Gail Yellen – Part II

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Gail dressing mannequins at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Gail dressing mannequins at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Gail Yellen of Gail Patrice Design was one of the first people to be interviewed for SCHMETZ Inspired To Sew magazine (http://tinyurl.com/o9stv3d). Since that time, Gail has established her reputation as a most knowledgeable, entertaining speaker and her workshops and classes are among the hottest tickets on the sewing circuit.

When she began teaching sewing classes, Gail’s initial focus was on garment embellishment. She struck a chord with that topic, and soon Gail was receiving invitations from stores and guilds all across the country.

The popularity of that topic was the inspiration for her first self-published book, It’s All About Embellishment.  Gail has been featured at numerous American Sewing Guild chapter events, from Boston to California, Florida to Texas and lots of places in-between.

Gail says, “I’ve been a member of the American Sewing Guild for 15 years and it’s been a big gift in my life. Because I’ve presented to so many Chapters across the country, when I attend the Annual National Conference, it’s like a big cross-country reunion.  The men (yes there are a few!) and women range in sewing skills from novice to couture and everyone is welcoming, encouraging and loves to share their passion for sewing. At local Neighborhood Group meetings, if someone has a question or sewing dilemma, there’s always a member who can give you the solution. There are so many talented sewists, it is inspiring to see their creations.  I can’t say enough good things about ASG!”

Stunning serger stitches from Gail Yellen that you can do too!

Stunning serger stitches that you can do too!

Her first experience teaching at the ASG National Conference in Atlanta, GA was very stressful.  The day before the conference, Maria Trevino called from ASG Headquarters. An instructor had an emergency and had to bow out at the last minute. Maria asked Gail to present a serger workshop to fill in for the sold out class.  She put 25 Cosmetic Serger-y kits together in one afternoon and got on the road the next day. It was a big hit!

In September 2015, she was in Sacramento, California for the Gold County Chapter of the ASG Fall Event and Workshop. Their report was “Gail Yellen delighted members with a hands on Serger-y 101 Workshop.  This workshop gave members the opportunity to learn new skills to embellish projects using their sergers.  The following day members enjoyed a delicious luncheon and listened as Gail continued to provide more ideas with her Trunk Show and Lecture, I Know How to Do It, but Where Do I Put It?

Collage It! Gail Yellen in the classroom.

Collage It! Gail in the classroom.

The downside of being such a popular speaker is that her busy travel schedule contributed to a diagnosis of pneumonia AND a severe case of laryngitis.

Consumer sewing shows quickly became a big part of Gail’s annual schedule.  She was invited to teach at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Minnesota.  She also was a featured speaker at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington.  In 2013, Gail started teaching at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan.

Janet Pray, Founder of American Sewing Expo, says, “Gail came to teach at ASE just a few short years ago and rose in popularity immediately. Her expertise using the serger is unsurpassed. Gail is a superior teacher with a friendly no-stress approach that makes her classes fun and relaxing as well as highly educational. It doesn’t get any better than that!  This year, Gail taught three of her excellent serger classes and they SOLD OUT early!”

Gail received The 2015 Teacher of the Year Award from the American Sewing Expo.  On her Facebook page, Gail writes, “Receiving the 2015 Teacher of the Year Award at the American Sewing Expo was a huge unexpected honor. Thank you to everyone for your good wishes and messages. (And thank you to everyone who voted for me!) Janet Pray, Jessica Johnson, Brenda Rogerson and the whole ASE staff work all year to make this event special and their efforts are much appreciated.”

At some point in her sewing teacher/traveling journey — Gail Yellen became the new SERGER GURU.  At every store, every guild event, every consumer workshop — the most frequent questions were about sergers.  Many women loved their sergers, but really didn’t understand the basics of this fabulous little machine.  Often, they lived in fear of having to re-thread their serger.  Gail’s serger classes gained so much popularity and national exposure, she was approached by F&W Publishing and asked to write a book about sergers.

Serger Essentials by Gail YellenGail wrote Serger Essentials — Master the Basics and Beyond!  Serger Essentials is targeted to all levels of serger owners.  What sets it apart from other serger books is that Gail discusses how careful handling of the fabric while stitching is just as important as getting the machine settings correct.   She has developed clear, understandable explanations of the various serger components and how they affect a stitch.

It’s All About Embellishment, Gail’s first book, was self-published.  Her second book, Serger Essentials, was published by the largest publisher in the sewing industry.  When asked which method she preferred, Gail laughed and said, “The work is the same.  Writing a book is like giving birth to a baby.  The biggest difference is that when you self-publish, you are calling all the shots.  But you are also writing all the checks!  Working with a publisher, I had the benefit of F&W’s professional staff of editors and photographers.  And THEY write the checks.  It is a much different process but I love both books, and F&W has been wonderful to work with.  They saw my vision, and I am excited about partnering with them to market Serger Essentials.”

To complement Serger Essentials, Gail also launched Serger Tip Clips through her web site www.gailpatrice.com.  A new Serger Tip Clip will go up on the website once a week.  Gail understands how much easier it is to learn things by SEEING them demonstrated.  And in the digital world we live in, she is excited about taking advantage of this new learning element.  The videos will take one tip or technique and break it down in less than 5 minutes.

Gail Yellen never imagined this career happening.  Becoming a teacher and author wasn’t something she had planned for herself.  She says, “Meeting sewing enthusiasts and sharing the creative process is what inspires me. Although it wasn’t exactly accidental, my sewing career feels like a wonderful surprise.   It is a special part of my life and I feel very fortunate to be a member of the sewing community.”

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.”

www.gailpatrice.com/