4-H Awardrobe Service Project Supports Story County Emergency Response Teams

teddy bears made from recycled t-shirtsAMES, Iowa – Young apparel designers transformed old T-shirts into new teddy bears during a hands-on service-learning workshop during the 2013 State 4-H Awardrobe Clothing Event. The Iowa 4-H’ers created and donated more than 45 teddy bears to Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames to be distributed to child patients in the hospital and among emergency response vehicles.

More than 140 Iowa 4-H youth participated in the 2013 State 4-H Awardrobe Clothing Event Aug. 15-16 on the Iowa State University campus. The Awardrobe Clothing Event is an Iowa State Fair 4-H event that provides youth participants with opportunities to attend educational workshops; learn more about potential career opportunities in the field of apparel, merchandising and design; and engage in hands-on service learning activities.

“The teddy bear project allowed us to repurpose unused T-shirts to teach youth sewing and teamwork skills, while creating items to serve the greater Ames community,” said Cayla Taylor, a program coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development.

The senior 4-H’ers worked in teams to cut and sew the fabric using a pattern, then stuff and decorate each of the bears. This was the first time many of the youth used a sewing machine.4-H'er uses sewing machine

“I was a little nervous about high school youth working with sewing machines, but was very impressed with their skill level and patience,” said Shelby Schaefer, 4-H Awardrobe Clothing Event intern. “The 4-H’ers who knew how to sew had their chance to shine while teaching their partners techniques about sewing. It was a great learning experience for everyone.”

“I thought it was really cool that we got to make teddy bears during the Awardrobe Clothing Event,” said Hayley Bushman, 4-H Clothing Selection participant from Fayette County. “It was neat getting to work with a whole group of other participants who have sewing experience. I enjoyed working together as a team to make something that helps people in the community,” she said.

Youth also participated in educational workshops facilitated by faculty and staff in the ISU Apparel, Merchandising and Design program to learn about the use of technology in the design and production of textiles and clothing. Participants toured and experienced the 3-D body scanner, digital printing lab and sewing lab workshops.

Awardrobe Clothing Event participants enhanced their communication and stage presence skills through interviews and modeling selected or constructed garments in a public runway show. The youth participate in three categories. In Clothing Selection, participants select or purchase an outfit for a specific occasion. For Fashion Revue, participants construct, hand knit, machine knit or crochet their garments. In the $15 Challenge, the 4-H’er purchases an outfit for $15 or less from garage sales, consignment shops or clothing resale stores such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.

“Participants in the 4-H Awardrobe Clothing Event are evaluated on their communication skills through a written report and one-on-one interview with a judge. The youth also are evaluated on their clothing and fashion goals as well as their poise and confidence while modeling their garments,” Taylor said.

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Contact: Shelby Schaefer, Awardrobe Clothing Event Intern, shelbyyy@iastate.edu

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