Archive of ‘Nancy Zieman’ category

Will the person with the initials SFN please step forward?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogWill the person with the initials SFN please step forward?  We have a free towel to give you!

Here’s an unusual problem you have probably never encountered:   we end up with some unusual embroidered samples in our offices!  No, we didn’t randomly pick SFN.  This towel has an exciting history.  It was used on the set of Sewing with Nancy!

I was tapped to demonstrate one of my favorite sewing tips in a brief 5-minute segment on Sewing with Nancy. I selected the initials because well, frankly, they’re beautiful! After all, how many ERs and NZs can one embroider? The filming went off without a hitch and now the towel sits in my sample room begging for a more elegant resting spot. And now that it’s served its purpose, we’d love to see it go to a better home.  So if your name is:

  • Sarah Francesca Norris
  • Sally Florence Nicholas
  • Samuel Filipe Nunez
  • Steven Frank Nelson

Or any other wonderful name with the initials SFN, we want to hear from you!  We will ship anywhere in the continental US.  One random person with the correct initials will be selected as the lucky recipient of the towel.  Now you might be asking, how will we verify if you have the right initials?  This will be the honor system.  Besides, how many of us want a towel with someone else’s initials hanging from our towel rack?  Looks a bit suspicious to me! Although it’s not uncommon to collect and display vintage linens adorned with a variety of initials.

If it has been awhile since you’ve reviewed monogramming etiquette and you’re wondering about the proper order for initials—here’s a quick review.

If the embroidered initials are the same size, arrange them:  first name initial, middle name initial, last name initial.

If the middle initial is larger, then it is the last name and should be placed in the center.  first name initial, last name initial, middle name initial.

While these are the standard recommendations, you are welcome to exercise creative license!  Just always be sure to make sure the initials don’t spell something unexpected that won’t be appreciated.

Here are some additional blog posts on Monograms:

Monograms for Men

Lowercase Monograms

Monograms for Today’s Marriages


Monogram of the Month – January 2015

Create a monogram for Nancy Zieman? The stress mounted as I thought about the assignment. I opened EmbroideryWorks™ software and started experimenting.

There’s a unique quality about Nancy Zieman’s initials that I hadn’t considered. Rotate the N and it becomes a Z. Rotate the Z and it’s an N.

I started out with the N and rotated it to create a Z.

Then I started playing with angles. I like the idea of being able to read NZ horizontally and vertically. When I think of Nancy, I think of her beautiful landscape quilts. I added some greenery to the design. This is a built-in design with the software!

When I consider Nancy’s qualities, I think of elegance. The addition of the dots reminds me of pearls and when stitched on pale pink linen it completes the look.

See the letters in a new perspective. Try rotating or mirror imaging the letters to see what happens. Consider the recipient. What embroidery font style suits their personality best? Are there additional design elements that can be added to enhance the design?

I was having so much fun with repetition and pattern, I decided to make a border with Nancy’s initials. I am rather pleased that you can still read her initials horizontally and vertically. The use of the triangles separates the letters and also directs the eyes.

Now you give it a try! Select some initials to work with, open your favorite embroidery software and have fun!

Here’s your assignment this week:
Experimenting with monograms can be fun and rewarding. Share with us one time a monogram you made didn’t turn out quite as planned. Maybe the set of linens to the newlyweds Adam and Stacy Smith wasn’t quite what you envisioned or perhaps your kitchen towels to Mom turned out with a real WOW factor. Whatever the case we’d love to hear about it. One random correct answer will be chosen and will receive a $100 gift certificate to use at the Sewphisticated Stitcher website. Good Luck!
DIME Blog Ad 141121 lg
The winner of last week’s assignment:
It’s a puzzle! How many squares are in the picture below? Leave a comment below with your answer. One random correct answer will be chosen and will receive a $25 gift certificate to the DIME website. Good Luck!
msGlpAnd the winner is…Sue Y. “40” Congratulations Sue – there are indeed 40 squares!


Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine


I never thought I’d write a book on crazy quilting but last spring I was inspired to explore the combination of piecing in the hoop and decorative stitches. It didn’t take much to leap into crazy quilting. After all, what’s not to love? It’s a time-honored technique coupled with today’s technology. Its ‘crazy’ moniker comes from the use of scraps and often includes whimsical embellishments.  Crazy quilting has something for everyone. It appeals to quilters – the piecing part; embroiderers – the use of luscious designs in colorful threads; the thrifty – great way to use up scraps of all fiber types; and the splurger: new charms, buttons, ribbons and other tidbits are just waiting to be included in a crazy quilt block.

