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Remembering Nancy Zieman

I think about Nancy Zieman often – absolutely every time I’m sewing. I use her patterns, her tools, her books and her techniques.  Since I learned to sew by watching Sewing with Nancy, of course it makes sense that I would think of her when I sew.

We wrote books together, developed product and taped almost 20 Sewing with Nancy episodes.

But we were friends and I treasured my relationship with her. She was a wise woman. Patient, fair and classy.  I miss her tremendously.  If I was facing a business challenge, she was the first person I called.  As our friendship deepened, I would turn to her for personal advice and she would do the same to me.

You don’t replace a friend like Nancy but you can honor her legacy by remembering what she meant to you. Even if you never met her, there’s a good chance she changed your life – your sewing life – by making your hobby more enjoyable.

Today, June 21, she would have been 65 years old. I hope you’ll spend a minute and think about what Nancy meant to you. What did she teach you?  Maybe, how to accomplish large sewing tasks in 10-20-30 minutes segments?  Or how to bind a quilt or turn a collar point?  Possibly how to create a breathtaking landscape quilt?

I’d love to hear what you remember about Nancy.  Do you have a favorite technique you learned from her?  Maybe you received a hand written thank you or get well note from her.  Do you continue to watch Sewing with Nancy?  Do you have a bookshelf full of Nancy’s books?  Please share your thoughts…



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  • beth

    I have a photo of her and me while I was at a seminar given by her company and babylock company. I will treasure that always and will always remember her talk with us there. She taught me so much in person and on her shows. I use her methods on some of my sewing/quilting works.

    • Patricia Elizabeth Knowles

      Did she fie? I have eatchrd her for years

      • eileenroche

        Yes, Patricia. Nancy passed away in November from a courageous battle with cancer.

    • Sandra Kummrow

      I have been watching Nancy since I was young and still watch her to this day. I met Nancy at Sewing Weekend years ago. I still go every year. She has been a friend and inspiration. I truly miss such a great person.

  • Jimmie V

    She taught me how to put in zippers, both regular and invisible.

  • Sylvia Roberts

    When my girls were small her show reintroduced me to the fun of sewing for my daughter’s, I lived for Halloween costumes. I still watch Nancy on You tube, she will always be with me when I sew

  • Delia Tapia

    Did Nancy Zieman pass away. OMG! I love her. I have most of her videos and books. I learned so much from her. Utube is wonderful for a quick fix. God grant her peace.

  • Claudia

    I remember her Sewing with Nancy tv shows from the 1980’s. My daughters still call them Sewing on Nancy. I never met her but I mourn her passing all the time

  • Delores Bergstrom

    I met Nancy several times while taking her classes. She was a great teacher and delightful person. I have a lot of her tools, books and still love her reruns

  • Lelia Nelson

    I did not know Nancy passed. I have several of her sewing books and watched Sewing with Nancy every Saturday morning. I learned a lot from her.

    • Margaret Smith

      I watched Nancy since December of 1983. Met her once at a seminar. Loved every minute of her shows. Have Many of her books. I have learned so much from her and felt like we were friends

    • Ruth Wharton

      I learned my wearable art techniques from her shoes and books. She will be missed.

  • Jill Paulhus

    My kids were small so i watched so many sewing with nancy shows and dreamed of sewing half as good as her. She had a great way of explaining things that i understood.

  • Shirley Clark

    I’ve watched her shows for as long as I can remember. I got to meet her when my BabyLock dealer sponsored an event near me. She was so, so sweet, funny, and so knowledgeable!
    It was a small group so there was lots of interaction. She showed us landscape quilting. I never thought I’d even attempt that, but now I still want to try it some day. I was so sad when she passed away. I know you had to be heart broken.

  • Elaine

    Nancy had a phrase “righty tighty, lefty loosey” which I still say to help me remember. Each time, I remember Nancy. I miss her.

    • Sylvia Green

      Haha! That saying “righty tighty, lefty loosey” is an old mechanics’ saying. Since we work on machines, it is certainly fitting for us sewers/embroiderers/quilters…

  • Kit Ritter

    I never met Nancy in person but I always felt that she was a friend to all of us that love to sew. I still look up her programs and watch. She was all inclusive and I enjoyed “Nancy’s corner” Because she featured many on her show many more were helped. I made pillowcase dresses for Africa and also personal hygeine kits for girls in developing countries. I am now making some bags for those products. She touched so many!

