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August 13, 2003   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
August 13, 2003

Cassie Abel of St. Clair, left, shows off her first-place entry in the Teen Division of the Alabama Farmers Federation's Cotton Fashion Sewing and Quilting Contest. Second place in the contest went to Emily Baxley of Coosa County, center, and Grace Ann Sansom of Houston County, right, placed third.
MOBILE, Ala.-- Alabama's top row crop took center stage Aug. 1 as quilters and seamstresses from across the state showed off their handiwork at the Alabama Farmers Federation Cotton Fashion Sewing and Quilting Contest.

The event, which is sponsored by the Federation's Women's Committee, promotes the versatility and comfort of cotton. Ashley Davis, director of the Women's Division, said the event is a good way to recognize talented artisans while showcasing Alabama agriculture.

"Alabama farmers plant more than 600,000 acres of cotton every year, yet many people don't realize that the fiber for the clothes we wear actually comes from farms," said Ms. Davis. "This contest helps us spread the word about the importance of agriculture, and it honors the talented individuals who still practice the arts of sewing and quilting."

In the Quilting Contest, Frances Roark of Randolph County won first place for a colorful, checkerboard quilt accented with hand-stitched, patchwork flowers. Annie Harris of Cleburne County placed second, and Lavon Bonner of Choctaw County placed third.

The Cotton Fashion Sewing Contest recognized outstanding seamstresses of smocked, children's and adult garments, and there was a separate division for garments sewn by teenagers.

In the Smocked (formerly Heirloom) Division, Mary Etta Wright of Madison County won first place for a cotton batiste dress with a smocked yoke that was modeled by her daughter, Baylee. Lea Bryson of Mobile County placed second in the division for a dress modeled by her daughter, Courtney, and Connie Rush of Escambia County placed third for a dress modeled by her daughter, Allie.

First-place honors in the Children's Division went to Sandra Barber of St. Clair County for a button-front dress with a raised waistline and Peter Pan collar. The dress was modeled by her granddaughter, Malin Barber. Jennifer Oden of Etowah County placed second in the division for a dress modeled by her niece, Sarah Oden, and Heidi Knapp of Escambia County placed third for a dress modeled by her daughter, Tori.

In the Adult Division, Glenda Stewart of Geneva County won first place for a sleeveless dress with coordinating jacket modeled by her daughter, Danncey Wood. Second-place honors went to Jan Parker of St. Clair County, and Doris Prickett of Calhoun County placed third.

To encourage young people to get interested in sewing, the Federation Women's Division once again sponsored a Teen Division this year. Cassie Abel of St. Clair placed first in that competition for her oriental-style outfit with a sleeveless wrap top and straight-legged pants trimmed with colored crystal beads. Emily Baxley of Coosa County took home second-place honors, and Grace Ann Sansom of Houston County placed third.

First-place winners in each division received a check for $150, second-place winners took home $100, and the third-place prize was $75. Contestants in the Cotton Fashion Sewing and Quilting Contest qualified for the state competition by winning contests in their individual counties.

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