About Us

BERNINA of Naperville welcomes all sewists from all aspects of creativity. Whether you are a quilter, crafter or cosplayer, we are your resource. We want to nurture your passion for garments, cosplay, quilting, home décor, fiber art and more by empowering you with the highest-quality products, education, and customer support through your sewing life. 

A shop that encourages creativity no matter what aspect of sewing is enjoyed. Your unique sewing experience is the brainchild of Gayle Schliemann and Chris Donahue.  Both Gayle and Chris have had fulfilling experiences sewing, making and traveling, which has translated into the BERNINA of Naperville vibe.

Gayle Schliemann

Co-owner, Marketer and Instructor

Just a few minutes spent with Gayle and you’d be shocked to learn that ‘creativity’ is in fact not her middle name. She simply oozes with it. It has fueled her passion in so many areas including all things sewing, writing, theatre, Cosplay and trapeze to name just a few. Gayle purchased her first BERNINA in 1995 and fell in love with the brand. In 2005, she opened her own BERNINA store, Strawberry & Rhubarb. It wasn’t long before BERNINA Corporate came calling and she sold her successful store to become a BERNINA Sales Manager and eventually the Marketing Manager of Promotions and Sponsorships. And now, with tons of experience and loads of creativity later, she and her creative cohort Chris Donahue are co-owners of BERNINA of Naperville!

Chris Donahue

Co-owner and Technician

No stranger to extreme creativity himself, Chris is both driven and naturally talented in a multitude of areas including engineering, theatre, trapeze, juggling, sewing and Cosplay. His mathematical abilities were honed at the engineering mothership, Microsoft, until he retired in 2012. His keen problem-solving coupled with his creative prowess help create the spectacular Cosplay-type costumes he and Gayle continue to collaborate on. Chris’s skilled tailoring, expert maker abilities and creative ideas flourish on BERNINA machines. Come see for yourself that show-and-tell is alive and well at BERNINA of Naperville where Chris, and co-owner and creative companion Gayle Schliemann, are forever made to create!

Our Team