Seams Unlikely—Book Club Ideas

Seams Unlikely by Nancy Zieman Book Club questions

Seams Unlikely—Book Club Ideas

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Seams Unlikely by Nancy Zieman Book Club questions

When Cheryl from our book club asked me on the side what I thought about choosing my autobiography, Seams Unlikely, as the next book choice, I quickly said, I don’t think so! Having my friends and acquaintance discuss my life in my presence would be comparable to wearing a skimpy swimming suit on a public beach. Regardless, the majority ruled and Seams Unlikely became our July book club topic.

Seams Unlikely by Nancy zieman/Seams Unlikely book club questions

Like many book clubs, our group meets once a month, rotates between homes, and gathers at the designated date at 7:00 for a potluck meal. The challenge is to bring a dish to pass that is referenced in the book or a food that is associated with the region or country. We had lots of desserts for the Seams Unlikely potluck. Hmmm, does that give you any indication of my life!

From Seams Unlikely page 90 — It may seem like a small thing, but I’ll never forget that cake and the welcome relief her visit brought us. Our moods lifted—mother’s and my own–while we savored Betty’s cake and company. That experience taught me a lot about the gift of food. When you don’t know how to help someone, get into the kitchen and bake! 

Seams Unlikely by Nancy Zieman/book club questions for Seams Unlikely

Why I Wrote an Autobiography

I feel compelled to explain that writing an autobiography was not on my bucket list! But I often say, Google made me do it!


Book Discussion Fostered Sharing

I live a low-key life in our little town, so being the focal point of our book club was slightly disconcerting. After lively discussion, people sharing where they laughed—where they cried, I asked each fellow book club member to share something about their lives that most people around the table wouldn’t know. The next hour of discussion was engaging, insightful, and created a tighter bond.

Seams Unlikely by Nancy zieman/Seams Unlikely book club questions

Seams Unlikely Book Club Questions

Not having prepared a list of questions for Seams Unlikely, I searched and found a generic list of questions applicable for an autobiography prepared by Bellingham Public Library. Here is a short list of the questions that you might consider.

  • What did you know about the subject prior to reading this book?
  • Did you learn anything new about this person?
  • If you knew of the subject before, did anything you read change your opinion?
  • Is this someone you would want to know or have known?
  • What did you find to be the most interesting events in this book?
  • What, if anything, surprised you?
  • If this person impacted history, discuss what may have been different without his or her presence.
  • Compare this book to others your group has read. Is it similar to any of them?
  • What did you like or dislike about the book that hasn’t been discussed already?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend?

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway

What Books Have You Been Reading?

Our book club is always looking for book suggestions from the classics to current. For a chance to win a copy of Seams Unlikely, share what you’ve been reading and why you would or would not recommend the book.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Nancy Zieman—author, pattern designer, businesswoman, producer, and national sewing authority—is the host of the popular show Sewing With Nancy®, which appears exclusively on public television stations across the United States and Canada. Follow Nancy’s Blog at and sign up to receive Nancy’s E-News for the latest news in Sewing, Quilting, & Creating.
Content in this feed is © copyright 2014 by Nancy Zieman and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward the email to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.
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  • Lynda Adair
    November 28, 2014

    Dear Mrs. Nancy,

    Just wanted you to know how much your book meant to me. I ordered your book this past summer and it has helped me tremendously to change my attitude and made me desire to
    do something useful. I have been unemployed and unable to work for almost 2 years now. I have sewn off and on for years, but I recently have returned to sew clothing for myself, finished several “UFOs”, and I am sewing Christmas gifts. Your book has inspired me to be creative again, and also, you are never too old to learn new ideas and techniques. All of this has helped me deal with depression, lonliness, and pain, while in my rehabilitation to get back to work. I am learning many great new techniques from your PBS shows. Thank you for giving us your life story, with the hurt that you’ve endured and the achievements you’ve accomplished. Your life is proof that physical problems don’t have to control your will to succeed. I hope someday to meet you in person!

