Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman

Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman


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Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman by Nancy Zieman

Millions of women learned to sew while watching the inimitable Nancy Zieman on public television's, Sewing with Nancy. Many of them have Googled phrases like "stroke Nancy Zieman" in an effort to discover the reasons behind the partial paralysis of Nancy's beautiful face. Viewers purchased products Nancy used through Nancy's Notions, followed patterns she created for McCall's, and enjoyed meeting distinguished guests via the show.

While today's Christian women read of Lydia and the Proverbs 31 woman and wonder how we can ever practice our faith so well in today's harried existence, Nancy Zieman was quietly living out her faith in Wisconsin. Her large Lutheran family ordered their lives around the farm, the seasons, and the church. As Nancy wrestled with the difficulties borne by the Bell's palsy, she also learned to rely heavily on God and believe that He had a purpose for her, a life lived to honor Him. Little did she realize that God would take a woman with half a paralyzed face and bless her with the longest running sewing show on North American television.

For the first time, Nancy shares openly about the Bell's palsy that not only affected her appearance, but also her esteem and physical abilities. Readers learn about the growth of Nancy professionally: from addressing catalogs at the kitchen table to growing a multi-million dollar notions business - and personally: marrying Rich, then growing a family through birth and adoption.

Through it all, the picture emerges of a hard-working woman of staunch faith who overcame various and varied obstacles to become what she is today: successful, humble, skilled, gracious, grateful and loved by millions of viewers.

For any woman who has wondered how God could possibly build a purposeful life from one so unlikely, Nancy Zieman serves as a beautiful example of a life lived one step at a time, as He allows.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780988478961
Publisher: Glass Road Media
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Nancy Zieman is host of Sewing with Nancy, TV's longest-running sewing show, which she co-produces with Wisconsin Public Television. It has been on-air since 1982. She is the author of over 40 books, which have sold millions.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Nancy Zieman is to the sewing industry as Bill Gates is to the technology industry and Oprah to talk shows. Nancy is one of the most sought after speakers the Sewing and Stitchery Expo has ever had. Nancy is not only a legend and icon for the sewing industry; she is an educator and business woman extraordinaire. This book will capture your heart and your attention to the end. My heartfelt thanks go to Nancy for her willingness to support the sewing industry with such passion and grace.

Joanne Ross

Founder and Director, Sewing & Stitchery Expo

Appearances are not always as they seem. As you read Nancy Zieman’s story, you’ll understand that there’s more to the life of this calm, professional woman who makes not only sewing but thirty years on television look easy. It’s an amazing revelation of carrying on through humble beginnings and serious life challenges to impressive achievements and business success with credit always to the support of others. Oh, and she is humble and able to laugh at herself too. Keep calm and carry on, Nancy–we can all be inspired by your example and life story.

Mary Mulari

Sewing teacher, author, and "Sewing with Nancy" guest

Along life's journey there seems to be only a handful of people you meet that have the desire and ability to encourage and lift up those around them. The evidence of this gift is not just heard in their words, but fulfilled in their relationships with family, friends, colleagues and those in need. Nancy’s creativity, professionalism and success in business deserve to be studied, but it is in the richness of her relationships that you will be most rewarded. Through the pages of Seams Unlikely, you walk with Nancy through an inspiring an incredible life journey of faith, family and perseverance that will make you not only a fan, but also a friend.

Ed Moore

Founder, Koala Studios

Nancy Zieman, an artful business woman and educator, has done more for the sewing industry than any other. Her enormous success is a result of very hard work and boundless enthusiasm for sewing, education, and for helping others. Seams Unlikely, although an autobiography is another example of Nancy’s strong appetite for teaching and sharing. A great example of how to succeed in business.

Joanne Ross

Founder and Director, Sewing & Stitchery Expo

If you've ever watched 'Sewing With Nancy' you will love this book! Nancy shares her childhood on the farm, her physical challenges, her growing career, and does it all with honesty, clarity and humility. I found the book spellbinding and couldn't put it down.

Natalie Sewell

Landscape Quilting Artist and Author

I was immersed in Seams Unlikely from the beginning. Well-known television talent Nancy Zieman writes of her life and of her work in this autobiography which lets the reader understand her determination, her creativity and why she is so popular, respected and loved.

Joan Lence

Television Broadcast Consultant

Not one to let life’s challenges derail her ambitions, Nancy Zieman has risen to the top of the sewing and quilting world through not only business acumen, but also kindness and humility. Her forthrightness and down-to-earth telling of her story in Seams Unlikely reveals her true modesty and genuine gratitude for blessings, especially family, that have come her way.

Bill Gardner


Quilters Newsletter

I am humbled by the experiences Nancy offered to my life and the millions of the beloved friends she's inspired. WOW, her book is a great read and brings back many great memories for all of us that have been involved in Nancy's business and life...Her inspiration to the sewers and quilters of the world will continue forever. Young or older will enjoy the many products she developed along with teaching how to use them...her book is inspiring to read.

Jan Carr, Clover Needlecraft, Inc. USA

This book is pure Nancy! She’s inspired so many of us, and in Seams Unlikely, Nancy invites you into her life just as she invites you into her show, with wit and wisdom and humility and joy.