Technique-wise, the ‘crazier’ the block, the more tasks involved in completing the block. So in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine you’ll find three levels of difficulty: Level 1 is piecing in the hoop with colorful fabrics; Level 2 includes the addition of accent designs to the patches and Level 3 is where the crazy kicks in with buttons, yarns, ribbons, charms and more.  It’s hard to know when to stop once you reach Level 3.

Level 1

Level 1


Level 2

Level 2



Level 3

If quilt blocks aren’t your thing, then you’ll enjoy three in-the-hoop projects: a wristlet, eyeglass case and small clutch. All small canvases to display your crazy stitches.  The wristlet was just the right size project for teaching on TV with my dear friend Nancy Zieman.


We taped the Today’s Crazy Quilting series on Sewing with Nancy in September and it’s live now. You can watch online here if you don’t have it on your local channel.

When you watch, look for Nancy’s crazy quilt stitched by her great grandmother, Alice Lea Larson in 1920.  Nancy shares her story of this wonderful family heirloom that has been lovingly restored by Nancy.

Although it’s a fun day with Nancy at Wisconsin Public Television, my favorite part of the week is the prep at her office the day before taping.  That’s when we get all of our ducks in a row.  Nancy is a visionary and literally ‘sees’ the taping once she understands the technique that we’re teaching.  She works out the schedule and timing of the telecast while I work on the samples.  Once we have a firm outline, all hands pitch in to finish the samples.  And when 5:00 rolls around, everything is done and ready for tomorrow’s early wake-up call.  CQBlog1

To document my visit to the studio, I had a staff member take some photographs with my camera. When I reviewed the images on the plane ride home, I realized I didn’t have one ‘serious’ shot. Oh no, I had images of smiling faces both on camera and behind the camera! The true spirit of crazy quilting.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

It was well, crazy! Hope you enjoy the Sewing with Nancy series, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. You can watch here.

Don’t just take my word for it, read Nancy’s take on the series on her blog:

Here’s your assignment this week:
Tell us your favorite stitch you use when crazy quilting. Once random comment will be chosen to get their very own autographed copy of Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine by Eileen Roche! Thanks for reading and good luck!CrazyQuilting
The winner of last week’s assignment:
If you had a day all to yourself to spend on a project, what would it be?  Leave a comment and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my latest book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine (to be released January 2, 2015).

And the winner is the Pam C. – “If I had an entire day to myself I would get lost in finding inspiration for my craft. I work full time and even though my kids are grown I still don’t get much alone time. So, to have a day to get lost in thought without any interruption would be a dream. Congratulations Pam!


Nancy Zieman’s Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour

Quick_Column_Quilts_Book_Cover I always say yes to Nancy Zieman because every time I do, I learn something. So when Nancy asked me to join the Quick Column Quilt blog tour, I jumped at the chance. But quilting, hmmm, I admit I paused for a second and then thought, oh what the heck, do it! Here are my top ten tips for getting the job done.