    Lynda Adair
    Spartanburg, South Carolina

  • Maria R
    November 28, 2014

    I just finished reading the book “Yellow Crocus”. I couldn’t put it down! The book is about a girl that is the daugher of a slave owner, it goes through her growing up biding taken care of by one of the slaves. Very gripping.

  • Linda Perkins
    November 28, 2014

    Nancy I have your book on my Kindle and “saved” it to read while we were flying to London last Spring. People were staring at me as I laughed, cried and smiled through your book. It was amazing. My husband kept having to stop what he was reading to listen to me read parts to him. I was inspired by you before, but even more after I read your book. You took what you learned in 4-H and made a career that has given so much to the sewing community. I hope to meet you in person some day. Thank you for writing this. It was awesome.

  • Deborah
    November 28, 2014

    I have the book, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. That is on my reading list though.

  • Patricia Hersl
    November 28, 2014

    It’s zen older book but I’ve bought it many times because I keep passing it along. She is a hero. “Stolen Lives” Malika Oufkir.

  • Wanda H
    November 28, 2014

    I’m enjoying your book — you are truly an inspiration. I would never have guessed from watching your shows all these years the struggles you have gone through. I just finished “The Story Keeper” by Lisa Wingate, which was intriguing & educational. Her “Prayer Box” series is also very good — I read those first & got hooked! Hope you & your book club will enjoy them, too. Best wishes for continued success!

  • david
    November 28, 2014

    I can’t wait to read this. I always watched your show and taped it. A guy asked me “Why are you watching THAT???” and I said “Because it is great and creative and makes me happy.”
    Thanks for all you continue to do!

  • Kathy
    November 28, 2014

    I just finished “No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches” by Jeff Davidson. It is a wonderful book about a man, his special needs 16 year old son, and God. It has SO many life lessons–not just for men! Just came out! I highly recommend it!

  • marj
    November 29, 2014

    Our book club has been in existence for many years, and we have read many Barbara Kingsolver, Jody Piccoult, and Lorna Landvik books. I loved “19 Minutes” and think it should be required reading for every parent and teacher and teenager. We just read “the Boys on the Boat” and “Empty Mansions” next is “The Book Thief” — we meed in the morning at a local restaurant for breakfast followed by book and anything goes discussion. Super much fun.

  • becky3580
    November 29, 2014

    I too have a copy of your book. I would love to meet you in person to shake your hand, give you a hug and thank you for being such a creative and inspirational person. You are to sewing what Julia Child is to cooking, Tim Tebow is to football, Mohammed Alli is to boxing, Meryl Streep is to acting. YOU ARE THE TOP!!
    I have just started reading “41” by George Bush and it is very good. One of my favorites and almost all my friends get a copy is “The Art and Power of Being a Lady”. Women have forgotten how to be ladies while still being strong. It is a good book for young ladies also. Of course my all time favorite is “Gone With The Wind”.
    Hope all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

  • becky3580
    November 29, 2014

    I too have a copy of your book. I would love to meet you in person to shake your hand, give you a hug and thank you for being such a creative and inspirational person. You are to sewing what Julia Child is to cooking, Tim Tebow is to football, Mohammed Alli is to boxing, Meryl Streep is to acting. YOU ARE THE TOP!!
    I have just started reading “41” by George Bush and it is very good. One of my favorites and almost all my friends get a copy is “The Art and Power of Being a Lady”. Women have forgotten how to be ladies while still being strong. It is a good book for young ladies also. Of course my all time favorite is “Gone With The Wind”.
    Hope all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

  • Jan
    November 29, 2014

    I just read (for the second time) “I Still Dream About You” by Fannie Flagg, a novel about a woman who feels useless and decides that, since her life means so little, she will kill herself. This is about her preparation to do that with no pain for anyone else, and it is hilarious. How can you laugh about something like that! Fannie Flagg can make you laugh and laugh. I love it–and all her other books. Also read “A Redbird Christmas,” really a good read for this time of year.

