COTTON TAKES CENTER STAGE AT COMMODITY CONFERENCE
"Birmingham, Ala." Alabama's top row crop took center stage July 31 in Birmingham at the Alabama Farmers Federation's cotton sewing and quilting contests. The competition was sponsored by the Federation's Women's Division and was held in conjunction with the organization's 29th Annual Commodity Producers Conference.
The sewing contest included divisions for heirloom clothing, children's clothing and adult garments as well as a teen category for younger seamstresses. Winners in the Federation's first quilting contest also were announced during the fashion show and luncheon.
Taking top honors in the contests were Janice Hudson of Crenshaw County, Heirloom Division; Debra Bowen of Randolph County, Children's Division; Nancy Box of St. Clair County, Teen Division; Bonnie Martin of Russell County, Adult Division; and Blanche Lee Mitchell of Blount County, Quilting. First-place winners received a $150 cash prize; second-place winners took home $100; and third place received $75.
Hudson's winning garment in the Heirloom Division, was made of embroidered, yellow-satin batiste and was modeled by her granddaughter, Andrea Hudson. Pat Drake of St. Clair County placed second with a bishop dress that she accented with 404 pleats and 1,000 pearls. The dress was modeled by her granddaughter, Erin Drake. Third-place honors went to Joyce Martin of Winston County for a peach satin batiste dress modeled by her granddaughter, Katie Harrison.
In the Children's Division, Andreona Bowen modeled the first-place, 100 percent cotton flowered dress sewn by her mother. Patti Peebles of Houston County took second place for a tie-dyed shirt and cargo shorts modeled by her son, Patric. Katherine Pierce modeled the third-place gingham dress made by her grandmother, Joyce Josey of Talladega County.
Nancy Box's first-place garment in the Teen Division was a knee-length, wrap-around skirt of 100 percent cotton and a coordinating V-neck blouse. Second-place honors went to Patricia Haynes of Calhoun County for a sleeveless dress. Danielle Wright of Lauderdale County and Lane Sansom of Houston County tied for third place in the division.
The winning entry in the Adult Division was a three-piece lady's suit that Martin constructed of a cotton knit fabric. Sandra Jean Barber of St. Clair County captured second place with a bright, tropical-print dress that was modeled by her granddaughter, Cassie Abel. Third-place honors went to Margaret Hubbard Caldwell of Talladega County for her 100 percent denim dress with hand-painted sunflowers.
Mitchell's first-place quilt showcased a variety of brightly-colored floral patterns while the second-place quilt by Monteen Dowdey included embroidered panels depicting famous landmarks near her DeKalb County home. The third-place entry was quilted by Betty Russell of Crenshaw County and included hand-stitched farm and homestead scenes.
All quilts and garments in the contests were made of at least 50 percent cotton. Contestants qualified for state competition by winning their county contests. About 50 seamstresses from throughout the state competed in the Federation's 2001 Cotton Sewing and Quilting Contests. More than 350 people attended the Cotton Fashion Show and Women's Luncheon, which was held at the Sheraton Civic Center Hotel.