Gail Yellen — Gail Patrice Design

Gail Yellen lives in Glastonbury, CT. She has a BA in English and an AS in Dental Hygiene from Northeastern University. She practiced dental hygiene for 20 years in one office and loved (almost) every minute and patient!  So how did she become one of the most popular sewing teachers in the country?

Teaching at Sewing & Stitchery Expo

Teaching at Sewing & Stitchery Expo

Although Gail loved sewing since she was a teen, she didn’t begin to think of it as an artistic expression until about 15 years ago when she took a sewing class at a local sewing machine center. It was a transformative day in her life. She spent so much time at the store soaking up every tidbit of knowledge, they asked her to join their staff. Eventually she began to design class projects and garments and her “accidental career” began.

A friend had a summer gallery in Islesboro, Maine. Gail created some artsy jackets to sell and they sold out quickly. Gail created a line of jacket and skirt patterns with simple, flattering lines that provide a perfect backdrop for a wide variety of embellishment techniques, and Gail Patrice Design was born.

Gail loves teaching hands-on serger technique classes and sewing machine embellishment classes. Her students always asked, “Do you have a book?”  She finally decided to write a book — It’s All About Embellishment!, published in 2012. The book is based on her hands-on workshop. Gail says you don’t need to be an expert sewer or own a top of the line machine to do the techniques. It’s geared for all sewing levels. She loves experimenting — sometimes ideas pop into her head just as she’s drifting off to sleep (who knows from where) and she jumps up to write them down or actually go into her sewing room to “play.”

Collage It! Counterpoints Jacket

Collage It!
Counterpoints Jacket

For many reasons, her favorite sewing project is the first Collage It! Counterpoints Jacket. Gail says, “My mother died in 2008 and I saved her beautiful tone-on-tone collection of sweaters with the intention of doing “something” with them. After felting them, I combined them in a collaged jacket design. The jacket was a learning process that has undergone numerous revisions and improvements. Shortly after the jacket was finished, American Sewing Guild announced its 2009 contest — ReMake, ReUse, ReStyle. The jacket met all of the contest guidelines — how often does that ever happen with a finished project? Sent in the photos, filled out the entry form and it was one of the Top 3 winners! This jacket is dear to my heart and is always a crowd favorite at sewing events.”

Teaching 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know on Craftsy has connected Gail to sewers all over the world!  She loves receiving questions and comments from around the globe. “I believe in consulting with an expert if I’m not sure of the best answer. Rhonda Pierce is my ‘go to’ expert on a needle question, and I would never use anything but a SCHMETZ needle.”

Gail with friend & helper, assistant, Pam Schneider

Gail with friend & helper,
assistant, Pam Schneider

Gail gets sparks of inspiration everywhere, but when asked to pinpoint one, she quickly said, “other sewers. The wellspring of creativity that flows from sewers is endless and the generosity of sharing knowledge equals it. Pinterest has become a source of visual images and I love creating new ‘Boards’.  Rummaging through my fabric stash is always an inspiration for me — as well as my button collection. Sooner or later, I incorporate everything into garment embellishment motifs.”

“Sewing has brought so many things to my life. At home it’s my “me” time — therapeutic, meditative and creative. Teaching and sharing my knowledge is an instant and very satisfying connection with new friends.”