  1. Select the quilt pattern. Thousands of quilt patterns exist so pare it down by going to a trusted source like anything designed by Nancy Zieman. Her Quick Column Quilts is a collection of very doable – and inspired – quilts. The Carefree Column Quilt jumped right at me and I’m glad it did – it was quick and easy. NZQB2
  2. Decide on fabrics. Use everything in your power to make the right fabric selection. Pay close attention to the quilt you’re duplicating making note of the light, medium and dark fabrics.  Look at other quilts for pleasing combinations or go to your quilt shop and seek their advice. Audition as many fabrics as you want; photograph the combinations, edit your choices and finally select the winning combination.  Once selected, stick with your fabric choices. Don’t sway off course; second guessing can be a huge time guzzler.
  3. Get organized.  Print or copy the instructions. As you complete each step, cross it off the how-to instructions. You’ll know right where to pick up after a break in sewing.  NZQB4
  4. Label everything. Even if you think you know how all the pieces go together, label them anyway. Life gets in the way and distractions are inevitable.
  5. Designate an area or box in your sewing room where you can store the materials for the duration of the quilt-making process. NZQB5
  6. Break apart the tasks into manageable time increments. Review the instructions and estimate how long each task will take: cutting, designing, piecing the columns, adding the sashing and so on. Make notations on the pattern to use as a guideline.  These are just guestimates as problems do occur and tasks often take longer than we think they will – at least that’s my problem!  But having an idea of the time involved will help you stay on the project because it’s easy to tackle simple steps once they are broken down.
  7. Group similar tasks together. Cut all the fabrics in one session, piece as much as possible at one time and then move to the ironing board. I cut all the fabrics and stacked then according to size with a label on top of the stack.
  8. Document the process. Once the fabrics were cut, I followed Nancy’s instructions for arranging the blocks on the design wall.  I took several photos of the designing progress as I auditioned the fabric pieces.  I reviewed the different versions on my computer and decided on my favorite. After rearranging the fabrics according to the photo, I labeled the top piece of each column.  I used the photo as a reference guide when a block or two floated out of position. NZQB3
  9. Focus during piecing.  To piece a column, I removed the pieces one at a time, starting at the bottom of the column and placing the next block on top of the stack. Once I moved to the machine, I methodically pieced that row, from the top down and then pressed the seams. Once the pieced column was returned to the design wall, I progressed to the second column.
  10. Enjoy it! Racing through the quilt making process takes all the joy out of it. Savor the fabrics as you handle them, strive for perfect ¼” seams and concentrate on how you’ll use the quilt or who will receive it. Name your quilt – after all, it’s your baby now! My quilt goes by the name of Sun Kissed.  Sunkissed

You’ll notice my quilt isn’t quilted just yet. Oh but it will be!  I have the most ingenious plan and tool for quilting Sunkissed on my embroidery machine. You’ll learn more in a future post. And be sure to visit Nancy’s blog where she will be giving away 15 grand prizes!

Blog tour stops – check out all the stops on the Quick Quilts blog tour!

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman

09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.

09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny

09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                

09/08/14         Jina Barney DesignzLilac Lane Patterns, and Totally Stitchin’ 

09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama

09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan

09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day

09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around

09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio

09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair

09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs

09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Here’s your assignment this week:
Visit any or all of the stops on the blog tour listed above. Comment below about your favorite quilt or technique you saw on the tour. One comment will be selected to receive a copy of Nancy’s book Quick Column Quilts – good luck!


The winner of last week assignment:
After you’ve taken advantage of the great deal from leave a comment below about the three most used items in your sewing room. One blog reader will be selected to receive a $25 gift certificate for use on the DiME website. Thanks and good luck!
Gift-CardAnd the winner is Pamela B. – “Sewing machine, serger, iron, and tool box (it is full of essentials)”

A New Bag – Finale

Here’s the windup on my new bag. After embroidering the corner accents and grommet designs on both bag outer panels, I followed the instructions in Handbags 2, Designer Knockoffs for stitching the grommets on the lining. Now it was time to construct the bag. I used a centering ruler to find the center of the bag front. The long legs of the target ruler hit the grommets at the same measurement so the hole in the center designates the center of the bag. I slid my decorative trim under the ruler and pinned it in place then edgestitched the trim to secure it to the bag. HB_July8-1

I burrowed into my stash of bag-making supplies to find the Clover Shape ‘n Create Bag & Tote Stabilizer. I found a packet and low and behold, it was mere scraps! Ugh! HB_July9-1

But hey, since I can sew this piece to the bottom of the bag, I can probably sew the strips together to make a larger piece. That’s exactly what I did. I placed two strips under the needle, side by side and zigzagged over the joint. HB_July10-1

Then I repeated that for the third strip. Worked like a charm! I wouldn’t recommend this for a laptop bag but for an everyday bag, it works fine. HB_July11-1

I sewed the bottom seam, right sides together and taped the Shape ‘n Create in place. Then I sewed the stabilizer to the bag bottom and added the feet. HB_July13a-1

Designer Knockoffs shares some secrets for successful pressing because pressing during bag construction is crucial for a professional finish. I recently purchased Dritz Thermal Thimbles (heat resistant finger protectors) and loved using them for this task. It seems I’m always burning my fingertips while pressing the narrow ¼” seams open but not anymore! Love those Thermal ThimblesHB_July14-1

With the sideseams sewn, I slipped the lining into the bag and even tucked my phone into the pocket for one last fit check. HB_July16-1

