your single monograms are beautiful and inspire me to experiment with the colors.”

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Related posts:

Designer Handbags by Nancy Zieman and Eileen Roche
Stitched Style Blog Tour
Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

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53 Responses to Meet Nancy Zieman

  1. Melinda on February 5, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I’ve enjoyed Nancy’s Tv’s shows for many years. When I started to learn to quilt, she was the one I turned to. I tape all her programs to make sure I don’t miss them! Keep up the great work for many more years.

  2. Heidi on February 5, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I watched Nancy 25 years ago and recently started sewing again after I retired. I now watch her programs on PBS and continue to pick up valuable ideas. I think her inspiration is from her doing what she clearly loves to do. This gave me the sense that I should continue to pursue what I love to do.


  3. janice on February 5, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I’ve been watching Nancy ever since she has been on TV. She made beautiful items and she made me feel that I could do it also. Just take each step at a time and I could do it. They didn’t all turn out like Nancy’s but the thing is “I did it”. Thank you

  4. nancy in IN on February 5, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Nancy’s tips and hints have helped me for years. I love to watch her as she breaks steps down to be doable.

  5. Savannagal on February 5, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I’ve learned so much from watching Nancy’s shows. She makes everything look so easy and encourages me to give it a try. I’ve learned about techniques and tools that I never knew existed, like twin needles, or being able to sew stands of beads onto a project, or putting something other than plain thread onto a bobbin. She has opened up a world of design opportunities for me. I hope to meet her some day to say thanks in person. She really is wonderful.

  6. Dawn Frisch on February 5, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve been watching Nancy for years and years and I must say that she has been an inspiration to me! Not only has she inspired me to do better at sewing but at life too! I’m disabled and by watching her show, I’ve been able to overcome the “I can’t” and make them into “I cans”. I can’t wait to get her new book – I have a lot of her books and I love to collect them. They all are a great resource for any sewing library!
    Dawn Frisch
    array-dawn at cox dot net

  7. Jan on February 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Nancy has inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone both in real life and also when sewing something I think of as difficult. Don’t look at the sewing project as a whole, but just take it one step at a time and before you know it, the project is finished.

  8. Rochelle Malone on February 5, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Nancy has inspired me in so many ways, from when I had my child and making her clothes I learned so many techniques to quilting and now machine embroidering. It seems that she gives me inspiration when I’m feel like I can’t decide what I want to make and then so many great tips on how I can do something either better or easier. I’ve seen her for over 20 years and have enjoyed all her shows and meeting the many talented seamstress thru her. Thanks Nancy for sharing your many talents via public television.

  9. Donna N. on February 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    She inspired me to get back to living. I got Bell’s palsy by a bad orthodontist that overloaded a joint and did damage. I tried to become a recluse which was hard with 2 small children. One day my mom calls and tells me to watch this lady on tv that does sewing demonstrations. She said I looked like her (I don’t at all) because of my Bell’s palsy. After several years of watching her I had become so engrossed in her sewing that I forgot she had Bell’s palsy and then it finally hit me I could continue with my life too.

  10. Barb Wilson on February 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    You are so right Nancy has such a beautiful smile, I too never even notice any more that it is a little crooked.

  11. Shirley Jobson on February 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I would watch Nancy on Saturday mornings – and don’t anyone or anything interrupt me while doing so!! I learned so much about sewing clothing from watching her shows that when I read a pattern I could see how Nancy would do it or remember part of a show I watched.
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of her amazing story!!

  12. Jessica on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I love Nancy’s instructional books- esp. machine embroidery books!). She just looks knowledgeable and has a teacher quality that is unmatched. She inspires me to try new things and spread my wings…Nancy is simply the BEST!

  13. Karen Poole on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Oh my gosh, where do you begin with someone who has been such an inspiration! I have been watching Sewing With Nancy for years! I love her shows and her tips! I have learned so much by watching her shows and by watching videos on line! I have also purchased several of her books so I can have the information readily available in my library. Her books and instructions are always so clear and concise and easy to understand! I especially love her Serger books and all of the purse templates and patterns! They are so simple but so elegant! She knows what people want but knows how to teach it in a way that is not either to difficult or too dumbed down! The first few shows I noticed her facial deformities but after that I just never notice! Hooray for her for being such a strong women!

  14. Shirley Clark on February 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I have always admired Nancy Zieman for as long as I can remember. I had the privilege of meeting her January a year ago at a Babylock event nearby.
    She did 2 lectures, and we were all just spellbound the whole time. She is such a lovely and personable lady. It was a wonderful weekend!

