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Nancy Zieman Releases Autobiography: Seams Unlikely

Jan 13, 2014 11:33AM ● Published by Erik Dittmann

Zieman Family Photo Courtesy of Glass Road Media and Management

Gallery: Seams Unlikely [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

Nancy Zieman

By: Nancy Zieman

I never intended to write my autobiography.  Over thirty years on television, sharing stories while I teach sewing methods, has given people a pretty good opportunity to know me, I thought.  When Sewing With Nancy reached its 25th anniversary, many friends and colleagues indicated an interest in hearing the story of how Nancy’s Notions and the show became what they are today. 

They asked for an autobiography, which I dismissed.

But then I typed my name into the Google search window and I saw the most-often searched terms come up on my screen.

            Nancy Zieman stroke.

            Nancy Zieman face.

People were, understandably, curious about why one side of my face doesn’t operate like the other side.  In truth, it is paralyzed, a complication of Bell’s palsy that struck me as an infant. Other parts of me have been shaped, in part, by the Bell’s palsy too – other physical aspects, as well as emotional and psychological.

And then Ken Tacony, President of Tacony Corporation, noted that my story might somehow serve as a source of encouragement to others.  I decided to run the idea by a writer-friend, Marjorie Russell, who had interviewed me for a feature in American Quilter magazine in 2009.

With Marj’s enthusiastic affirmation and involvement, the project began.

I should note that writing your personal story feels much like hanging your unmentionables on a clothesline.  The instant rapport Marj and I had found during that 2009 interview, though, stayed true throughout our book-writing process and made it possible for me to share the news today that my autobiography Seams Unlikely will be in stores in February 2014.

In the pages of Seams Unlikely are the milestones and hallmarks of a life I never could have envisioned.  From the family farm in Wisconsin to a career on a TV screen is quite a leap!  Had any relationship, any step along the way, been slightly different, the outcome would likely have been vastly changed.  As it is, the blessings of true friendship and wisdom borne of experience mounted with each passing year.

Now, having celebrated the 30th anniversary of Sewing With Nancy being on the air and taking the time to think back through what brought me to 2014, I’m pretty amazed.  I can say with confidence that we live in a particular part of the world where anything – anything you can or even can’t imagine – is possible.

Sometimes the possibilities are hard to see because of challenges and barriers.  Or maybe we set out on a path toward a goal and we encounter some unexpected difficulties.  The key to achieving, to living, is realizing that we all have unexpected twists and turns in our roads.

We will all face challenges.  Some of those challenges are bigger than others.

But what happens to us does not define who we are – unless we let it.

There is a belief that successful individuals somehow skirted the hard parts of life.  Here, in Wisconsin, we know that success comes from hard work.  People who went to work day after day despite circumstances built our state, a state that continues to thrive because of that work ethic. 

Any person, at any time, can allow circumstance to dictate who they are and who they continue to be.  Excuses masquerading as “reasons” abound for not pursuing the goal or passion you’ve been given.  I, like you, could have allowed the challenges of my life to dictate its course.  But as I hope Seams Unlikely reveals, there is a different choice to be made, the choice to respond to life, to love and work and learn anyway.  No matter what comes.   

Seams Unlikely

Nancy Zieman is host of Sewing With Nancy, produced in partnership with Wisconsin Public Television.  SWN is the longest-running sewing show on North American television.  Starting at her own kitchen table, Zieman built Nancy’s Notions into a multi-million dollar business, which was sold in 2003.  She is a previous Wisconsin Woman Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year and serves as a regular keynoter and teacher at quilt and sewing shows across the nation.  Her patterns and instructions have been published in 41 books that have sold over 2 million copies.  She is wife to Rich and mother to two grown sons.  Seams Unlikely is the first time Zieman has shared her life story.  It releases from Glass Road Media in February 2014 and is available in bookstores nationwide. Learn more at   


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