Next step is the grommets. If you read Designer Knockoffs, you’ll notice it calls for headliner interfacing not heavy craft interfacing. The grommets will not adhere to the heavy interfacing like they do headliner. Make sure you use the proper materials. Here’s a tip for inserting the grommets. Use a kitchen cutting board to insert the grommets. Place the prong side of the grommet on a flat surface. Center the hole (on the bag) over the grommet. Place the matching side of the grommet over the hole, connecting the two grommets. Place the kitchen cutting board over the grommets and push down on the board with the palm of your hand. You’ll hear a snap as the board forces the two sections of the grommet together evenly. Give it a try; you’ll be surprised how easy it to force the two sections together. HB_July17-1

I followed Nancy’s instructions for adding a zipper then bound the upper edge and voila! That was fun – I love making bags!



Here’s your assignment this week:It’s an easy one! Just CLICK HERE and Like our Facebook page then leave the comment “Like” below. TWO winners will be chosen to get a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs.Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs
The winner of last week’s assignment:Leave a comment below about what size bag you prefer. Small, medium, large or jumbo-jet size? One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman.Handbags 2 - Designer KnockoffsAnd the winner is… Vicki B. – “Medium – I’m like you – I overload if it’s too big, and it has to have two straps that fit over my shoulder comfortably.”


A New Bag

Nothing puts a little kick in your step quite like a new handbag – especially when you make it yourself. Once or twice a year, I like to dip into my fabric stash and see what I can use to create a new bag. I gather some materials I’ve been hoarding, I mean saving, and see if they would work together. Handbag Supplies - Eileen Roche

I knew I wanted to make another grommet bag from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. I really like the grommets but I also like ready-made straps. It seems the best ones, (right length, width and material -microfiber) come with a ring attached at the end. Grommets for handbag

The ring doesn’t work with the grommets but I wasn’t going to let the closed ring stop me, I have a seam ripper! So I released the stitches from each end and unbraided the strap. It left me with two slits on each end. Hmmm…I placed them on my cutting table for a few days in the hope a good idea would pop into my head.

Modified purse strap

Once my materials are gathered, I take my time and work on the bag over several days (ok, maybe weeks!). This gives me time to think the process through, make some subtle design changes, overcome any challenges and enjoy the whole process.

I start by measuring the bag I’m currently favoring and decide if I want to duplicate that size or make adjustments. I’ve learned through the years, the larger my bag, the more stuff I pack in there. So reducing the space is a good idea for me, less clutter, less bulk, less weight. I decided my new bag would be a bit shorter than my current favorite. Then I cut and interface my outer fabric.

Next, I prepare my four corner appliques by hooping just the faux suede and stitching the Corner App design from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. Then I stash my pre-cut applique pieces in a plastic baggie to keep them safe. While I was stitching the appliques, I turned my attention to the straps.

I was concerned about trimming the straps above the slits as this would make the straps too short. So, I decided to just stitch them closed.

Stitching straps closed

It looked so pretty that I stitched from end to end to make it a decorative detail. I used the triple zigzag stitch on my BERNINA 830. It’s normally a functional stitch but looks great on this strap!

Triple zigzag stitch

On Monday, I’ll show you some speed techniques for embroidering the corners and grommets.

Here’s your assignment this week: Leave a comment below about what size bag you prefer. Small, medium, large or jumbo-jet size? One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman.Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs
The winner of last week’s assignment :Sewing Spoolie invites you to win a Slimline box of fabulous thread along with the pre-digitized designs to make all seven of the Spoolies in Sulky’s Collection #1. These popular sewing-themed designs, from the imagination of Joyce Drexler, are as fun as they are creative. And if you’ve ever tried to keep your stabilizers organized, you’re going to love Sue Hausmann’s bonus project included with the package. The whole package is a retail value of nearly $150 including 22 – 250 yd. spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread, a 475 yd. spool of Bobbin Thread, and a CD with the seven Spoolie designs and bonus project. If you win, it’s all yours from Sulky. Now, go Express Yourself! Leave a comment below on where you would embroider a Spoolie to be entered!blog adAnd the winner is… Karen P – “Oh my gosh!! These are so cute!!! I would stitch them onto a bunch of tote bags that I have that I use for various different things, one is my Quilt Guild bag, one is my Crochet project bag, another has hand embroidery squares that I bring with me while waiting at various appointments, and so on. Plus, how could I resist putting a few of them on a sweatshirt or two!!! Ohhh I hope I won this one!!”