James Steinbach

Director, Wisconsin Public Television

My first mistake in reading this book was starting it late at night – I couldn’t put it down and had an early flight the next day. My second mistake was in reading it on the plane where I uttered sympathetic groans, shed crocodile tears and let a few peals of laughter rip from my lungs in the company of a planeful of strangers. My third mistake was in assuming I knew everything about Nancy Zieman. Her success has been built on true grit, honesty and control of her destiny. She is the American success story.

Eileen Roche, Editor, Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine

Here is your window to the world of PBS star, Nancy Zieman: Her struggles, her strategies, her heartaches, her triumphs. Beyond Nancy’s television fame, you will discover a real person who refused to be limited by facial paralysis, chronic pain, or financial and business challenges. Woven through each page is Nancy’s constancy— and inspiring message: “If I can do it, so can you.” Read it and believe.

Gail Brown

Author, columnist and frequent "Sewing with Nancy" guest

Essential reading for lovers of family, tradition, sewing, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Nancy provides an insider look at the life that built the longest running sewing program in the US. Seams Unlikely a fascinating look at the family, tradition, and entrepreneurial spirit that built a sewing career that has reached the hearts of Public Television viewers around the country. Nancy proves that she can stich a story as well as a lined wool skirt.

Libby Peterek

Director of Web Services KLRU and Chair of PBS Digital Advisory Council

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Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading Nancy's book Seams Unlikely and could not put it down. I especially enjoyed reading about her life's journey and about her wonderful husband, family and friends who helped her along the way. She is such a inspiration and talent. Even thru life's challenges her perseverance and determination did not stop her from achieving her goals. Nancy is a American success story and a legend in the Sewing Industry. I would recommend this book to anyone and especially to anybody with a entrepreneurial spirit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
 If you have been a quilter or sewist for more than a few months, you have most certainly encountered the name Nancy Zieman.  If you reside somewhere in Wisconsin or neighboring states, you have probably made the pilgrimage to the Beaver Dam, WI store bearing her name, perhaps shopped at the big spring catalog sale and sewing weekend, or attended the Madison Quilt Expo also sponsored by Nancy's Notions.  Somewhere in your stash of fabrics, sewing books, patterns, and instructional dvds and notions there is an item with Nancy's name attached. Perhaps, like me, you religiously record the Saturday morning episodes of Sewing with Nancy on public television, to be watched when you're in a sewing mood.  I am fortunate enough to live only 30 minutes from the retail store, so I've been able to see the business grow over the years and have indulged myself in a few patterns, rulers, and such over the years.  Although I've drooled over some of the classes offered, I have never taken any.  Well that isn't quite true -- I did take one class from Nancy herself, before there was an empire and all those employees.  Back in the early/mid-1980s I attended a seminar in downtown Beaver Dam --maybe fifteen women and Nancy herself.  I am not even sure if she had her first warehouse at that time.  It was her warmth and sincerity at that time that has made me a fan of her success for over 30 years.  Naturally when I heard that she was writing an autobiography with the help of Marjorie Russell, I knew I would read the book. All that leads to today's book Seams Unlikely, an autobiography of this determined entrepreneur who turned an average "home economist" degree into a world recognized financial success.  Actually, although you'll read about the expansion of the business over the years and Nancy's forays into new territory such as garment design for McCalls and machine embroidery design, most of the book covers the "back stage stories" -- a frank explanation of the bell palsy that left her face asymmetrical and her ego fragile, the blessings and hardships of growing up on a typical Wisconsin farm in the 1960s and 70s, dreams threatened by continuing health issues, and the lean days of first jobs.   What a compelling read which connected with me on so many levels!  Let's begin with the rural setting. Farm chores, barn cats, gardening, and a life centered around the family's church and faith -- certainly sounds similar to my own early years.  Just four years older than Nancy, I, too, found 4-H as a place where I could excel and the experiences there also helped shape my education, career, and leisure choices later in life.  When Nancy described her first 4-H sewing project, I could see my own, almost identical to hers.  (Sadly, I do not have the perfected talent she does).  Her courage to strike out in her own business when very few women did is something I admire.  Even she did not realize how big the dream could become.  As she tells her story, readers will see just how wide a successful dream reaches into other people's lives.  Many, many of Nancy's employees started with basic jobs and responsibilities, but grew in skills and talents over time.  This is not just a success story of a wife and husband, but of the many others whose efforts behind the scene make all the "gears" move.
ibjoy1953 More than 1 year ago
I started watching Sewing with Nancy years ago, because a lot of times I visited my aunt Edna, she would be watching Nancy. My aunt is an avid seamstress, and she get a lot of ideas from the show. I really never knew that she had Bell’s palsy until about a year ago when I was viewing her website. When I saw this book up for review, I was honored to be able to read and review Seams Unlikely. I found Nancy’s story to be one of the heartwarming stories I have ever read. Reading how Nancy started sewing, and it growing into the TV show Sewing with Nancy is amazing in itself. But the read about the difficult situations and the struggles she went through then, and has throughout her life, well I am just in awe of this special lady and her great success. For all of you who enjoy sewing, I highly recommend this book for your to read, and if you struggle with a disability, or difficult situations, this is a must read for you! Everyone can learn from reading Nancy Zieman’s heartwarming story. Life seemed to be against her many times, but with Nancy’s determination to survive and be successful, well being the longest run sewing show on TV says it all! I received this book from Glass Roads to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.