  • Karen Poole

    Nancy Zieman was such an inspiration to me! One of the most valuable things I learned from her was how to alter patterns so the really fit! That has revolutionized my sewing! I can make anything without worry of it not fitting! Plus using that knowledge helped me learn how to draft my own patterns! Plus over the years I’ve used her many tips and shortcuts in my sewing. I still watch her show all the time. She was such a wonderful person! Oh, and I cant forget about the newer items she added to her line- the safety items for kids, which I will be using for teaching kids in a youth guild we are starting!

  • Maga

    Being in Europe means I never had the chance to meet her but my sewing adventures change very much when I found Sewing with Nancy on the internet. I have learnt so much and she is the reason why I now feel confident sewing with knits. I still watch her shows although I now can only watch the ones available on YouTube – I guess there has been a change in copyright so only US residents can watch the other channels. I have several of her books and they are used not only by me but also by my daughters who both sew. She felt like a friend because she was/is here in my sewing corner.

  • Cherrylmaree Rudd

    I loved watching Nancy, especially the segments about helping charities. She is often in my thoughts. I have DVDs that you both developed for T Shirt embellishments and have great fun with them. I still watch Sewing with Nancy and refer back to episodes for tips and ideas often.

  • Carol Coleman

    I watched her for years on Sewing with Nancy. I bought several books that she published. The 10-20-30 Minute book gave so much information about finishing a garment. I immediately bought it. I still watch her episodes on television still and I also go to the computer to watch her episodes.

  • Sheila

    I had the same Pfaff 7570 Nancy used on her shows and learned so much about of it from watching her programs. My very first quilt was made with her instructions and I still watch program reruns. I will always be indebted to her for sharing so much knowledge.

  • Teri

    I love watching sewing with Nancy’s. She though me how to sew. I miss her program on oeta.

  • Janelle

    Beautifully written mom. She was a truly amazing person and I know she is so proud of you. You continue to honor her by being passionate about your work every day. Happy birthday Nancy! We miss you.

  • Patty

    Nancy was such an inspirational person. She always made you feel like she was talking just to you. I loved her ” make it easier” techniques that always worked so well. I have her books, some dvds, and many gadgets. I watch her shows on both TV and Internet. Such a great loss… my deepest sympathies to her family.

  • Mary Grace Ronan

    I used to watch & tape Nancy shows back in High School & still do…she taught me mostly to not give up if you get stumped…keep going…I met her once in NYC during the worst storm in 100 years…my family was with me…she was a lot taller than I thought & I think of her often & still watch her shows…God rest her soul…she & her family are in my prayers…and you too…God bless you & your endevers.

  • Anna heh

    She was a wonderful lady at all times. I was lucky to meet her at a baby lock class she was presenting. She was gracious to everyone and a genuine person. I miss her every time I think of sewing or need to watch one of her tutorials. Want a tremendous loss.

  • Barbara

    I too miss Nancy and think of her often. She was such an inspiration. Over the years
    I learned a lot from her shows books and patterns. Last week I was using her pattern for bags from rectangles and squares.
    Thank you for keeping Nancy’s memory

  • Susana Molnar

    For ever there will be only one Nancy.We sewers will have her in mind until the end, love her teaching methods, own 6 books 11 patterns & 6 rulers from her. The most important thing from her is that she helped me keep my mental health. Used to tape all her shows from PBS then watch them when I had few minutes to myself. Because my job as RN was very stressful Nancy was my medicine. Now that I’m retired keep watching her shows to keep learning & continue to feel that peacefulness she gave. Thank you Nancy. Also thank you Eileen for your celebration for her. God bless.

  • Catherine Stiele

    My son is now 39, when he was small the cartoon time ended for my turn to watch Sewing with Nancy. He still kids me about it. I learned so many things from her. I was able to meet her in Madison at the show and what a lovely lady. So warm and personable. When she passed, I texted my son, he knew exactly who I meant by just her first name. I will always think of her and the wonderful shows that were created for us.

