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Sewing Industry Mourns Loss of Icon Nancy Zieman

Nov 14, 2017 03:54PM ● Published by Jim

Nancy Zieman

November 14, 2017 – Nancy’s Notions and parent company Tacony Corporation join the sewing industry and fans around the world in mourning the passing of sewing icon and Nancy’s Notions founder Nancy Zieman. Staff and leadership at Tacony are remembering Nancy as a dear friend and colleague, beloved throughout the industry.

“This is a profound loss,” said Mike Schuster, general manager of Nancy’s Notions. "Nancy Zieman was more than an educator and entrepreneur. She was our friend. She served as an inspiration, and her spirit will always be at the core of what we do. Nancy influenced so many lives with her compassion and grace. Our thoughts are with her family and all those she touched on her journey."

Nancy served as an icon, a leader and a visionary in the sewing world. She paved the way for many other women to become entrepreneurs and business owners.  In 1979, she founded Nancy’s Notions, based in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. After a long battle with cancer, Nancy passed away at home surrounded by family on November 14,2017. A private service is planned with family and close friends.

"Nancy Zieman was a genuinely kind and generous person," said Kathy Gittus, vice president of digital and print production. "She inspired the people she worked with and the millions who watched her public television show. We will miss her."

Warehouse manager John Nickel said he is grateful to Nancy and her husband Richard for giving him the chance to work for them. 

"I would not be where I am today if it weren't for them," Nickel said. 

The 2017-2018 season of Sewing with Nancy will run in its entirety, showcasing a mix of new programming that was taped prior to Nancy’s retirement this fall and encore presentations of some of the most popular topics from past seasons. In August, Nancy expressed her hope that Sewing with Nancy will continue for years to come.
“Nancy was a very dear friend, a very kind and compassionate person with a strong Christian faith,” said Scott Stanton, vice president of administration at Nancy’s Notions. “She served as a great example for us all to follow. She will be greatly missed.”

In lieu of cards and flowers, donations may be made in Nancy’s name to Wisconsin Public Television or to a local hospice organization.

St. Louis’ Tacony Corporation purchased the company in 2003, and Nancy stayed on as the company’s chief spokesperson, teacher, and creative voice.  

Nancy also founded the Public Television show Sewing with Nancy in 1982 – now the longest-running sewing and quilting program on North American television.  She authored multiple sewing how-to books and inspired countless sewing enthusiasts across the U.S. and throughout the world.


Founded in 1979 by inspirational sewing educator Nancy Zieman, Nancy’s Notions began as a small, mail-order company operating from Nancy’s kitchen table and grew into a multi-channel retailer serving sewing and quilting enthusiasts around the world.


Founded in 1946 by Nick Tacony, Tacony Corporation is a privately held manufacturing and distribution company operating in four strategic business units: sewing, home floor care, commercial floor care, and ceiling fans. With more than 650 associates in 13 offices around the world under the leadership of CEO Kristi Tacony-Humes, Tacony’smission is to create long-lasting relationships that are based on trust and feel like family. For more information, visit



1979 – Nancy sends out her first "catalog" - a single sheet of paper listing hard to find notions and sewing reference books, from her kitchen table in Virginia, Minnesota.

1981 – Nancy changes the address and opens a new post office box for her catalog when her husband Richard is transferred to his hometown of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

1982 – Nancy's how-to-sew show premiered on cable television, running nationally on the Satellite Program Network

1983 – When demand for products grew, warehouse operations moved into a renovated chicken coop provided by Nancy’s in-laws, Earl and Elaine. The office and sewing operations continued to work out of Nancy’s basement.

1985 – All Nancy's Notions operations move under one roof at 1010 DeClark Street, and more employees were added. A small retail store opens.

1985 – The inception of Sewing Week Expo, a three-day event for sewing quilting, and embroidery enthusiasts kicks off with the ribbon cutting at the DeClark Street location.

1987 – Growth of the business leads to the construction of the current Nancy's Notions building on Beichl Avenue. Several additions have brought the total square footage to over seven times its original size.

1989 – Nancy began designing Busy Woman's patterns for New York-based McCall's Pattern Company under the Sewing With Nancy brand.

2003 – Nancy’s Notions became a part of Tacony Corporation located in Fenton, Missouri—another family owned business with sewing at its roots. Nancy remained on as President of Nancy’s Notions.

2005 – Nancy helped develop Quilt Expo with Wisconsin Public Television in Madison.

2015 – Sewing Weekend celebrates its 30th year.

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