Talk to any quilter and there’s a good chance Jenny Doan’s name will come up. As the founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company, she’s helped popularize pre-cut quilting and a host of other techniques through both her physical shop and YouTube, where she’s featured hundreds of tutorials. No doubt, she’s one of the biggest and most popular names in the industry.
In How to Stitch an American Dream, Doan explores her transformation from a little girl with an interest in sewing to a stitching maven. With her trademark homey voice, she weaves together anecdotes about raising seven children, finding love, and taking a risk on a new career—all while considering how her faith influenced these moments. It’s not so much a rags-to-riches story as a scraps-to-quilt tale.
Unfortunately, her life hasn’t been all batting and jelly rolls, and Doan doesn’t shy away from confronting darker moments, including the dissolution of an abusive marriage and also financial financial difficulty following the 2008 recession. Even while recounting these difficult memories, Doan maintains a bright disposition that never wavers. This in no way lessens these accounts. Instead, her approach heightens their impact. She perseveres on the idea everything will eventually work out fine and, by the simple act of her writing this book, in many ways, she’s right.
It’s an idea she returns to time and again in stories good, bad, or indifferent. From some of the worst home renovation projects featured in print to buying her first long arm quilting machine, Doan breezes through them with a this-will-be-fine attitude. It’s the type of folksiness usually reserved for farmhouse memoirs. However, here Doan always feels genuine—and it helps she knows how to spin a good yarn.
In perhaps one of the most whimsical moments featured, in the mid-90s, Doan’s husband had a sudden idea to move to Missouri—a state neither of them had a connection to. While initially reluctant, Doan eventually agreed, and they ended up in Hamilton. Coming from anyone else, this scenario would be cause for alarm.
From Doan? Well, it turned out just fine, didn’t it?
just reviewed How to Stitch an American Dream by Jenny Louise Doan.
A look on the life of an entrepreneur and her family. Hope the book includes photos, too.
I have been an amateur quilter and sewer for a long time and like a lot of people have seen many of Jenny’s famous ‘YouTube’ tutorials, so when I saw this book come up, I knew that it would be for me. Jenny Doan’s positivity and determination shine through in this book and boy did she need to have those attributes in spades when dealing with some of the things in her life. From running away from the family home to marry at the age of 19 and then making the courageous decision to leave that marriage with two small children, to starting up her own business, which is today an internationally renowned company, this book covers it all. Jenny meets every obstacle with her own inimitable steely determination and trust in her faith. The decision to move the family to the small town of Hamilton Missouri seems to have been the making of her. And the quilt making that she had seen her grandmother do when she was little sewed a grain of an idea which has seen The Missouri Star Quilt Company become the largest supplier of pre-cut quilting fabric in the United States, and her quilting tutorial channel is now one of the biggest on You Tube. She also seems to have turned Hamilton into Quilting Central USA. Her story is truly inspiring, and this book was an engaging enjoyable and very interesting read.
I'm a sucker for memoirs and throw in quilting and I'm hooked. I loved learning more about he Missouri star Quilt Company that I now want to visit. It's at the top of my travel bucket list. Th
There are so many reasons I wanted to read this book when I saw the cover. Number one and most importantly, I love Jenny Doan. Like many of you I have never met her personally but she comes into my house weekly. She has taught me so much. Encouraging me countless times to continue my love of quilting. She has such a quick wit and she is so down to earth. If you read this book, her voice comes through her writing. I found her to be candidly honest about where she came from, her family and her faith. My two loves are reading and quilting. Jenny gave me both in her story. It was simply written in her own words. I enjoyed that and I had a hard time putting it down.
I want to thank Harper Horizon through NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book. The opinions in the review are my own.
There aren't many celebrities in the world of quilting, but Jenny Doan is one. Long time quilters and even the most recent beginners have watched her witty, informative YouTube videos, and many of us have the made the trek to the Hamilton, Missouri, the mecca of fabric arts, a town brought back to life by Doan's family company Missouri Star Quilt Company. HOW TO STITCH AN AMERICAN DREAM is told in Jenny's homey, down-to-earth voice. She relates the challenges she and husband Ron faced as they raised 6 children (one a nephew) in California and then in Missouri. While the 1980's and 90's aren't exactly decades recognized for valuing old fashioned values and endeavors, it was during that time that Jenny sewed garments for all her kids, gardened, canned and preserved what food they raised or was given to them, refurbished multiple dilapidated houses and filled in her spare time by homeschooling the kids! Hardships abounded but the Doans always relied on their faith. When the loss of a house forced the family to rethink their future, both Jenny and Ron listened to God and set out for Hamilton, Missouri, a place neither knew anything about. I call myself a "wanneabe quilter" because although I've made dozens of quilts, my skills are still quite limited. Jenny's innovative ideas and time-saving short cuts are life-savers for me. Watching one of her videos is pure entertainment, better than any television show. A few years ago when my brother consented to make a side trip to Hamilton on the way back to Wisconsin from Branson, I was in heaven. When I heard she had written a book, I knew that I had to read it. If you have quilters on your holiday list, give them this book. They will be delighted. Now that I've read her version of how MSQC came to be, I want to return to Hamilton and soak in even more of the great quilt story. I received a copy of this title from Netgalley, All opinions are mine.