  15. Mary Ann Genre on February 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I appreciate all the information Nancy has shared with us over the years and the fact that she has made her shows available to us on her website in partnership with Wisconsin Public Broadcasting. Nancy – you are a jewel! Thank you.

  16. Gwynn McKenzie on February 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Nancy will be in my area this summer and I can’t wait to meet her in person. She has inspired me to strive harder in my sewing and crafting. Thanks, Nancy for all you have done.

  17. Ellen Perry on February 5, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Love her show and I have learned many things

  18. Lisa Roberts on February 6, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Nancy’s shows have inspired me for many years. I ve learned many techniques by watching her demonstrate on TV. Allso introducing us to alll of your sewing friends have shown us many different projects. Thanks Nancy for the inspiration.

  19. susan james on February 6, 2014 at 5:57 am

    I havr watched the program for 25 years. love it and I am inspired to sew many of her projects .I tape it every week and watch reruns as they are presented. its something new every time.

  20. Donna G. on February 6, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Nancy’s been a huge inspiration in my sewing. I’ve watched her shows and read her books and always find new ideas and tips!

  21. Jennifer P on February 6, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Nancy’s was the first sewing show I ever watched on Saturday mornings and so many of her tips have been added to my sewing routines. The pin and pivot seems to be the most used lesson I ever learned from her show as well as how to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate for my daughter’s scoliosis. She is truly an inspiration to all of us!

  22. judy Williamson on February 6, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I DVR her programs so if I want to save it after I watch it, I can. I have gotten great ideas from her programs. She is an inspiration to watch.

  23. Susan Burns on February 6, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Nancy has inspired me to keep on continuously learning, and to not be afraid to try new things.

  24. linda staiger on February 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I found nancy back when I was newly married in the late 70’s and all I had to sew with was a treadle machine I bought at an auction. I have been a follower ever since. Thanks for your help nancy.

  25. Betty Woodlee on February 6, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Nancy is truly a person to model your life after. She has continued to grow her business and her successes are amazing. She has inspired me to get back to my quilting.

  26. Rosalyn on February 6, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I don’t even notice Nancy’s crooked smile. I am too busy listening and watching to her explain different sewing skills.

  27. Machelle on February 6, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I have learned so much from Nancy! I learned to sew at a young age from my mom,who happened to be a home ec teacher. My grandmother had a few things she published in the eighties for me to read as resources, then she was on or local PBS station. I still have some on VHS(yes I am that old)Even though I had amazing teachers in my family, Nancy was always very clear with instructions and usually just as i was thinking of a question, she would say”now you may be wondering…’ and answer the question I was thinking about!

  28. venita on February 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I love Sewing With Nancy show. Have watched it for years. Once I was in Wisconsin and I accidentally stumbled across her store and was so excited. I bought fabric and pattern for a sweater knit vest. I still wear it.

  29. Maryanne Perry on February 6, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I am a full-time Director of Religious Education, and anyone who has had full-time program responsibilities knows how difficult it can be to separate home and work duties. Nancy’s inspiration has helped me focus my non-work time to honing my sewing, machine embroidery, and quilting skills. My sewing time has become my prayer time, and Nancy has helped me feel guilt-free as I feed my own soul by creating gifts for those I love.

  30. Mary Haggenmaker on February 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Nancy has been an inspiration to me for many, many years. I watched her on TV for years until they stopped broadcasting in my area. Just found out I can watch her show on her website. HOORAY!! I will be reading her book whether I win it or buy it.

  31. Mary Haggenmaker on February 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Melissa redirected me back to here. Anyhow Nancy is a wonderful example of courage, grace and determination.

  32. Denice Weys on February 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I learned basic sewing from my Mother but it wasn’t till I stumbled across Nancy’s shows on tv that I learned to expand my skills and explore the many creative things to be done with sewing and really make it a craft. Nancy has a real gift for teaching her good humor and good nature shine through. I allways look forward to what’s new and further inspiration.

  33. Barb on February 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I started watching Nancy years ago when I became a stay-at-home mom. To economize, I sewed my children’s clothing. Nancy helped me improve my skills so I could be proud of my sewing. I returned to the work world later and still followed Nancy as I started quilting for relaxation. I’m retired now and never miss a show. With Nancy I can still keep growing and learning!

  34. Cathy Dixon on February 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Love the show I watch the show when I’m in Florida for 3 months, we don’t have the show in Maine, wish we did and I go on line to see what is new. You make me feel I can make anything.

  35. Shelly Christensen on February 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I have always been impressed with how confident Nancy appears and I hardly notice the crocked smile, she doesn’t let it define her why should I!! I have wished I would be as confident as she!!!