  • Sharon Taylor
    November 29, 2014

    Like you and many others, I’ve faced my struggles in life and this year I achieved living with Type I Diabetes for 50 years. A major accomplishment that inspires me to look forward to the next fifty.
    The book I recommend to your club is “The Americanization of Edward Bok” because it tells the story of a Dutch boy who came to America with his parents and rose from poverty to become the second editor of “The Ladies Home Journal.” Mr. Bok had an amazing influence on women in America just like you–an important part of my sewing life. Teachers may want to make this book required reading–especially in light of our current struggles in America. I’m looking forward to reading your book because of your impact on my life too.

  • Ellee
    November 29, 2014

    I’m reading The Read-Aloud Handbook. Many years ago it guided me in finding great books to read to my children. Now it’s a refresher course preparing me to read to my new granddaughter.

  • janie tuttle
    November 29, 2014

    Nancy, I bought youy book to give to a friend. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. I am sure God is using your story to be an encouragement to many. HE knew what HE was doing when HE impressed you to write it. My friend won’t know she is getting a “used book”. Keep on doing what you are doing. You are a blessing to many.

  • Karen W.
    November 29, 2014

    I just finished Seams Unlikely two days ago and found this blog! I would highly recommend it. I grew up going to Minnesota Fabrics where my mom and I purchased fabric for most of our clothing. Thanks for bringing back those memories and for sharing your faith as an important part of your story.

  • karen stevens
    November 29, 2014

    Thanks so much for writing your wonderful book. I bought it this summer and had a hard time putting it down. I started watching you when your show first came on PBS in our area and am still learning from you. You seem like a wonderful friend, even though most of us didn’t know about all the physical struggles you were going through. You are truly an inspiration and an amazing person.
    I enjoy your program so much and hope you continue on air while enjoying your family.

  • Kim M. Harrington
    November 29, 2014

    I loved your book Nancy. I felt like it must have been difficult to open up and share all of the details of your life. Then to have your own book club sharing it! Now that takes the cake! It sounds like it went great though, and like in your life, you stood up to the challenge with grace. I hope to see you again at the EXPO in Puyallup soon. (I will be teaching a hands on class this coming Expo.) If so I will say “Hi” again. Promise I wont ask for your autograph in the ladies room!!! Kim

  • Jo D
    November 29, 2014

    Nancy, I hope someday to meet you. Loved the book !!! To get me to say that is a bit unusual. I’m not a ‘reader’. Maybe one book a year. I was rivited. Hated toput the Kindle version down. Your story seems to touch everyone. Thank you!
    I did not have the health medical problems… my medical was quite extensive from an accident that rearranged my life and my body. Yet, my husband took a chance and bought me a new sewing machine… and I watched Sewing with Nancy every week. Andt aped the showto watch slowly. That was the old days of video tapes. Come over some time and we’ll drink tea, watch videoes, and laugh a lot. You are truely a friend of everyone. Thank you again!

  • Kathy Robinson
    November 29, 2014

    Hi Nancy! Can’t wait to read your book! A true, dear friend of mine just recommended the book “Wonder”. It’s about a disfigured little boy who has been home-schooled but goes to public school in 4th grade. A teacher writes a precept on the board once a month for the students to ponder their impact on their lives. One was something like this–“Is it better to be kind or right?” My friend said that really hit home with her because if she felt like she was right, she would argue that point and not worry if she had been kind. But, upon reading this book, she is rethinking life.

    She has never recommended a book to me before and I thought it strange, but I really want to read that book—and then I read about your book club and you asking for what books your readers have enjoyed. The puzzle pieces started to fit!

    Thank you for all you have done and are going to do! Kathy Robinson

  • Amelia M. McNairy
    November 29, 2014

    Rereading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. A great yearly book club theme is choosing books written by authors of our state.

