Aug 02, 2023
Sewing through the ages in Madison County 4
Alexis Hoffmann of Norfolk, Neb. models a cape her great-aunt had knit. She is wearing the denim jeans that she constructed for her STEAM Clothing Level Three project. Some may consider sewing a lost
Alexis Hoffmann of Norfolk, Neb. models a cape her great-aunt had knit. She is wearing the denim jeans that she constructed for her STEAM Clothing Level Three project.
Some may consider sewing a lost art. While people no longer sew all their own clothing, the 4-H’ers of Madison County proved that sewing is still a vibrant art in modern times. This year, the fashion show grew to more than 40 outfits being modeled in clothing construction, consumer management and textile arts.
The fashion show was held July 6 in conjunction with 4-H judging day, the Saturday prior to the Madison County Fair and Rodeo. Nebraska Extension in Madison County hosted the event.
Adding to the fun was a special historical fashion show. Madison County 4-H members “honored the past” by modeling Madison County 4-H alumni outfits in recognition of the 150th Madison County Fair and Rodeo. The clothing styles spanned six decades.
Seeing how fads changed over time was entertaining for both the modelers and the audience. Kaitlyn Koenig of Norfolk, Neb. thought the floor-length and high-necked dress she wore from the 1970s was “from a different time.”
Fabrics have also evolved. Heavy wool dresses and coats, as well as a real pigskin vest, were just some examples of the different materials used “back in the day.”
A velvet prom dress from the 1990s and boldly-patterned sundresses from the early 2000s were also modeled. It was amazing how well some of the daughters fit into their mother’s dresses that they had made years ago in 4-H.
Alexis Hoffmann of Norfolk, Neb., sported a cape knit in 1971 by her great-aunt, Kathryn Unkel, who had passed away as a teenager.
“It was definitely an honor to model a cape that was made around 50 years ago by my great-aunt,” Alexis said. Alexis’ middle name is Kathryn in honor of her great-aunt.
One husband and wife couple, Craig and Melissa (King) Pfeifer, had three of their young children model items that they had sewn when they themselves were beginning 4-H in Madison County. Craig had made a duffle bag, and Melissa had made two pillows as Sewing for Fun projects. Their children are just getting old enough to be in 4-H and began showing pigs for the first time this year.
The goal of the historical fashion show was to encourage current 4-H members to try sewing in the future. There were 22 modelers for this special event. Many of them have never participated in the 4-H fashion show before.
Making a simple pillow, bag, or pair of shorts is all it takes to learn the art of sewing. If you don’t know how to start, reach out for help! There are many talented 4-H volunteers and alumni in every county in Nebraska who would be happy to share the art of sewing.
Reporter Kristen Sindelar has loved agriculture her entire life, coming from a diversified farm with three generations working side-by-side in northeastern Nebraska. Reach her at [email protected].
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