Where’s the embroidery?

As embroiderers we often think in terms of, ‘what will I embroider on this fabric?’ Oftentimes, some fabrics are quite busy and embroidery doesn’t seem possible. But sometimes the fabric is just too irresistible to pass up—like this bright and colorful linen.

You might be asking… that’s a great bag, but where’s the embroidery?

Take a closer look.

The bag was constructed using Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. The bag’s corners are machine embroidered applique. I used a luxurious red suede to coordinate with the print fabric. When Nancy Zieman and I wrote this 68-page book, we set out to prove that machine embroidery can be beautiful but also functional. It can simplify sewing tasks and ensures flawless results. We let the embroidery machine handle the trickiest tasks of bag construction: making four perfect corners and attaching the straps. We also created this collection to give you the freedom to design any sized bag.

Some favorite features of this bag include the details. Never neglect the details—they can elevate an ordinary homemade project to a designer handcrafted project. I used a black zipper rather than one that blended in and I added the tabs at the ends of the zipper.

Black grommets (made by Dritz) were the perfect choice—they are available at most sewing supply stores or online.

When designing a bag—consider a light color for the interior. I chose lime green for a splash of color and because it’s a light color, I can easily find things inside the bag. There’s nothing worse than a black abyss where you have to go ‘fishing’ for your wallet, lipstick or pen!

Remember, ladies, look at embroidery as both beautiful and functional!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Look carefully at the image below. Can you help this clown find his beloved dog?


One correct answer will be chosen to receive Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Good luck!

Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

We’ve showed you plenty of mistakes we’ve made in the past few weeks and asked you to share your stories as well. Now we’d like to know the funniest mistake you’ve ever made! We’ll choose one random comment below to receive a $25 gift certificate to use on the DIME website. Thank you for sharing your stories with us in our Has This Ever Happened to You series.


And the winner is…Marjorie P. “I found out how “strong” my machine was when I embroidered completely a flower head pin. I had to sit and look at it for a while I was so amazed, then I just picked the stitches out backed up the design and continued on. Project saved, pin a complete loss.”

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast Event

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy Zieman's Studio to Your Computer

Learn—Interact—Save—Have Fun!

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your ComputerLive from my studio to your computer on April 26th, join me, Nancy Zieman, for a fun and interactive webcast featuring my Favorite Handbag Sewing Techniques.

If you’ve never participated in a webcast, it’s easy. The day before the event, we’ll send everyone who registered a link to the webcast. A few minutes before your scheduled time, log on. In minutes, you’ll see me live on your computer screen.

Wondering if your internet connection is up to the task? Test your viewing ability by clicking here. This test link is a live webcast from the nest of a bald eagle! It may take a little time to load, but if you can see the eagle and nest, you’ll be able to watch Nancy Zieman Live. (Most of you should not have any issues watching the video.)

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Map


I’ll share my tried and true quick bag making methods along with many all-new never before seen designer bag making tips. You just may become a bag designer after viewing my 90 minute webcast.

  • Learn new strap making techniques gleaned from ready-made bags.
  • See how to turn ordinary fabric into laminated fabric.
  • Be introduced to new fabrics, ideal for bag making!
  • Get the inside scoop It’s what’s inside that counts! Updated tips on how to construct and what to add to the inside of your bag to make it look like a wow bag!

Nancy Zieman Live WebcastInteract

During the webcast, email me your questions and I’ll reply during the webcast.*

*If every question cannot be answered during the live webcast, questions will be answered post-webcast via email. Duplicate questions will not be answered.

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Email QuestionsSave!

Exclusive online specials will be available to you from Nancy’s Notions on the day of the webcast.

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Exclusive Specials

One Low Price–Two Time Options—Register Today!

Only $19.95!

The 90 minute webcast on April 26th is only $19.95 if you register on or before April 16, 2014. (Registration fee on or after April 17 is $29.95.) The fee includes:

  • A link to watch one of the two Nancy Zieman Live webcasts. (Link to webcast will be sent on April 25.)
  • The ability to have your question answered during the webcast.
  • A link to specials offered by Nancy’s Notions.
  • A free Nancy’s Bag Making Tips Sheet, which will be a download document.

