Friday, April 3, 2009

Stitch This Contest

AMES, Iowa – Nine wedding dresses, 36 teenagers and two days at the Iowa State Fair. That’s the pattern for Stitch This!, a 16-hour fashion design competition for Iowa high-school youth.
Inspired by the hit TV show “Project Runway,” the competition will involve teams of youth working together to deconstruct wedding dresses and design them into new wearable garments. Stitch This! will culminate in a runway-style fashion show during the 2009 Iowa State Fair. The competition is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development.
The grand prize winning team of teens will have the opportunity to share their talents with Michele Beschen, host and creator of “Courage to Create,” “B.Original” and “B.Organic” TV shows. Beschen recently was featured on “Rachel Ray.” The winning team and project will be featured in a segment on “B.Organic” during the fall/winter 2009. Youth will learn about developing their creative ideas and nurturing their talents.

“The Iowa 4-H Stitch This! event will be a fun opportunity for youth across the state to express their creativity, design style and fashion sense,” said Shelly Greving, marketing coordinator for the Iowa 4-H Foundation. “Besides, we had to do something with all those wedding dresses.”
The nine dresses had been donated to the Iowa 4-H Foundation for an auction at the 2008 Iowa State Fair, but they didn’t sell, Greving explained.

A way to excel“We also hope that youth will catch a glimpse of what 4-H is all about. Teens have many different ways to excel in any individual 4-H interest area,” she said.
Stitch This! will take place Friday and Saturday, Aug. 21-22 at the 4-H Exhibit Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Youth can apply in teams of four, and nine teams will be selected to compete, Greving said.

Here’s how the competition works: Each team will be assigned a wedding dress. Over the course of two days, each team will take the dress apart and will use their creativity to design and construct a wearable garment from the pieces. Each team will be paired with an ISU Textiles and Clothing student who will provide direction and overall expertise on patternmaking and construction.

“We are looking forward to this exciting new youth event for the 2009 Iowa State Fair, sponsored by 4-H. Stitch This! will bring youth together in an innovative way,” said Gary Slater, CEO/manager of the Iowa State Fair.

To apply, youth teams need to submit a written application online at (or print off the PDF form and mail it in), as well as upload a video application to YouTube and e-mail the video link to The video then will be posted on the 4-H YouTube channel,

Applications are due by June 1Teams will be selected by July 1 and will be announced at the State 4-H Youth Conference. All Iowa high school youth who have completed grades 9, 10, 11 or 12 are eligible to apply. At least one youth on each team must be a 4-H member. To join 4-H, youth need to contact their ISU Extension county office or call (515) 294-1607.
For more information on Stitch This!, contact Shelly Greving at (515) 294-1607 or visit

Stitch This! Registration: This! Video Submission:

ABOUT THE IOWA 4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One quarter of Iowa’s young people are involved in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames.

Contacts :Shelly Greving, Iowa 4-H Foundation, (515) 294-1607 or (515) 294-4443,

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