Brooke Schafstall worked from mid-June to July 17 to complete a dress for a 4-H project.
The dress, which is olive green with white flowers on it, won grand champion in the dress-up division and grand champion out of all of the entries at the Jackson County Fair, which was conducted on the last week of July.
“I won construction to make it in,” the Seymour High School senior said. “It’s a matching pattern, like you match lines, you just match the flowers.”
Considering the time and effort she put into the project, she was happy with the results at the local level.
“It was a very strenuous process, so I did better than I thought I would,” she said.
The dress then moved on to the Indiana State Fair, which took place in August in Indianapolis.
One day, she and her family went up there for her brother, Tyler Schafstall, to compete in the tractor driving contest. He won at the county level to advance to the state fair.
While there, they looked in one of the buildings to see if her dress earned any awards, and Brooke was excited to see an orange special merit ribbon attached to it. That’s the equivalent of reserve grand champion.
“It felt really nice for somebody to look at my dress and be like, ‘Yeah, she did really good on that’ and give me a merit,” she said.
This marked the second straight year for her to earn a merit ribbon at the state fair.
“I didn’t think I would, but I ended up getting it,” Brooke said.
Since her start in the Jackson County 4-H program as a third-grader, Brooke has entered sewing projects every year. This was her ninth year of 4-H.
“My grandma sews. She always made me and my other cousins dresses, like Easter and Christmas. I was like, ‘Why not?’” she said of what got her started.
Over the years, she has had a lot of success with sewing.
“One year, I took a nonwearable, a teddy bear, and that won grand champion at the county fair and made it to the state fair,” she said. “I made a two-piece shorts and a tank top that won grand champion in the county fair, so it went to the state fair. The year after that, I made jeans and a pink long-sleeve shirt that won grand champion at the county fair, and I went to the state fair for it. Another year, I made this pink romper, and that won grand champion at the county fair and went to the state fair.”
Looking forward to her 10th and final year of 4-H in 2023, is Brooke looking for a three-peat with special merit — or even better, earning grand champion?
“Yeah,” she said, smiling.