Gracie Sellner, daughter of Heidi and Loran Sellner, has been active in 4-H since she was a very little girl.

Gracie Sellner, daughter of Heidi and Loran Sellner, has been active in 4-H since she was a very little girl. Now looking forward to the start of 8th grade at St. Mary’s High School, Gracie has been very busy this summer preparing 4-H projects for the Brown County Fair. One of the project areas she really enjoys is Clothing and Fashion—she participates with both the purchased and constructed items. That means Gracie sews clothing and also learns to make smart purchases.

When did Gracie start sewing clothes? “Hmm, I think when I was in kindergarten,” she said. “I think I sewed a skirt.” Luckily, Gracie has her own coach and mentor when it comes to sewing—her big sister Maggie learned to sew first and has been able to help guide Gracie with her projects over the years.

This year Gracie sewed a fully-lined dress. It was a challenging project, but turned out beautifully. She also enjoys participating in the purchased outfit category. That doesn’t mean she just goes shopping and hangs her new outfit on a hanger.

The purchased outfit project presentation includes a report book, with photos and information on the decision to purchase the outfit. Gracie documented the cost of buying vs. sewing the outfit and also the cost per wear. She evaluated that by going through her wardrobe and finding other pieces she could combine for a variety of different outfits; looking at her shoes and accessories that go with her purchased items; and estimating how many times she would wear the outfit in one year.

Remember when you could save money by sewing your own clothing? Gracie’s purchased outfit, bought on sale, cost $22.40. She thinks she will wear it at least once a month for a year, which comes out to $1.86 per wear. If she had purchased fabric, notions and pattern, she estimated the outfit would cost $78.95, not even taking into account her labor. (But that might be a ‘labor of love’ of the hobby of sewing.)

On Thursday, July 26, Gracie joined other 4-H members, who had clothing or quilts to be judged for the fair, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye. After a practice session, the kids modelled their outfits for the judges and had individual conversations with the judges to tell about their projects and what they learned in the process.

The 4-H Clothing Fashion Review at the fair is scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8 on the Civic Center Stage.

Gracie will be a busy girl at the Brown County Fair this year. In addition to her clothing projects she is showing a Holstein winter calf named Kat, a winter senior yearling, Jimette, and fall senior yearling, Purr; crafts, a livestock demonstration, and self determined project, which she did for her 7th grade science project, on how high a basketball can bounce on different surfaces. Whew!