    • Shirley. Harrell

      I loved Nancy also. I also have her books.I learn how to adjust patterns.From Nancy I still watch her and miss her also.My sister’s birthday is also today so I don’t forget hers.God Bless her family. Also Ellen for being a good friend..Shirley Harrell.

  • Victoria Gammon

    I never met Nancy, but felt I knew her from Sewing With Nancy and her books. When I learned her health was deteriorating, I looked for updates often…just like I would do for anyone I care about. I was deeply saddened when she died. She had a big influence on my sewing life and I feel had I ever met her I would have discovered she was just as personal, kind, and friendly as the image I have in my mind. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing not only your sewing wisdom but your life with us. We miss you.

  • Maggie A Drafts

    Oh, Eileen, I could spend the entire day telling you what I so admired about Nancy!!!!! i was too young to even remember learning to sew on my great-aunt’s treadle sewing machine; perhaps 4 or 5. And, I had a wonderful Home Ec (remember those?) who help me continue my sewing perfection. But, I did learn so much from Nancy. One thing that stands out in my mind is “turning perfect corners”!!!! I have most, if not all, of her books, tools and patterns!
    As an oncology RN, I feared the worse when it was announced that her cancer had recurred! And, I cried the day, and for days afterward, she announced her retirement!!!! My prayers are with her family and you and so many of her close friends. I shall miss her until that day, when I too, will get to meet her face to face!

  • Mary

    Oh my yes. I have a treasured photo of myself with her at a seminar. My face tells it all – I was a fan meeting the biggest rock star in the world. I love all of what I learned from her – from pattern fitting to sewing a collar. Her books are all I go to – and they are timeless. I was shocked when I looked at one on gifts the other night and realized that most of the projects are timeless. When I started quilting – Quilting with Confidence was all I ever needed.

  • Donna E Handley

    I never had the privilege of meeting Nancy but I felt like I did! I have many of her books and I watched her TV show for many years. She was an amazing lady and I was greatly saddened at her passing.

  • Jane Jarvis

    I watched and continue to watch Sewing With Nancy. She is still the best. I learned from her from putting a zipper and how to make my corners look perfect to getting me out of my comfort zone. Thank you Nancy. I’m a better sewer and quilter because if you. Happy Birthday Nancy.

  • Rita

    I met Nancy at a Seminar a long time ago, taped every video on PBS, and remember being upset when PBS had a fund raising program oninstead of Sewing with Nancy.

  • Linda Ferguson

    I usually had to tape her shows because I was working when they came on. But I could hardly wait to play the episode to learn something new! I loved her passion for sewing, and all the resources she provided for us! I mis her everyday!

  • Judie

    I did have the honor and privilege of meeting her at Quilt Expo and I have watched and re-watched her programs again and again. She is deeply missed by many,

  • Donna Fecteau

    I never met Nancy in person, but I watched her shows and I always feel that she is right there with me when ever I sit down to sew.

  • Jennifer P

    Nancy’s point and pivot method for altering patterns allowed me to make a wedding dress for a good friend who was so much larger than commercial patterns. It was a perfect fit and the bride was so happy. I’ll always have fond memories of her Saturday morning sewing show in my house. My daughters made fun of my watching but they got the benefit of my knowledge from Nancy since I made every one of their prom dresses as well as daily wear. Happy Birthday, Nancy, and I hope you are able to teach the angels how to sew!

  • myrna king

    I too cried when I heard she had passed. I had so hoped that she would be able to survive cancer. I will always love and appreciate the time and effort she put into every aspect of her sewing life. It seems her life was truly dedicated to teaching and spreading the good word about sewing and the joy it can bring.

    • eileenroche

      Myrna, we all wanted Nancy to survive her battle with cancer but God had another plan for her. Take comfort in knowing she willingly accepted his plan and was not afraid to die.

      • Mary Conte

        Nancy taught us how to sew well for ourselves and others; to live well despite our health concerns and other problems; and to faithfully pass from this life well when God calls us to Himself…
        and she always did so with style, grace, and love.
        What a beautiful lady and legacy!

  • Yvonne

    I join the thousands of people who loved and learned from Nancy. I think my most rewarding memory was watching her video she made when she realized she could no longer survive cancer. I remembered her brave comments and her beautiful testimony to her life going forward from that point. She was a wom of faith, courage and class! She will never be gone!