Two Time Options

There are two webcast time options for the 90 minute webcast to accommodate North American Time Zones. Since a webcast is live, what might seem like late morning for those of you living in the Eastern Time Zone, is very early morning for our Hawaiian viewers. Both webcasts will cover the same topics. Since they’re both live, each will be personalized by the questions or, hmm, my whims! (For our followers in other parts of the world, convert your time zone by clicking here). We’ll be broadcasting live from the Central Time zone. Register for a time that best fits your schedule.

April 26: Times/time zone for Webcast Option One:
  • 11:00 AM—12:30 PM (Eastern Time)
  • 10:00 AM—11:30 AM (Central Time)
  • 9:00 AM—10:30 AM (Mountain Time)
  • 8:00 AM—9:30 AM (Pacific Time)
  • 7:00AM—8:30 AM (Alaska Daylight Time)
  • 5:00 AM—7:30 AM (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)
April 26: Times/time zone for Webcast Option Two:
  • 2:00 PM—3:30 AM (Eastern Time)
  • 1:00 PM—2:30 PM (Central Time)
  • 12:00 PM—1:30 PM (Mountain Time)
  • 11:00 AM—12:30 PM (Pacific Time)
  • 10:00AM—11:30 AM (Alaska Daylight Time)
  • 8:00 AM—9:30 AM (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)

Click here to select your preferred time.

Thank you to our sponsors





Hope to see you April 26th!

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Content in this feed is © copyright 2014 by Nancy Zieman and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward the email to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

Meet Nancy Zieman

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.”

Handbags You Can Knockoff

Handbags 2

Nancy Zieman and I have seen so many versions of Designer Handbags (our first handbag embroidery collection and book), we decided to create a second series, Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2.  This collection focuses on trendy grommets, beautiful and functional pockets plus in-the-hoop techniques. I have to admit, I love these new bags!  Let me show you my favorite details.

The grommets are highlighted by subtle embroidered details while precisely stitched cut lines are hidden underneath the grommets. This combo of function and beauty guarantees success for all embroiderers and produces extremely professional results.

I think many of you would agree that the best part of making your own bag is customizing it to your needs. Nancy shares her coveted technique for making interior pockets and I love how my personal items – cellphone, nail file, pen and more – each have a special storage spot, nestled under a monogrammed label! Love that! Interior Pocket

If you’re a fan of exterior pockets, then you’ll enjoy a roomy exterior pocket like the Scallop lace pocket – created in the hoop.  It looks complicated but I’ve added some key elements to make the continuous embroidery easy to duplicate. I share two continuous embroidery techniques in the book – applicable to any embroidery machine. Scalloped Pocket

In addition to the book, Nancy invited me to teach the whole process on Sewing with Nancy. You can watch online here. Of course, what you see on television doesn’t reveal all of the prep that goes into taping or writing or book. And it always seems to start with my suitcase practically imploding in Nancy’s office. Truth be told, there’s nothing glamorous about this career. Even the airline employees shake their head when see how many bags I check for such short journeys!  Packed suitcase

But once it’s all sorted out in the conference room, we make a list and then divide and conquer. Sorting

Nancy handles the script and tricky sewing details and I man the embroidery machine.Embroidery machine

After a bit, okay – HOURS of stitching, we’re ready to pack the van to head to the studio. Van

And before you know it, we’re sitting on the set of Sewing with Nancy. Sewing with Nancy

And now Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2, is available for you to watch and make your own bags. I can’t wait to see the fabrics and grommets you select.  Before you get started, tell me what your favorite bag is: the red diamond bag, teal scallop pocket purse, the green starburst bag or the small clutch.  Two lucky winners will get an autographed copy of Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2.  Bags-1

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell me which of the bags above is your favorite; the red diamond, teal scallop pocket purse, green starburst or the small clutch. Two lucky winners will get an autographed copy of Designer Knockoffs, Handbags 2! Good luck.

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Thanks for the help with my holiday linen update! Leave a question below that you’d like me to answer. I’ll answer one random question and award an open flat stocking you can personalize this holiday season. Good luck!

The winner is Gail M.

Q: When will “Sewing with Nancy” broadcast the Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs? It was advertised in the latest issue of your magazine that it was to be broadcast on November 24th. It was not on her show last Saturday up here in Michigan.

A: Gail you can watch the show now online, just click here. And congratulations on winning the flat stocking!

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