  • Robin
    November 29, 2014

    Right now, I’m not in the middle of a book because I’m using my time to make Christmas gifts. However, recently I read ‘Mind Over Medicine’ by Lissa Rankin, MD. In it she talks about the body’s inner wisdom as a self-healing system. She discusses the role of creativity in healing both physical and mental illnesses. I can certainly attest that engaging in creative activities has helped me tremendously!

  • Berenice
    November 29, 2014

    Nancy, you have been such an inspiration, not only with your sewing amazingness (that’s a word, right?), but with the way your have always presented yourself with grace and dignity. My children had asked about your story and I was able to share what I knew of it. Now we can read and understand a little more and the girls can see what we have always taught about seeing beyond the external view of a person and that to see the shining light on the inside is true.

  • Linda
    November 29, 2014

    Dear Nancy,
    I ordered your book,received it and didn’t want to put it down. The way your parents treated you as a NORMAL girl had to be extremely hard………but was the right thing to do. Your strength,positive attitude and loving relationships with family, friends,business partners and employees should surprise me but it doesn’t. Your faith and relationship with God shows and I for 1 would be soooooooooo proud to meet and greet you some day! I am still a beginner in sewing but will love to make something big : a dress, pants maybe a blouse, because you encourage me. Thanks again and God bless.

  • Doreen Linehan
    November 29, 2014

    I have been reading Messages on the computer, How To Make A New Start a booklet and A Personal Guide to Self Healing on my kindle. Messages is an action novel and the other two are inspirational books. I would recommend all of them. I have not finished any of them yet but they have been very interesting.

  • Karyn Ashley-Smith
    November 29, 2014

    I haven’t read your book yet, but from the reviews, have just added it to my “must read” list. Bravo to you for braving your book club “in your skimpy swim suit”. I’m back in the land of the littles, and HIGHLY recommend “Trouble in the Ark” by Gerald Rose and “Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson 🙂

  • Debbie
    November 29, 2014

    I am reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Who is John Galt? It is a 1000 pager but reads easily and quickly. It was written in the industrial age of the 50’s. It’s scary polictics seem to have not changed in the current world and do not work, beware. They have created three movies from the book in this past couple of years.

    I was excited to order your book. You have been an inspiration to me for many years. Through the TV shows when I can see them, your video rental program of the 80’s, your kits, catalogs, and e-mail, and shopping at your store when visiting family, etc. Even the sewing/embroidery machine I have bought. I had no idea of your background and struggles, and growth. Thank you for sharing!

    P.S. I do not need to win a copy since I have one.

  • Patricia ONeal
    November 29, 2014

    A book i recently finished reading is entitled Before Amen by Max Lucado. Recommendation reasons (in no particular order): 1.) It’s a quick, enjoyable, and easy read. 2.) The reader is made to think and, at times, to laugh.. 3.) This book offers insight concerning prayer. Today’s world definitely needs more prayer. The only thing that the 12 disciples requested their leader to teach them was “how to pray”. This would be a wonderful gift book as well as a great book club read. Used as a book club choice would allow various people a chance to help others understand prayer. Just remember that this book is NOT dull reading. It has a way of holding your attention and making you want to read more and more…and even more. Happy Reading!

  • Janice
    November 29, 2014

    I would suggest “Mambo in Chinatown” by Jean Kwok. A young Chinese girl is a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant where her father is the noodle maker. She dreams of a better job but has trouble with reversing numbers and letters, so her job as a receptionist was short-lived. Her sister urges her to try again. A job at a dance studio opens a whole new world to her. The author was a professional dancer and makes you want to feel what the dancers feel. I can’t dance, no sense of rhythm and definitely not light on my feet. The story (possibly autobiographical in parts) is a fascinating look into two worlds – the closed world of New York’s Chinatown and the world of professional dancers. Definitely recommended.