  • Paula Reismiller

    I remember Nancy, I watched her on a local PBS station many years ago. She taught me so much about the little tricks that made sewing much easier. I continue to use these helpers. I’m quite sure angels are learning how to see. God bless you Nancy, and happy birthday.

  • Mary Orr

    I would tape her shows because I worked during the day. I still have some very old VHS tapes and I believe I will pull them out one day and watch them – hope the tape has not degraded that would prevent from watching. I would watch her shows as soon as I could to learn a new technique or improve on an old one. I miss her helpful and calm discussions. She made me believe I could ‘do this’ whatever ‘this’ was. I am certain her family and friends miss her greatly, rest in peace Nancy knowing you are loved and missed by so many.

  • Meg Charette

    Eileen, I’m so sorry for your loss, and all of us who. loved and learned fom her. Perfect corners is the best trick ever! I remember when she started talking about 10,20,30 minutes to sew she convinced me I didn’t need a whole day to accomplish something. What a classy lady!

  • Tami

    I have learned so much from watching her shows and from her books which have taken the intimidation factor out of sewing. Her life is proof that a lady who is wise, compassionate, humble and hardworking, wins !!!! ….. Even in the afterlife by leaving a legacy that still touches and changes lives all over the world !
    Happy Birthday Nancsy Zieman and Thank you!

  • judit

    Miss Her too….. I have watched her from day one on PBS learned from her so much. To be courageous and try new methods and enjoy the process of creating something you love.
    Have recorded her shows for years and have many of her books and videos.
    She truly was a caring and generous woman……..We can show our love of Nancy by sharing what we have learned from her and passing it on to the new generations now and those to come. I am teaching my great grand daughters now.

    • eileenroche

      She would be thrilled to see your message, Judit.

  • Beverly

    God bless you Nancy, and Happy Birthday. I found Nancy’s program on pbs so many decades ago, and purchased one of her early books “The Busy Woman’s Sewing Guide.” I learned so much from her, and continue to do so as I am now teaching my grandchildren to sew with the guidance of her recent book “I Sew For Fun.”
    Nancy was an inspirational, kind and generous teacher. May she Rest In Peace.

  • Debbie Vance

    I still often watch Sewing with Nancy. It provides me inspiration on more projects to try. Watching Nancy over the years helped me relax about sewing. Although Nancy knew how to do everything perfectly, she emphasized that we should have fun with it. She provided us with many shortcuts to allow us to get great results, while making it easier along the way. I would have loved to have met her in person. She was a great inspiration to me and so many others.

  • Debra Bell

    I still watch Sewing with Nancy on my local PBS station. I never met her, but I have spent a lot of time with her via my television. She made so much difference in this world with her love of sewing and sharing that with us. As she would say, it’s only “bye for now”.

  • April Maselli

    I Think of Nancy often she left an amazing legacy all from the innocent little first paper catalog from her kitchen table. She worked hard she shared she grew an empire all because she had a shareable mindset a drive to help find an easier way.I so looked forward to the catalogs of treasures as they grew thicker and thicker. My favorite part of all to this day was how she shared her sons and they grew and grew right before our eyes. She was a public person but very introverted. Gives hope to all of us. I imagine today is so hard on her family. Happy Birthday Nancy Zieman your legacy still brings us joy and you are missed. May piece be to all who were in your closest circle. I believe you are watching and celebrating every success of those who loved you from near and fans who supported you from afar. With sadness in my heart I pray you Eileen will know she is there for you just talk to her she will find away to answer I am sure. she could definitely solve problems…… as I write this I just saw her Quote “bye for now”. it is just as true now.

    • eileenroche

      Thank you for your kind words, April. Very touching…

  • Marva

    I think of her whenever I am in the yard or garden because she loved gardening. She and I have a similar mid-western farm-life upbringing. I have her books, DVDs, and early embroidery designs in a format I can’t even use anymore with my current machine but I can’t bring myself to part with them. I never met her but I somehow feel she is a great friend. She was a great lady!

  • annette rady

    I always think about how lucky i was to meet, listen to and even take photos with Nancy…Her passing is such a loss to the sewing world, of course but her values, beliefs and wisdom is a true loss to humankind in general.

