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A Word from Mary Mulari

I asked Mary Mulari to share a few thoughts on Nancy Zieman on this final day of the The Rest of the Story blog tour. Here’s what she had to say:

My friend Margaret said, “You should come to the high school with me tonight for a sewing class.” So I did, never knowing that my first meeting with Nancy Zieman would turn into a lifelong friendship. Nancy showed sewing tips for tailored shirts and I was impressed by the techniques she shared, realizing I could use them myself. When Nancy moved from my area in Minnesota back to Wisconsin, her home state, we kept in touch and I used her book SEWING MAGIC to teach my own tailored shirt class here in Aurora. (Nancy was a contributing editor for this book written by Barbara Hellyer.)

Then I got into sweatshirts, teaching community education classes my methods to alter and decorate a favorite garment. I sent a copy of my self-published book DESIGNER SWEATSHIRTS to Nancy. At that time she was taping cable tv shows in the basement of her home. It was a leap from her “normal” sewing to show my sweatshirt ideas on her show, but she did it, and book sales from her early catalogs were tremendous. I shipped thousands of copies of the book to her warehouse in the converted chicken coop at Earl Zieman’s farm. Maybe you ordered one of those books.

Then, when my fifth book ADVENTURES IN APPLIQUE was published, I joined Nancy as her guest for three programs based on the book. Many of you told me I didn’t talk enough and Nancy talked too much, but I had to get used to the cameras and time clocks and everything in the tv studio. I learned to talk more through my years of guest appearances on Sewing With Nancy. In more recent program tapings, Nancy would use her elbow on me when it was time to quit talking because the program segment was ending.

Nancy was always quick to share credit for her accomplishments and sewing star status. At the celebration for 30 years on television, she gathered some of her guests who were also her friends. Gail Brown was Nancy’s serger expert, Natalie Sewell the landscape quilt queen, Eileen Roche the embroidery specialist, and I got credit for my sweatshirt lady status.

It was always a pleasure to work with Nancy to produce some of the television programs she taped every year. Speaking for her other guests, I’d say we all profited through our associations with Nancy, gained highly valued life experiences, and had plenty of fun too.

Aren’t we fortunate that Team Nancy continues her legacy and contributions to the world of sewing!


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  • Bonnie

    I was sure happy to read this blog! I was a “collector” of Nancy’s sewing tips when they were published in my local newspaper.I’d cut them out and paste them in a notebook.. I followed her on tv when I found her. I found some of her books and own a few from Mary Mulari.Nancy inspired me with the” I can do” bug! Blessings to all who Nancy touched our lives,. Forever grateful !♥️

  • Martha Morgan

    Some of my favorite shows were featuring guest Mary Mulari. Still have sweatshirts to convert.

  • annette rady

    i am ever so happy that I had my hubby record many of Nancy’s classics on PBS–I’m especially thrilled to have Sewing Tips from A-Z and Serging Tips. I know that I could probably get them on U tube etc… but it’s nice to have them as my own and as a reminder that I was fortunate enough to meet Nancy in person at a 2015 event in PA. Got a photo with her. She signed my copy of her biography(a second time because it was signed when I purchased it through DIME)…these are truly wonderful memories.

  • Roberta Hudson

    Thank you for sharing more of the life of this wonderful person. I have kept the shows I recorded for the last few years and I have many books and DVD’s I purchased from Nancy’s notions. Nancy taught me how important it is to share this craft with others and it has given me so much pleasure.

  • Malah Peterson

    I still have VHS tapes of Sewing With Nancy. Ordered many of her projects. Loved her sweet humble spirit. Love you too Mary and I still have 3 of your books. Thanks for inspiring us even more.

  • Joyce Jensen

    I loved watching SWN through the years and I’m so glad we still have those shows to refer to. She was an inspiration and a wonderful teacher.

  • Denise

    I love this story/memory! How fun and what a blessing to know such an incredible lady!

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