  • Jennifer F
    November 29, 2014

    Through an interesting series of circumstances, your book ended up in my hands. You said your intent was to help others and I want you to know just how much it has helped my daughter who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in 2008. Until I read your book I had no idea that facial retraining existed. I immediately contacted the University of Wisconsin Medical Center and I took my daughter there in September. The experience has given her renewed hope and confidence as she works through the program Jackie Diels designed for her. Our most heartfelt thanks for sharing your story!

  • Heidi
    November 29, 2014

    Dtance of the Dissident Daughter. It is by Sue Monk, a well-known Christian author and author of The Secret Life of Bees. “Dance” is the story of Sue’s spiritual journey to connect to the sacred feminine in Protestant theology. It is a deeply personal tale and one that concludes that God is feminine and masculine and that women have an important, but neglected, role in the future of the Christian faiths. At some point every goes on a faith journey, perhaps this book will help you with yours. It crystallized mine.

  • Loretta Spangler
    November 29, 2014

    Among my recent reads has been “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Published in 2010, it narrates the story of World War 2 Army Air Force Bomber Louis Zamperini – Olympian, Army Lieutenant, castaway, captive. If possible, you should begin this book when you have a chunk of time to read, because you will not want to put it down.

  • Marlene Crow
    November 29, 2014

    Since you have been in my front room for many years, I certainly consider you my close friend.
    After my mother passed(1965) I was in the beginning phase of her teaching me so many things to keep my family “looking good”!
    When you came along there was a huge void you filled. I didn’t feel so alone. I taped your program for years, then came the blessed serger then the miraculous computerized embroider machines.
    You always jumped on board without hesitation and I kept on following you.
    At the age of 77 I never want to quit learning my beloved hobby with you at the “helm”!

    My family (and I’m sure thousands) find our families blessed with all the wonderful items you have helped us create. I have so many of your books but don’t have your new one yet. They are a little tattered in places but that means they have been “loved”!
    Lots of love and best wishes from all my sewing friends ,(Good Eats Sewing Circle) Ripon, Ca.
    Marlene Crow

  • Marty
    November 29, 2014

    Asked my librarian to order your book for patrons, and she said “I can’t wait to read it myself”. I like true-life stories like yours and the Bible, and I am actually a reader of quilting books and cookbooks but rarely non-fiction. Some of my long-time favorites which I’ve often re-read: “Boundaries” (by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend); “Silver Boxes” and “Dare to Dream” (both by Florence Littauer), “A Chance To Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael” (by Elisabeth Elliot) plus all books by Randy Alcorn and Anne Graham Lotz.

  • Jan F
    November 29, 2014

    The most memorable books I’ve read this year are a trilogy by Rosslyn Elliot. Starting with Fairer Than Morning, the series tells the tale of an Ohio family In the 1800’s, who despite their many problems, find ways to help escaped slaves find their way on the Underground Railroad. Based on a real family, this series would be great for any book club.

  • Taylor Anderson
    November 29, 2014

    “Fully Alive” by Timothy Shriver— he is a son of Eunice Shriver and has continued his mothers work of raising awareness of those with intellectual disabilities. He is currently the chairman of Special Olympics… The book is about how the most important lessons he’s learned in life have come from those that the world often ignores or casts aside. My mom has worked with autistic children for 20+ years and these are amazing people with so much to give. 🙂

  • Linda
    November 29, 2014

    A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki inspired many of us in our book club. It tells parallel tales of a teenager in Japan who is keeping a diary and the author on an island off British Columbia who finds the diary washed up on the shore. Its a peek into modern Japanese culture, a vision with the radical feminist Zen Buddhist great grandmother who “saves the teenager,” and a compassionate look at a college student conscripted as a Kamikaze pilot in WWII. So much to contemplate. Inspiring and very well written.

  • Jean
    November 29, 2014

    I read your book last summer when it first hit the shelves. Love it! My mother taught me to sew when I was about 9 but as an adult I became interested in the creative side of sewing. I had 2 boys and finding affordable clothes for them was a challenge. Your programs, books etc gave me the confidence to keep sewing and learning.Your impact on my life is not something to be said in just a few sentences. Your story is that same inspiration; to keep going forward and learning. Please never retire- or else that will mean I am too old to keep being creative. Thank you for that wonderful book!