  • Sherrie Lilly

    Although I never met Nancy I feel that I got to know her from reading her book and watching her on Sewing with Nancy. Nancy inspired me to return to sewing garments after a 50 year break. She showed how easy it is to fit a garment and sew on knits. Thank you Nancy for all of your inspiration. RIP! You will be greatly missed.

  • Charlotte

    She taught me SO much.I started watching her when she first started televising on PBS and loved her programs to the very end. Many are on my DVR so I can rewatch. She was a special person with a big heart and I felt I had lost a friend when she passed.

  • Kaye Miller

    I submitted a picture of my granddaughters in dresses I had made. They were t-shirts I embroidered with skirts of coordinating cotton fabric. I made them for various holidays. Nancy kindly commented on the cuteness of the dresses and the girls. I was fortunate to get to meet her at Puyallup. After watchng most of her shows over her career, I miss her greatly and feel as if I have lost a close, personal friend.

  • Susan T

    No one will ever replace her as she had such a well rounded knowledge, could explain it easily and made it fun. I found her show late in life but still learned so many useful techniques in that short period. I still get teary eyed when ever I see her photo. She was wonderful.

  • Kansas Sky

    I’ve done two collars this week, both with Nancy’s wrapped corner technique — it’s the way I do it, the way she taught me. I use my green 5-in-1 sewing gauge for everything and cannot imagine setting a hem without it. So many other useful little green tools!!! In constant use. So precise and so very useful. Mostly what she taught me was to relish the joy of using fabric in creative ways. I love what she loved …. and that blesses my life. I thank God for her.

  • Ellen

    I admired how she hosted with her palsy on display for all’to see, and made us totally forget it was there. She made it okay to be less than perfect.

  • Sandra Sanders

    I started watching Sewing With Nancy in the early eighties. My degree is in merchandising clothing and textiles so I had sewn alot. I also had taken a course in flat pattern design, but Nancy showed me a wonderful way to alter patterns without cutting them!!! Nancy also showed me how to create a slip strap that didn’t slip!!! Nancy showed me so many shortcuts, and different ways to sew garments. I shall miss her.

  • Jenny Schroeder

    Nancy and I shared our 2 granddaughters.
    When my daughter and her son fell in love and married, I felt like she was a lifelong friend joining our family.
    I absolutely love that last show she taped with Avery and Luella, baking and sewing together. She was so patient, loving, kind, gentle.
    She is greatly missed.

  • Ann Cuffley

    I watched her shows from the beginning. I took a lot of courses prior to becoming a follower but her shows her techniques and her simplified methods guided me for years. She and I are the same age and I felt like we journeyed together. I celebrated my 40th anniversary last year and I cried when she died. I think of her often when I am in my sewing room and value all that I learned from her. I sometimes ask her to inspire me from the other side.

  • Jackie McConnell

    I am an 86-year-old woman who learned to sew at Nancy’s knee (so to speak). I started watching her as bride and when technology finally let me record her programs, I was one happy camper. Still watch her every Saturday with a tear in my eye. She is truly missed in every corner of this great earth. Blessings to her dear family and may she forever RIP.

  • Delphia Greaves

    Totally shocked when I heard of Nancy.passing. immediately called my sister’s. I learned to sew the basics in Home Ec, but watching Nancy’s show I learned techniques, shortcuts & altering that expanded my sewing knowledge. I am forever grateful that she shared herlive of sewing with everyone. She was truly one of God’s gift that was with us for a short.time.

  • Marilyn Hines

    I started watching Nancy when Sewing with Nancy first aired and have rarely missed seeing it all these years. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but the fact that she came into my home on my TV every week and taught me so many valuable and fun things for so many years made it seem like she was a close personal friend. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and am saddened by the loss of this great lady. Sewing is so very near and dear to my heart and has been since I fitst sat at a sewing machine with my grandmother 55 years ago. I am disabled to the point I can no longer sit and sew and because of this, I rely on watching Sewing with Nancy episodes to give me at least the feeling that I am still involved somehow with sewing. She was a true sweetheart and will never be replaced. I pray for her family daily, I know their loss was great.

  • msrobin

    Nancy was a class act. I recorded her daily when my children were young. She was my sanity break and I watched her over lunch or while folding laundry. She taught my children through her countless books that I still have on my bookcase. Her segments on children’s clothing were so helpful to me. I am so grateful for the time and treasure that she shared with us. Her family remains in my prayers.

