Early Wednesday morning, Barton County 4-H Clothing, Fiber Arts and Fashion Revue participants convened at Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Bend for annual judging prior to fair of sewing, fiber arts and buymanship projects the youth have been working on for the past year.
Judges include experienced sewers from outside the district. Katie Buehler came all the way from Pratt to offer her advice to Level 1 and 2 sewers. The recent Pratt High School graduate has been sewing since she was three, she said, and was taught primarily by her mother.
Her eye for detail was tempered by her care and compassion for the young sewers who proudly handed her their first sewing projects.
Recognizing her camp counselor from 4-H camp earlier in the summer, Jayla Wyant smiled and began laying out her projects with the help of her mom. She brought two skirts she had made for her sister and herself. They planned to also model their outfits at the Fashion Revue to be held that evening.
Jayla also brought a clever apron she’d made specifically for collecting eggs laid by chickens she and her family raise at home.
Elsa Lopez was next, arriving with several projects she’d learned to sew at Barton County Extension’s Third Saturday Sewing clinics. For her non-wearable projects, she brought a pillow, a “10-minute table runner,” and a kitchen towel with a flap to attach it to the kitchen stove. She also brought a simple sundress she had made, with matching accessories her mother helped her with. Elsa also planned to model a traditional Mexican outfit in the modeling competition.
With so many young 4-Hers interested in modeling their garments and outfits they’d put together for the buymanship project, Miss Barton County, Hannah Mauler, came to offer tips for how the young fashionistas should carry themselves and pose on the runway.
The trick, she shared, was remembering to walk in a triangle, stopping at each point to allow judges to see both the front and the back of the outfit.
“Make sure you smile the whole time,” she said. “When you are done, the judge is going to talk to you. Be sure to hold your hands together to the side so you don’t twiddle with your fingers or play with your clothing, which is distracting to the judge and all their attention is not on you.”
After a brief demonstration, each 4-Her took a turn at walking their triangles as Mauler smiled and offered feedback.
“If you are nervous about looking at the judge, then look right above their heads,” she said. “Good luck, relax, and take a deep breath. It’s just a judge.”
After the morning session, projects were awarded ribbons and those that would not be modeled later that evening at the Crest Theater for the 2016 Barton County 4-H Clothing, Fiber Arts and Fashion Revue were packaged to travel to Expo 2 for display at the 2016 Barton County Fair to be held July 6-10 at the fairgrounds west of Great Bend.