When 8-year-old Danielle Park joined the Blue Ribbon Buckeyes 4-H Club in Seneca County, the main draw was the clothing projects. Throughout her time in 4-H, she sewed her way through almost every clothing project, and now, more than a decade later, Park is the proud owner of Yours with Every Stitch, a sewing and custom clothing shop in Tiffin, Ohio.
Like many 4-H members, Park started with the beginning-level sewing projects, completing a variety of pieces for projects like Sew Fun and Sundresses and Jumpers. During those early years while she was learning her craft, she sought out advice from more experienced seamstresses and found a teacher and mentor in the mother of a family friend. “She was a retired seamstress whose children had also been in 4-H,” said Park, “My mom introduced me to her, and she taught me a lot of the skills I needed to complete my first few projects. I used to spend hours at her house learning from her and looking through the pieces she had completed.”
As she moved on to more advanced project work, Park was mostly self-taught. “Much of what I know now came from years of practice and lots of trial and error,” she said. Her favorite projects were always the more intricate pieces, which is one of the reasons why she took the Dress-Up Outfit project three times. “I’m proud of all of the dresses I made through this project, but one really stands out to me. It was an emerald-green dress for my junior prom made entirely of lace, so it required a lot of hand sewing.”
Park also created dresses for homecoming and senior prom for the Dress-Up Outfit project and was selected to compete at the Ohio State Fair for both pieces. She was even chosen as a recipient of one of the coveted Outstanding of the Day awards for her senior prom dress. Park said, “I also served on the State Fashion Board in 2020 and 2021. I loved meeting other 4-H’ers who had a passion for sewing and even ran judging during the 2021 State Fair.”
During her senior year of high school, Park began selling her creations at a local shopping and retail market. She sold baby and toddler clothing, as well as other small items, and offered a variety of sewing services, including alterations and fittings. “Trying to balance a growing small business with high school was definitely challenging,” said Park. “There were days when I showed up late to school because I had tried to squeeze a fitting in before classes started, but it has always been such rewarding work.”
In 2021, just a few months after graduating from high school, Park opened her storefront in downtown Tiffin. “I’m so grateful for the overwhelming support I received over the past year-and-a-half! Sewing isn’t a super popular hobby for young people, but the community of fellow seamstresses that I’ve found through 4-H is amazing,” she said. “I still make it a priority to attend the sewing clinics my county’s Food and Fashion Board puts on, because I want to help this community grow. I love serving as a mentor for other young sewers and it’s so exciting to see them discover their passion just like I did.”
Ohio 4-H project books, like those Park completed, and other Ohio State University Extension Publishing materials are available for purchase at extensionpubs.osu.edu. Ohio residents get the best price when they order and pick up their purchases through local Extension offices.