  • Janice Halloran

    My Saturday morning would start with watching “Sewing with Nancy” at 7:00 on a local Public Station, again on another Public station at 8:00, again Public station at 10:00 and the final one at ll:00. Would watch repeats over and over again. I am not a quilt sewer (I call myself a “quilt spectator”) but there is always something to learn. I sewed bridal attire, alterations on wedding gowns, bridesmaids, anything associated with weddings. After the wedding, some of the brides brought their gowns to have christening gowns made. Always used so many of Nancy’s techniques, hints, etc.. They were handy regardless of what I was sewing.

  • Joyce Leary

    I was heart broken when I heard of Nancy’s passing; it was like losing a good friend. I’ll never forget reading her beautiful farewell message when she left her show; it gave you an idea of what a lovely person she was. I have many of her books and have learned so much from her over the years. She made sewing well within everyone’s reach. She is definitely missed by so many.

  • Laurie Volocyk

    I watched Nancy on her shows for years and learned so much from her. I took classes from her several times, and she was a very gracious lady. I would love to see her taped shows continue. I hope all will remember her for her talent, courage and kindness.

  • Linda Perkins

    I cried when she passed. I felt like I knew her from watching her show for years and buying from her catalog. I also loved meeting you at an event and hearing what she was like. I learned so much from both of you. I also loved her biography. I read it on a plane and people kept looking at me funny because I was laughing so much. I miss her and think of her often when I am sewing.

  • Mary Newhart

    I attended a workshop in April 2010 and had a really great time. I found Nancy to be a hoot! She always seemed so serious on her programs but she had such a great sense of humor. She even autographed the machine I purchased from the dealer sponsoring the workshop. Every time I use that machine I think of her. I learned so much from watching her shows. I hope that her programs will be rebroadcast so a younger generation can learn from her.

    • eileenroche

      You’re right, Mary, Nancy had a terrific sense of humor.

  • Ginger Barlow

    My mom taught me to sew but Nancy taught me to have fun sewing. I have probably watched every episode she ever filmed. My first “real” machine was a Pfaff 1475 in the early 90’s because if it was good enough for Nancy, it was good enough for me. When I was a young mother, my time out each week was watching her show on Saturday mornings.

    I have many if her books and patterns and I use many, many techniques I learned from her. I think of her every time I see and I feel like I lost a good sewing buddy when she passed. There will never be anyone like her and I’m glad to have “known” her.

  • Sandy Davis

    I met Nancy in person twice. Once when she was in Northern Kentucky doing a seminar and secondly when I was travelling through Wisconsin. She graciously allowed me to stop by her business to chat with me for about 20 minutes to give me some advice on how to start my teaching sewing business. I will treasure those memories and am so sad that I wasn’t able to attend Sewing Weekend before this year. My husband and I were thrilled to be there in May and fell in love with the area and what the “family” is doing to keep Sewing With Nancy going! I am a faithful viewer on my local PBS station and tell all of my sewing students to watch the show.

    • Marylee Maury

      There was only one Nancy – but she touched thousands of us! Her memory shall forever live on in all our hearts, minds and sewing machines. I never met her in person but watched her show faithfully. Her love of fabric resonated with mine and I remember her every time I cut or sew fabric. RIP Nancy dear!

  • Linda

    I watch Sewing with Nancy as often as I can…maybe most of all she taught us that it wasn’t that hard to try something new….Nancy was very Lucky to have you as a friend..The shows the two of you did together were just fun to watch…You were great together.

  • Martina Haley

    I loved watching Nancy. She taught us so must. I couldn’t wait to see what was new and how she would do it. I have learned so much and I am so glad I got to see her in person on my birthday a number of years ago. She was as nice in person as she is on the screen. Yes I have so any books and dvd of her so glad I have them. I watch her all the time. I learn something new everytime. She will be miss alot!!!

  • anthony Sturrup

    I started watching Nancy in the earlier 90ties, one of the always remember is how to put the facing on a keyhole opening blouse with on stitching. My oldest child age 34 still remembers Nancy, great lady . Lets thank God thanks that she died empty; she left the knowledge she had acquired for the world to benefit and enjoy.To God be the glory