Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to watch those sewing shows

Oh Fuh Gawd.

Every single Saturday morning I record and watch sewing shows on television. Our local PBS station airs "Sewing with Nancy (Zieman)" and "Martha's (Pullen) Sewing Room". They no longer air "America Quilts Creatively" and "America Sews" with Sue Hausmann. My friend Elizabeth tried to view them after she purchased her fancy schmancy embroidery machine and decided it wasn't worth sitting through. "How do you watch that? It's horrible!" she asked.


And I'll tell ya how:
  • Record ahead of time. Do NOT watch live!
  • Have your remote control handy
  • Fast forward through the countless sponsors
  • Fast forward through the theme music
  • Shoo all small children from the room because you will curse at some point during the next 25 minutes or at the very minimum, roll your eyes and sigh heavily.
  • Fast forward through small talk with guests
  • Stop when actual demonstrations begin
  • Decide if you will ever need or use that particular demonstration technique. Example: I don't quilt but will use bias tape binding on other projects. Hand embroidery, yes. Ribbon embroidery, no.
  • Watch demonstrations you need, fast forward through others. The more you watch, the more you learn how to adapt the techniques to other projects.
  • Understand that the entire show is funded by a sewing machine manufacturer and they will demonstrate specific features on the newest/highest priced machines on the market. Features your sewing machine doesn't have.


  • Martha Pullen wears the most God-awful homemade crap and repeats the same stoopid shit on every show. If it sparkles, it's "diamonds". She has rhymes for ironing. She loves dupioni silk (She seems to feel that she is the first person to discover the fabric.) Glass heads pins are the only kind she uses. Heirloom sewing is her specialty. Doll clothing, too. You heard me. Dolls! Creeps me out. If you are an old lady sewing tiny heirloom dresses from silk dupioni for a doll - you need some new meds. And her voice goes up, up, up when doll or baby clothing is shown. Your neighbor's dogs will begin barking. Hurry, grab the remote. Fast forward through the antique heirloom apparel demonstration at the end. Same for the viewer letter. There, you have watched exactly 7 minutes of her show.


  • Nancy Zieman has an entire empire based on sewing and everything she demonstrates can be purchased. No free downloads on her site, unless it is truly horrible. Nancy opines about "what is hot in fashion" and presents her version of it but I'd bet she's never attended a designer runway show nor picked up a fashion magazine. A sewing convention is probably her only exposure to the outside world. She isn't nearly as corny as Martha, typically dresses better unless it is an embellished jacket. All those sewing ladies love a heinous embellished jacket. If the ugly jacket looks like you would put it on your great grandmother at the nursing home because you're sure the staff wouldn't steal it, these ladies would love it. The older the lady, the shinier the jacket. Fast forward through the introduction, watch the demos and fast forward through to the end. End-of-show Nancy segments included recipes, viewer letters and exercise tips. Cancel.


  • Watch anything with Sue Hausmann first to get it out of your way. Make sure you hit that button the very second the show begins to avoid the fake cheerful greeting and smile of the mentally challenged. Fast forward through the chatter. Decide that Sue's jacket is the ugliest of all. She will wear anything a guest brings her. Play your own Saturday morning drinking game and have a sip every time Sue snatches something out of a guest's hands or interrupts. You will be soused in 20 minutes. She is rude, I tell ya! Watch how many times Sue tilts her head back to view out of her bi-focals.

By now, you are wondering WHY the hell I watch these shows and must admit I've learned a few sewing tips and techniques but geez Louise, I had to earn it! Hopefully, a new generation of sewing show ladies are working their way through the ranks and will bring some youth and style to the moth-ball smelling current offerings.

2 comments:

Louisiana Momma said...

DIY used to show some more hip type sewing shows but it seems a lot of them have disappeared..

Skitzo Leezra said...

You're right, La Mom, haven't seen anything but re-runs of Uncommon Threads lately.