The Free Motion Quilting Project: Nancy Zieman's Sewing A to Z

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nancy Zieman's Sewing A to Z

A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to review Nancy Zieman's new book Sewing A to Z. Ummm...let me think on that for a minute...YES! Of course I'd love to browse through the pages of Nancy's new book and share my honest thoughts on it with all of you!

I've been a big fan of Nancy Zieman since I really got serious about sewing and quilting in 2004. While I rarely watch television, I would faithfully tune in every Friday afternoon for Sewing with Nancy.

I can even remember an episode that aired when I was in middle school on pineapple paper-pieced purses (say that three times fast) and actually trying it out with hand stitching since I still didn't really know how to use my sewing machine yet.

Recently I've been noticing Nancy's name cropping up a lot more in new tools, gadgets, and gizmos being released by Clover and now she's just come out with a new book - Sewing A to Z.

As she states in the beginning of the book:

"Many of these methods have been published in other books of mine, but they've never been gathered together in an A-to-Z reference. My hope is that you'll enjoy this quick reference and that these techniques will fine-tune your sewing and quilting skills."
Now I received a digital version of the book, so I can't say much about how it feels or works as a physical book, however Bonnie over at Quiltville share photos of her copy and it is spiral bound which should make it easy to use near the machine. Because there is a digital edition, you can also get a copy on Amazon for your Kindle!

Paging through the book, quickly noticed the clean, professional graphic design and illustrations. Rather than photos of real hands, fabric, needles, machines, etc, all the photos have been digitized to appear more like cartoon illustrations.

While this may not sound good, it's actually excellent! The drawings are simplified down to exactly what you're supposed to be seeing and understanding, and it's much easier to understand than typical photo illustrations.

I found it interesting that many sewing tools and notions were illustrated being used in the book, from Yo yo makers to Dritz Ezy Hem. It was nice to see these tools and to understand how they are used, and I'll admit the illustrations definitely made me want to buy a few new tools.

While I remember Nancy mostly for garment sewing instructions, this book definitely balances sewing and quilting very nicely. While there's not enough space to elaborate on certain topics (free motion quilting for one) it's clear to me that this isn't a book for a deep exploration of every topic. It's a quick, handy reference guide.

I realized thumbing through it just how useful it would have been for me a month ago when I was ordering some knit fabrics online. I couldn't find a decent explanation of what a single knit, double knit, or interlock fabric was and didn't know what would work for my patterns.

Nancy's book clearly lists these different types of knits (plus 3 more I didn't know about) and what the difference is between them. No wonder the dress I made in college with a heavy double knit never fit right - the pattern was supposed to be made with a single knit!

Overall, I'd say this is a very helpful book if you just need a quick reminder, or a simple lesson on the topics you're interested in.

Of course, this is just my opinion, so why not check out the other bloggers who have shared reviews this week? Here's the full list of blogs that have shared reviews so far:

15-Aug - Nancy Zieman's blog
16-Aug - Whipstitch
17-Aug - Sew Mama Sew
18-Aug - Diary of a Quilter
20-Aug - Amy's Creative Side
22-Aug - Quiltville
23-Aug - Crap I’ve Made
24-Aug - Eileen Roche's blog
25-Aug - I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts

And of course, blog tours like this usually come with something for free! Make sure to hop over to Nancy's blog and leave a comment on her post about the blog tour. Winner will take home over $450 worth of tools and notions so don't miss out!

Now I'm off to jump into the studio for a long weekend of quilting. I have a new quilt on the table I'm absolutely in love with. I promise I'll post photos or a video about it soon!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. This looks like a great book. I am always googling some silly sewing question. It would be great to have this reference in my sewing room.

  2. I'm a newbie so i would love to win this! Looks like a great reference book. alibear167 at gmail

  3. I didn't realize there was a digital version of Nancy's book available. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I'm always googling a sewing question also. Plus, I have several blogs bookmarked for reference. It would be nice to have all that information in one convenient book though.

  5. Thank you for the review Leah. I wasn't aware the book came in a digital version. That is probably a good option for those who like digital books or haven't got the storage space to buy all the awesome sewing and quilting books because they can have them all without that worry of storage. I already have this book on my wish list so hopefully if I don't win, someone will be nice enough to buy it for Christmas *coughmyhusbandorkidscough* lol

    Thanks for your review Leah. It's nice seeing all the different views of everyone and the things they point out from the book.

  6. Thanks for letting me know about the Kindle digital version (has sneak peek pages too!) & the book review.

  7. Nancy Zieman's new book looks really useful. A sewing encyclopedia!

  8. Great reference book - like holding part of Nancy Z's sewing experience in my hand! Thanks for the review.

  9. Thanks for the post of Nancy's book, I'm a beginner quilter, I found your wedsite a couple of days ago and I have been watching all your video's I love the way you free motion i hope to be as good as you someday, I have started working on my 4 inch squares, Thanks for the post of free motion. I love it....donna

  10. I'm excited to see your new quilt. Hope the storm doesn't cut our power (I'm in Concord) because I want to get some major piecing done.
    I would love to win this book somehow but I'll but it anyway :)

  11. What a great idea to be able to get this in digital format as well as print.

  12. Thanks for the review! I am following the book tour :)

  13. This sounds like a great book! I love Nancy's TV show.

  14. I've been such a huge fan of Nancy's that when I scheduled a dental appointment, It was always Wednesday at noon, so I could put on the headphones and watch the screen on the ceiling as they cleaned my teeth or whatever else they had to do.
    She is amazing and this book sounds amazing.
    Can't wait to see what you are up to now.

  15. Thanks for your terrific review...and your blog looks great also. Thanks for sharing Nancys book. hugs Vicki x

  16. Thank you for the review. There is so much I can learn from Nancy Z.

    wordygirl at earthlink dot net

  17. It looks like a great reference book.

  18. Terrific looking book and glad it comes digital. BTW, am I missing something? I go to Nancy's Blog to leave a comment and there is no place to do so. hmmm

  19. What a great book! thanks for the review!~

  20. Oh, I would so love this book! I am sure I would be able to use it so much as a wonderful reference!

  21. I'd love to be included to win. I think this would be a great resource and I could learn a lot.

  22. Seems like everyone agrees this is a must have for your sewing/quilting library and should have a place of honor next to the bowl of M&Ms on your sewing machine table.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway.


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at