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Ashlyn Wacholtz put her hand on her hip and twirled her massive dark purple hoop skirt as she paraded the runway at the Webster County 4-H Fashion Show Wednesday night at the Webster County Fairgrounds.
Wacholtz, 18 and a recent graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High, had herself made the dress for the show’s Fashion Revue contest.
His inspiration for the play 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 obliges it (social distancing)”, she said. “And also, I’m generally extremely eccentric.”
Wacholtz originally planned to wear her creation to her prom, but the event has been transformed into a more casual celebration. She said she sort of procrastinated on the project and ended up spending about eight hours a day for two straight weeks putting everything in place.
“It was really difficult for the most part” she said. “I think what was the most difficult for me was the time it took me to get each part.”
The skirt of the dress has 20 panels and Wacholtz had to cut each panel, sew them by hand, sew the pieces with a sewing machine, and then remove the stitches.
“I think I broke five needles” she confessed.
The ball gown is sort of a multigenerational project, as much of the sewing skills Wacholtz has learned over the past three years has come from her mother, who learned to sew when she was in 4-H.
The dress was Wacholtz’s third or fourth sewing project since learning to sew.
“I would say it was a really fun experience, but really difficult,” she said. “But I think anyone can do this stuff as long as they take the time and also have someone who can help them.”
Wacholtz, along with fellow 4-H’er Amelia Rake, will move on to enter their built clothes into the Fashion Revue competition at the Iowa State Fair later this summer.
“That’s really nice,” Wacholtz said he was able to show at the Iowa State Fair. “I’ve been there only once, actually, so going back is really special.”
Other events of the 4-H fashion show were the clothing selection of purchased clothing, where 4-H learn to be prudent shoppers, shop economically, take care of clothes and choose clothes that are appropriate for them. are OK. The third event was the $ 15 Challenge, where 4-H’s compile and model outfits purchased at garage sales, consignment stores, or resale stores, and the outfits must cost $ 15 or less.