Sewing not a lost art in Pratt

The carnival won't be in action until Wednesday, but for many 4-H families, the fair started Friday, with fashion revue judging at the fairgrounds during the morning and a public revue Friday night at Pratt Community College Carpenter Auditorium.

About 35 4-H'ers showed their consumer savvy and fashion sense by modeling clothing they had purchased or constructed. A handful of seasoned volunteers kept the classes moving before three judges, and some ambitious youngsters who had entered every class in their age group scrambled to change clothes to keep the schedule going.

The buymanship classes outnumbered constructed five to one, but young people are still learning to sew in Pratt County.

Katie Buhler said she has been sewing since she was three or four; Taylor Tobin didn't start until she was seven. They sew because they think it's fun — "it's a great hobby, you can do a lot with it," Buhler said.

Tobin made a dress she wore to graduation and for other "formal" occasions for about $9. She estimated something similar would cost $25 or $30 at a local business. The low price reflects a trend in the retail industry — she bought the fabric at a store going out of business.

"It's getting harder and harder to find fabric," she said.

Buhler found the fabric for her summer dress and jacket online. People who sew like to touch and feel the fabric they're buying; when that isn't possible, they have to know a lot about fibers and fabrics to match the material with the use.

Katie helps her mother, Sue Buhler, as a leader for 4-H members learning to sew. They like to start with a pajama workshop during the winter, so the children have a project out of the way before the crunch of fair time. They teach the basics: cutting, sewing seams and turning under edges for a hem or elastic casing. An easy project lets them achieve success and know if it's something they will enjoy and want to pursue. .

First fair winners

Constructed Garment

Jr. Reserve Grand Champion - Emma Roadhouse

Grand Champion - Madeline Drake

Intermediate RGC - McKenna Carroll

GC - Ciara Hodgkinson

Sr. RGC - Katie Buhler

Sr. GC - Katie Buhler

Buymanship

Jr. Boys RGC - Matthew Giles

GC - Jackson Wallace

Intermediate Girls RGC - Gabrielle Murray

GC - Jenna Fitzsimmons

Sr. Girls RGC - Abby Giles

GC - Krystal Adelhardt

Katie Buhler, Abby Giles and Krystal Adelhardt are all eligible to compete in the fashion revue at the Kansas State Fair.