Lindee Miller, a 10-year Briscoe County 4-H’er is heading into her senior year of high school with a loaded plate of responsibility and a ticket to the 2022 National 4-H Fashion Revue.
“I’ve been in 4-H since I was a clover kid; my brothers were in it before me so they helped me get involved in 4-H,” Lindee said. “I’ve enjoyed 4-H; it’s been a great opportunity and helped me grow as a person.”
Lindee won first place in the Fashion Show Natural Fiber – Wool/Mohair category at 75th Texas 4-H Roundup in June 2021, earning her entry into the National competition next January in Denver, Colorado. Lindee is busting at the seams about her upcoming trip to Colorado, but it’s the way she got there that really pushes the pedal.
“My Mom participated in the 50th annual Texas 4-H Roundup and she won first place in the wool category and when she did that she won the fabrics that I would use for my outfit this year,” Lindee said. “When she took the wool out she said, “I’ve saved this for something special and I want you to use it. I want you to use it for whatever you want to use it for.””
Both winning their respective competition in their Junior year of high school, the two took their sewing connection to a new level with this feat. Lindee said her Mom was the one who originally taught her to sew when she was a Clover Kid and is still who pushes her to excel in this life skill today.
“With the wool project, it helped me connect to her and her 4-H experience because when she won it in 4-H it was special for her,” Lindee said. “I mostly enjoyed growing with my Mom and trying new things with fabric and fashion show and I’m just so excited that I get to go to Nationals. I could hardly dream of anything so great.”
After 30 years in a hope chest at the end of her bed, Lindee was pleasantly surprised to find the wool in excellent quality and took that as a sign that it was time to test her skills, resulting in her construction of a business suit that she plans to wear in professional settings during her senior year and beyond.
“We raise cotton and in the past years in fashion show I’ve only worked with cotton so this year I wanted to try something new,” Lindee said. “That was our goal every year, she would teach me a new skill and then I would integrate that into my fashion outfits and my story. So, this year I worked with a new fabric, sewed in a zipper, and sewed in lining.”
Lindee said she enjoys sewing because it allows her to think creatively about how to craft something together that fits her own personality.
“I think it’s something that needs to be taught to younger generations because everybody just goes to the store and buys what they want but they’re so limited because they don’t know how to sew where they can create their own clothes for their own body type,” Lindee said. “That helps me because when I make my own clothes, I can make it to fit me and my personality and my body type.”
Lindee has transitioned from student to teacher as she serves as a teen leader for the younger kids involved in the Duds to Dazzle contest. One goal she checked off the list this year was teaching those youth how to properly thread a sewing machine, allowing her to put to use the confidence that 4-H has instilled in her over the past 8 years in the project.
“I think 4-H has given me an opportunity to do what I enjoy. I pick projects that I enjoy,” Lindee said. “I never thought I would be involved as much as I am because we’re so busy on the farm all the time but I’m glad that I’m able to be involved in 4-H.”
Lindee likes to compare her delicate touch with her sewing machine to one of her other major hobbies… welding.
“It’s like sewing with metal and I love it,” Lindee said. “Sewing and welding honestly go hand in hand in my life.”
4-H youth are well-rounded individuals with vast skillsets and interests, such as Lindee’s involvements in various leadership positions, FFA, the AgriLife Extension Healthy Texas Youth Ambassador program, and her careful attention to her studies which will hopefully conclude as the valedictorian of her graduating class.
“Other organizations have helped me in 4-H. Even in FFA I got to build a brooder house and I contributed that to my poultry project in 4-H. I’ve done poultry as long as I’ve done fashion show, it’s one of my main projects,” Lindee said. “It’s like they all build on each other.”
Lindee hopes to go into engineering and/or entrepreneurship for her collegiate and post-collegiate career and that inspiration came from her winning wool project.
“When I was researching wool and all of its characteristics I came across this thing called smart textiles and smart textiles is where you weave Nano technology into fabrics to monitor your body temperature, adjust the breathability of your fabric, monitor your steps, it can practically do anything you want,” Lindee said. “Honestly, I want to help everybody I can with any research or discoveries I make. I want to do something that can intrigue me throughout my life where I can always keep learning and always keep trying to do more.”
But as for now, Lindee’s sights are set on experiencing the mountains of Colorado for the first time January 5-9th with her inspiration right beside her. Lindee and her Mom are excited for a road trip, participating in person, meeting new people, and fulfilling her Mom’s hopes. Those hopes turned into plans when her Mom told her “I can’t go with you to state, so I’m going with you to Nationals when you win state.”