Fashion forward

4-H members rock the runway

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert Ashlyn Wacholtz, 18, a member of the C/C Sidekicks 4-H club, models her hand-sewn deep purple hoop skirt during the Fashion Revue contest at the Webster County 4-H Fair on Wednesday evening. Wacholtz will go on to represent Webster County with her creation at the Fashion Revue contest at the Iowa State Fair.

Ashlyn Wacholtz put her hand on her hip and twirled her massive, deep purple hoop skirt as she walked the runway at the Webster County 4-H Fashion Show on Wednesday evening at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Wacholtz, 18 and a recent graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High, had made the dress herself for the show’s Fashion Revue contest.

Her inspiration for the piece was the six-feet of social distancing that was recommended by health experts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A ball gown was like the perfect thing because it forces it (social distancing),” she said. “And also, I am generally extremely eccentric.”

Wacholtz originally planned to wear her creation to her senior prom, but the event was changed to a more casual celebration. She said she kind of procrastinated on the project, and eventually spent about eight hours a day for two weeks straight putting it all together.

“A lot of it was really difficult,” she said. “I think what was the hardest for me was just how long it took me to get each piece.”

The gown’s skirt has 20 panels and Wacholtz had to cut each panel, hand-stitch them in place, sew the pieces with a sewing machine and then take out the stitches.

“I think I broke five needles,” she confessed.

The ball gown is somewhat of a multi-generational project because a lot of the sewing skills Wacholtz has learned over the last three years have come from her mother, who learned to sew when she was in 4-H.

The gown was Wacholtz’s third or fourth sewing project since she learned to sew.

“I’d say it was a really fun experience, but really difficult,” she said. “But I think anyone can do this type of stuff as long as they take the time and also have someone that can help them.”

Wacholtz, along with fellow 4-H’er Amelia Rake, will move on to enter their constructed garments in the Fashion Revue contest at the Iowa State Fair later this summer.

“It’s really nice,” Wacholtz said of getting to show at the Iowa State Fair. “I’ve actually only ever gotten to go once, so going again is like really special.”

Other 4-H Fashion Show events were clothing selection of purchased garments, where the 4-H’ers learn to be careful consumers, making economical purchases, caring for clothes and selecting clothing that looks nice on them. The third event was the $15 Challenge, where 4-H’ers compile and model outfits purchased from garage sales, consignment shop or resale shops, and the outfits must cost $15 or less.


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