4-H Fashion Show At The Florida State Fair Teaches Skills & More

By:
Ami Neiberger

Source(s):
Joy Jordan (352) 846-1000

TAMPA-If you think sewing has gone out of style, you don’t know the full story. One hundred youth ages 8-18 competed in the 4-H Fashion Show at the Florida State Fair in Tampa last weekend. And if you think sewing is just for girls, think again. There were 16 boys competing.

The contestants sewed clothing for themselves or someone else and modeled it before the judges and a crowd of onlookers at the state fairgrounds. They were able to demonstrate sewing skills and build self-esteem, according to Joy Jordan, associate professor in the department of family, youth and comunity sciences at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. She said that contest participation is up 30 percent over last year.

In an age when most kids shop for their clothes at the mall, why are so many kids sewing? Kids say it’s because they have a good time doing it, and they like using their creativity.

“Sewing is fun and I like to make things,” said Israel Mahoney, 8, of Davenport near Haines City. He received first place for his blue plaid-trimmed bath robe with matching pajamas in the My Choice category. It wasn’t his first project, he’s also made pillows and a tote bag.

Sewing is a family activity for the Mahoneys. His older sister, Christy Mahoney, 11, competed in the Sewing for Others category, winning first place for a dress she made for her twin sister, Katie. Christy had to explain how she made the dress to the judges who looked at the garment for technique and fit.

Getting ready for the event often provides time for a child to interact with an adult, whether that mentor is a family member or 4-H club leader. Eleven-year old Chelsea Dierickx, of Osceola County, said that her grandmother helps her when she doesn’t know how to do something on the sewing machine. Chelsea made a blue dress with ribbon rosettes, which received first place in the separates category. It was the second garment she had ever sewn.

Organizers say it’s not like a beauty pageant. “I think the name Fashion Show can be misleading,” said Laura Weathers, a television personality and free-lance home economist consultant who helped judge the event. “This can be an encouraging event for someone who is still learning. A garment could be technically correct, but if it doesn’t fit and it looks bad, it won’t do as well as another one that might be simpler to sew and fits well.”

“This is the kind of event that helps a child feel good about what they try to accomplish,” said Marie Hammer, associate professor in the UF/IFAS department of family, youth and community sciences, who joined the judging team for the event. “They have to set a goal and accomplish that goal.”


Photo Cutlines:Photo 1: Boys can sew too!

Israel Mahoney, 8 demonstrates before the judges the blue and plaid-trimmed robe with matching pajamas that he sewed at the 4-H Fashion Show at the Florida State Fair. Mahoney captured first place in his category and says that sewing is fun. Organizers from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida say it’s not uncommon for boys to participate in the annual event. Of the event’s one hundred participants this year, 16 were boys.

Photo 2: Getting Ready to Go On-Stage

Chelsea Dierickx, 11, gets last minute stage directions for the 4-H Fashion Show at the Florida State Fair from Joy Jordan, 4-H youth development specialist at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Dierickx received first place in the separates category for the blue dress she made with the help of her grandmother. Organizers say that preparing for the event helps kids spend time with mentors.

Photo 3: A Family Affair

(:L to R) Israel Mahoney, 8, smiles with his sisters, Christy and Katie, 11, at the 4-H Fashion Show at the Florida State Fair. Israel placed first in his category and says that sewing is fun. His sister Christy won first place in the Sewing for Others category in her age division for a dress she made for Katie. Organizers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say that the event helps families work together on projects and allows kids to explore their creativity. The Mahoneys live in Davenport near Haines City.

Photo 4: Ready for a Night on the Town

Delaney Kahn, 18, of Sorrento in Lake County, models the black evening gown she won first-place for in the 4-H Fashion Show at the Florida State Fair. Kahn plans to wear it to the Homeschool Prom in May. Organizers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say that sewing an evening gown is very popular among teens, especially those who want to explore their creativity. Kahn won best of show overall and is vice president of the Florida 4-H Council.


YOUNG AT HEART DIVISION (ages 8-10) SEWING FOR OTHERS CATEGORYFirst: Nicholas Munno, Charlotte County Second: Timothy Toth, Charlotte County Third: Mike Toth, Charlotte County DRESS CATEGORY

First: Erica Hord, Osceola County Second: Megan Lewis, Lake County Third: Kristen Coleman, Polk County SEPARATES CATEGORY

First: Chelsea Dierickx, Osceola County Second: Rachel Blizzard, Polk County Third: Matthew Detwiler, Alachua County MY CHOICE CATEGORY

First: Israel Mahoney, Polk County Second: Alex Murphy, Hernando County Third: Charlene Lemaster, Charlotte County EVENING CATEGORY

First: Sarah Coy, Brevard County

BEST OF CLASS (AGE DIVISION): Erica Hord, Osceola

SAVVY SEWERS DIVISION (ages 11-13)

SEWING FOR OTHERS CATEGORY First: Christy Mahoney, Polk County Second: Johanen Toth, Charlotte County Third: Danielle Padgett, Sarasota County DRESS CATEGORY

First: Danielle Holder, Polk County Second: Elizabeth Eccleston, Alachua County Third: Jenni Lewis, Lake County COAT OR SUIT CATEGORY

First: MacKenzie LaRoe, Lake County SEPARATES CATEGORY

First: Hannah Schmidt, Osceola County Second: Megan Hord, Osceola County Third: Lisbeth Langaigne, Charlotte County MY CHOICE CATEGORY

First: Kimberlee Coleman, Polk County Second: Samantha Bettin, Brevard County Third: Marie Kolba, Charlotte County EVENING CATEGORY

First: Danielle Munno, Charlotte County Second: Briana Mahoney, Polk County Third: Luke Wilkins, Osceola County BEST OF CLASS (AGE DIVISION): Danielle Munno, Charlotte

TIMELY TEENS DIVISION (ages 14-17)

SEWING FOR OTHERS CATEGORY First: Dallas Porter, Brevard County DRESS CATEGORY

First: Jill Smith, Osceola County Second: Deanne Murawsky, Clay County Third: Darcy Hume, St. Johns County COAT OR SUIT CATEGORY

First: Kimberly Kincaide, Hernando County Second: Danielle Stephens, Hernando County SEPARATES CATEGORY

First: Jennifer Andress, Osceola County Second: Christina Toth, Charlotte County Third: Jamie Yates, Osceola County MY CHOICE CATEGORY

First: Cecil Hampton, Leon County Second: Melinda Kolenie, Brevard County EVENING CATEGORY

First: Delaney Kahn, Lake County Second: Ashley Johns, St. Johns County Third: Ashley Conley, Osceola County BEST OF CLASS (AGE DIVISION):

Delaney Kahn, Lake County

BEST OF SHOW OVERALL

Delaney Kahn, Lake County

Check out Florida 4-H Online & Are You Into It? A Volunteer Program for Kids Who Care

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