  36. Barbara Giamportone on February 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I’ve loved her show for sooo many years. She’s given so much of herself to help us improve our sewing, so I say a big thank you, Nancy.
    The first time I saw her in person was the time she was giving a fashion show in Port Huron, Michigan & we had about 4″ of snow. Good thing I had a 4 wheel drive SUV. It was great to see her as even at that time I had some of her books. I even bought an identical one for my DDIL & Nancy signed it. How great it was to see my idol. I had taped many of her shows. We can’t get her show here in the middle of nowhere here in Georgia. Boo Hoo.

  37. Rosa Smith on February 7, 2014 at 1:17 am

    I have watched Nancy for years and have learned so much from her shows and her books. Her shortcuts and how to work in sewing in 10-30 min helped me run a profitable sewing business for years. She is so interesting and helped me find easy ways to do things I dreaded like zippers. She is an inspiration to us all. I haven’t been able to find her show here in Vermont lately and I miss it.

  38. Debe on February 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I have learned so much. I used to buy her books & rent the videos way back when I couldn’t get her show. Technology is so wonderful… now I can watch her whenever & keep on learning.

  39. Alice Beers on February 7, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    My husband surprised one Saturday by bringing home two Sewing with Nancy videos from the library. You have to understand that that was a long, long time ago. (Smile) I have been a loyal supporter of her show, her books, her patterns, and all things Nancy. I have learned so much from her and she has been my inspiration for sewing for my family to learning to quilt and machine embroider. Thanks Nancy and I love your smile.

  40. Betsy on February 8, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I have I earned so much through the years with Nancy. I still record her show and I continue learning.
    She is a model if inspiration

  41. Lisa Marie on February 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    My MIL first introduced me to Nancy’s Notions and to Sewing With Nancy. Since my MIL was a home ec major in college, I figured it was a recommendation worth listening to. I am inspired by Nancy to learn new sewing techniques — and now that I’ve read book previews, to overcome obstacles!

  42. Beth R on February 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I have been inspired by the variety of projects that Nancy has undertaken over the years. It seems nothing is off-limits to try, and she finds all kinds of new techniques to handle the difficulties!

  43. Mary Nelson on February 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I stop whatever I am doing on Saturday mornings to spend a half hour with someone who feels like a friend. There are so many things that can be said but where does not start. I have many hours of watching and re-watching her programs that inspire me to continue in a quest for sewing fun and pleasure. Hoping for many more years of instruction and inspiration!

  44. Donna F on February 10, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I have been watching and learning from Sewing with Nancy for years. I love the show I have the app on my Ipad and I now watch the show whenever I can. I was watching one recently at the airport while waiting for a flight. The lady next to me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Oh, I love that woman!” LOL

  45. Pat V. on February 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    As someone relatively new to quilting, I have only watched Nancy for a few years. Looking forward to reading how she got to where she is today!

  46. mary martin on February 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

    My grandmother designed my mom’s prom dress back in the 50’s. It was absolutely gorgeous. My mom sewed too and taught me a few things. I wanted to continue to learn so as soon as I saw Nancy’s show I was so excited to find techniques to refine my own sewing. I still watch her show so I won’t forget how to do things I haven’t done in awhile. So far, even after sewing for 37 years, there’s still new things to learn and improve on. I think the day I find out there is nothing to learn will be the day that I die. Thanks so much Nancy for having to courage to start your own show. I love how it has inspired others to share their talents. Hope God gives you many more years to teach.

  47. Carol Kussart on February 17, 2014 at 7:23 am

    I love Nancy’s shows with such practical ways to sew wonderful things. I used to make garments all the time but now I am quilting. She has so much help to offer. I can’t wait to read her book!

  48. Deborah Rhodes on February 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I am watching my library for her book.. Have loved her show and books forever. .

  49. maria elena on February 18, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Way back when I was in High School I took a course at the Opportunity school in Denver, I took sewing, my uncle took English as a second language, there I learned there was a show on TV about this lady named Nancy, at first I could not watch it as I was still in school, once I married and could stay home to raise my babies, I started to watch and LEARN, loved every minute, got inspire to make clothes, then the quilting, then on to heirloom and embroidery!!! Forty two years later am still in awe of her, love her shows, the books and still she inspires me to keep on learning. Thank you Nancy

  50. Jane Holleran on February 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I love watching Nancy’s show each Saturday. She inspires me when a new technique scares me, she always shows you a easier or faster way to do it.

    Her show is the only one I can get in Connecticut and it is from the Massachusetts Public Television station. I save her shows on my TIVO so I can watch the ones I like over and over again.

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  53. […] 5          Eileen Roche 5          Pat Sloan         […]

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