Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sewing on TV

I wish there were more sewing shows on TV. In my area, I have the choice of watching Sewing with Nancy, Love of Quilting and America Sews. These three shows are broadcast on PBS beginning at 6:00 AM on Saturday. Who wants to get up at 6:00 AM on a Saturday - even to watch a sewing TV show? Thankfully, I have DVR! I watch theses shows (well, not America Sews) because they are the only games in town. I really miss Sew Much More with Susan Khalje and Sew Perfect with Sandra Betzina. These shows featured primarily garment sewing and were geared toward an experienced sewer. Sewing with Nancy has been on TV for 25 years! I guess she's covered just about everything there is to cover in the realm of sewing.

Why is it we have 100's of cable TV channels, many of them programming for specific niche audiences, yet so few sewing shows? (Project Runway doesn't really count.) Seems to me, DIY or HGTV or even the Style Network are perfect venues for sewing shows. We can watch people play poker or fish on TV, yet we can't learn to improve our welt pockets! Where is the justice in that? Maybe I'm living in the past. Maybe there really isn't a market for sewing on TV anymore. When a programmer schedules a show at 6:00 o'clock on a Saturday morning, he doesn't expect a lot of viewers. Web TV and other digital formats may be the future, but I miss curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and learning something about sewing. Sandra Betzina and Alex Anderson have moved their shows to the internet. David Page Coffin has written a book on making pants with an accompanying DVD-ROM. But, it's hard to curl up and get comfortable in front of a monitor at a desk. If I insist on watching sewing shows on a TV screen, DVDs are an option, so I've begun to buy DVD's to satisfy my Sewing on TV addiction.

Which brings me to my next complaint – where are the sewing celebrities of the future? I think Kenneth King would have a great sewing show! I've seen him as a guest on Sew Much More and I read about the class LindsayT took with him. His designs are a little too "over the top" for my taste, but the techniques demonstrated (and featured in his book, Cool Couture) were fantastic. Does anyone have information on sewing TV shows they'd like to share?


  1. I took Kenneth King's moulage class, and he is HILARIOUS. I agree, he'd be wonderful on TV.

  2. Actually, KK was on a series years ago. I think it was sponsored by Bernina. The hostess was Nancy Fleming (?) a former Miss America. I think I have one episode recorded. Nancy interviewed Geoffry Beene, then KK demonstrated some techniques.

  3. I have often wondered about this same dilemma. Who is going to take the torch? Jennifer Sterns seems a likely candidate. Also Pam Ptak(?). Ideally the next star would be hip, with a young viewpoint, and v. knowledgeable. I don't care about educational cred but the ability to sew impeccably a stylish garment with no "kitch". Don't you wish Tany lived in the US? Yes, Tany would be perfect!

    I also agree, Nancy has pretty much touched it all, but I would love to see her repeat for the sake of emphasizing garment sewing. Quilters keep edging the garment sewists out for some reason....Kenneth King would be very entertaining.....Bunny

  4. I'd watch Kenneth on TV. The man is a hoot!

  5. We get nothing even vaguely sewing related in Australia. If you like motor racing, rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules, tennis or any other ball sport you can name, you are well catered for here. If you like cooking you are well catered for, too. Even home renovations are pretty well covered. I'd watch anything, presented by anyone, if it was sewing related!

  6. First to begin, fabulous post
    I had forgotten about the sewing shows on PBS on Saturdays so thanks for making a note on that
    I will be tuning in because I do get up early regardless
    I think that they is a greater need for sewing shows because a lot of people have gotten on the bandwagon of sewing there own clothes and loving it.
    I think nothing ever gets done without the out cry of customers, tv stations base there viewing of shows on ratings to maybe we need to write to the stations and emphasis the need to more shows, instead of being silent and hoping they will do it without any input from us.
    Thought into action, I always say.
    take care

  7. I found your blog on Faye's and you must have read my mind. I love Sewing with Nancy, I think I've been watching her for 20 of her 25 yrs and I have learned a lot, she was pretty much my only resource when I started sewing.I LOVE Sandra Betzina, she use to have a weekly column in my local paper, I still have copies of it in my sewing journal. I wholeheartly agree with you we need more sewing shows and from the blogs I read there's no shortage of potential host/hostesses. Great post.

  8. Sew much more with Susan Khalje, Sew Perfect with Sandra Betzina and Simply quilts with Alex Henderson was the reason I paid extra to get HGTV. I also watch sewing with Nancy and Martha's sewing room. I recorded 99% of those shows. I am totally disgusted with television programming. You have to pay money to view Sandra Betzina on line. It's not the same. How do you save those shows for future reference, most of the show allow unlimited access for 1-year, then is over. Of course you can buy dvd of those shows. So you wind up paying twice.
    It is such a disservice to the home sewing community

  9. Hi, I have been reading your blog sporadically for awhile but haven't posted before. I REALLY miss Shirley Adams, now that is one talented sewist. She is above Betzina for me, too bad she isn't on TV any more. Check out her site.

  10. Very interesting comments. I am working on the development of a sewing tv show as I agree that it is a void that needs filling. As I am researching the need aspect at the momment I will be checking back to see if those following this blog are indeed interested in this type of programming.
    I need to show that viewers are out there in order to make a presentation to the producers.

  11. I used to sew years ago, and although I have done some here and there, I am just getting back into it. It seems to me that if people are going to pay anywhere from $3, 000- $12,000 for machines that embroider, quilt and sew - that there is a market for a TV show. I found this blog searching for shows on TV. Although classes are available with the purchase of the machine, some of us have small children or in my case, a special needs adult that we care for and can't always get out to take classes. I really support sewing shows on TV.