  • Kelly Sasman
    November 30, 2014

    Right now I am reading My Honor Flight by Dan McCurrigan. I only read biographies, autobiographies, and historical novels. Shame on me – I can’t believe I haven’t read yours yet! Just ordered it for my Kindle, but would love to have the hard copy. I collect autographed copied of autobiographies and would love to add yours to my collection someday.

  • Tina
    November 30, 2014

    This was a great topic. I am getting such good suggestions for books to read myself or to give as gifts from the commenters. This year I read True Grit by Charles Portis which I really enjoyed. My all time favorite that I recommend is Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison, which although is a 3 hour movie is considered a novella. Beautiful writing and very moving. My daughter is even named Tristan.

  • Erin M
    November 30, 2014

    Dear Nancy, I must purchase your book to read your inspiring life story. You have been a part of my life for many years and even my husband knows your name and business! I just finished reading Joni Eareckson Tada’s autobiography called “Joni, An Unforgettable Story.” Her diving accident at age 17 left her a quadriplegic, she suffered from depression and tremendous struggles, but God brought her through all of this to lead a ministry to disabled persons and their family members as well as wheelchair distribution across the world. I would love to read your story, because no doubt God has been using you in wonderful ways to touch many of us through the years. Each one of us is precious to the Lord and He wants to use the full potential in each of us. Thank you for what you have meant to me!

  • JeannieSue Anderson
    November 30, 2014

    Wow, Lady! Just read all the comments and they are true and appropriate. I do not have your book and hope to get it. We live in a rural area and my husband has special needs that seem to take up most of our recreation time and sewing is my recreation, but so is crocheting which I can do and keep my husband company at the same time. (We were married in 2012 and I’ve just turned 79. There is so much I want to do, but seem to not have the time. However, I do have one of your books you published some years back about sewing a few minutes at a time. We have not unpacked all our books as yet and it is probably in one of those boxes. It is a big help, but I need to follow your precepts stated in it. For now, crocheting will have to do.

  • Judy Forkner
    December 1, 2014

    Hi Nancy! I love to read & love to share the books that I read with others. Recent books my book club has read are:
    “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple
    “The Chaperone” Can’t remember the author
    “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion
    Some of the books we will be reading this year:
    “Orphan Train” by Kristina Baker Kline
    “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd
    “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo

  • Denise Swanson
    December 1, 2014

    While trying to learn sewing skills over the last year or so I’ve seen your name in many places and eventually learned you had a television show, but I’ve never seen it. Some how I came across your website a couple of weeks ago and joined to receive emails. I’m so glad I did. This is the first I’ve heard of your book. I ordered it yesterday and just can’t wait to receive it. Blessings!

  • Liz Myszka
    December 1, 2014

    A guy at work recommended “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. As I hadn’t picked up anything yet for my trip to the beach, I accepted his offer of his copy, not expecting much. It is a MUST READ! One of the best books I have ever read, didn’t want to put it down. I highly recommend reading it before the movie comes out.

    And I love your show!

  • Kitty R.
    December 2, 2014

    I like the dog in the last picture, it looks like it is just part of the gang. One of my favorite books is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. It was a good read.

  • Erma Desper
    December 4, 2014


    I’ve watched your show for years and love all the projects! I love how organized you are and how calm you seem to be when working on a project. I love to sew and am now into embroidery. I’m always in a hurry when I sew and am anything but organized. I have learned so much from you!

  • Diane
    December 18, 2014

    I’m in the process of reading The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It’s one of Oprah’s Book Club books. It’s very interesting about life in the 1100’s and the building of a cathedral. While reading it I put it aside to read Seams Unlikely. I loved your book and couldn’t put it down. It was like reading about a friend. Thank you for writing it and for all your informative programs. Another book I recently read and found hard to put down was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

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