This is a wonderful story of living within your means and having a successful life. Jenny Doan was not always a successful business owner. In fact this happened later in life. She was a young mother with many children doing the best she could. This is about living a good life on very little and people helping her on the way. Without this help this may never have happened. Her son helped her start the business that had phenomenal growth. Jenny did not expect this to happen. It was definitely a surprise.
I would recommend this book to everyone. It is about perseverance and believing that things will turn out for the best. It is a very uplifting read.
Thank you to #netgalley, @HarperHorizon, and @JennyDoan for a copy of this inspirational read.
This is the behind-the-scenes look at how Missouri Star Quilt Company came to be so popular and so important. Jenny tells her story of her humble beginnings and how she steadily built her store and brand. I loved reading this book!
As a quilter, I found this very interesting. You can still hear Jenny's 'voice" come through the writing. I've not had the privilege to see her in person, just her tutorials. The stories are interesting. She doesn't drag anything out, but gives you the important information (kind of like her tutorials). I am so glad I heard about this book and hope to one day meet her. She just seems like a genuinely nice person.
Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Quilting is Love
How to Stitch an American Dream is not just a book about one person or a company, but about a family of crafters passing down a legacy of self-starters. Jenny Doan, the creator of the now famous Missouri Star Quilt Company, has made quilting fun and accessible to quilters of all skill sets.
How does a useful hobby become a successful business? Work hard at what makes you happy. Filled with kindness and wisdom, Jenny’s story encourages readers to learn from life. This story is not easy, and like quilting, it takes a lot of small ideas stitched together, and doesn’t always turn out according to plan. This fluid story format does read like a biography, and has a slower more meandering writing feel. With more emphasis on Jenny and her family, with quilting toward the end.
All of Jenny’s life stories lead up to a remarkable family and business. Her strong faith has gotten her through many challenges in her life, and her strong spirit has help her overcome them. She found community when she needed it the most, and now tries to share that experience with others. It’s nice to read parts in Ron’s perspective as well. The little bits of quilting history are very interesting to read, including a few yummy recipes at the end of the book. This is an honest look into the creation of Missouri Star Quilt Company, and a great book for fans.
I was familiar with Missouri Star Quilting in Hamilton Missouri, but did not know the whole story of Jenny and her family. I could not put this book down. Jenny filled this book with so much love for her family. This is truly a rags to riches story but Jenny is the same Jenny today as she was all those years ago. Jenny shares her faith and her family with us throughout the story. She always managed to make the best of all their situations. She is a real inspiration to us all but especially to someone that wants to start a small business. She helped turn the town of Hamilton around. She credits her hard work and the hard work of her family along with her faith for being able to build this business. I have order from them and you do get a personalized handwritten message with each order. Even if you are not a quilter you will enjoy the journey of her story.
Doan delivers a terrific read. It’s so cheerful. Her cheerful demeanor resonates throughout the book and it’s much needed in these times. I’m sure she had controversy and conflict in her life, but she skates over troubled parts in her life to focus on her family and cheerful spirit. I love quilts and reading about quilting and fabrics, but I don’t quilt at all. It’s soothing to read about and fantastic her company is so successful. It’s an American made story that you don’t want to miss.
Let me start out by saying that I am a fan of Jenny Doan. I've been to Hamilton Missouri to shop, I watch her YouTube channel and I've ordered from her website. I will also say that I admire what she did with the help of her family. I think she is the queen of "when life gives you lemons...." for sure.
So about this book. I was excited to be able to read an advance copy from NetGalley and started to read it right away. However the deeper I got into it the less I liked it.
Jenny starts out telling us about her early life and how her family came to be. She was very brave and honest to share the pain and abuse from her first marriage and I thought she did a great job telling us how she got through it and how helpful the support from her parents was. But from there? It just kind of went downhill for me. She was not shy in explaining how important her faith is to her and telling us she belongs to the Church of Latter Day Saints. She reminded us a lot of that, she prays about everything and God always answers her prayers. From meeting her second husband to raising seven children it is all written from a very positive viewpoint. We never really hear about how hard it was to lose a house and live in the basement with a relative because all we were told is "we made it fun". Okay that's great and all but I just didn't believe everything was always so hunky dory. Every time they had to move to a new house it most always was derelict and needed massive amounts of work. Having done projects like this I know that while there is some fun, much of it isn't all peaches and cream, yet we never hear the hard parts. Stories of people helping them over and over are great but I guess I just don't believe it was all sunshine.
The book was told in a very folksy kind of way and it was just a little over the top in my opinion.
One of the best parts of the book for me was when she wrote about her son Alan who really was the one who spearheaded the whole business. Jenny wrote him in such a realistic way that I really could see him working hour after hour to get it going.
Again I admire her but I just wish she would have written a little more real life into her book.
What an amazing story to read.
I never new anything of the MSQC before this book. I knew of the shop and Jenny’s face, but that is it.
Well , reading her story really gave me a warm feeling, and also brought tears with the knowledge of all the good Jenny and Ron have received in their younger years, to all the love and good they both give back to anyone who needs it.
Such big hearts in the couple and their family.
Thankyou for sharing your story Jenny.
I will remember many things you have done for the rest of my life and hope I can be a better person/quilter with inspiration from you.
Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for giving me the opportunity to review this book. I knew absolutely nothing about quilting when I started this book. This was a fun quick read that gives background on the family that basically revolutionized how people quilt.