Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Idyllwild Arts Teen Enters Pageant

October 22, 2011


By Marcia E. Gawecki

Cheyenne, an Idyllwild Arts dance student, entered a beauty pageant to earn a college scholarship. Courtesy photo.

Even in the 21st Century, beauty pageants are still a great way for teenage girls to earn scholarship money for college.

On October 30, Cheyenne, 17, a dance major at Idyllwild Arts Academy, will compete in the “Miss Colorado Teen USA” Pageant in Greeley, Colorado.

There will be an interview, swimsuit and evening gown portion of the competition.

“There’s no talent requirement in this pageant,” explained Cheyenne. “Dance would be easy, but they don’t require talent until you reach the national level with ‘Miss Teen USA.’”

Cheyenne said that she’s been entering beauty pageants since she was 13 years old, and usually makes it to the Top 5.

“My mother lets me enter pageants because she said that I can learn a lot about public service and possibly earn scholarship money for college,” Cheyenne said.

According to the Miss Colorado USA and Miss Colorado Teen USA official web site, six schools provided applied scholarships to the 2011  pageant winners, including Lindenwood University ($45,600), Alverno College ($12,000), Wartburg College ($2,000), William Penn University ($10,900), PCI Academy ($3,000) and the New York Film Academy ($13,600).

For the evening gown portion of the “Miss Colorado Teen USA” pageant, Cheyenne found the perfect gown for a great price.

The dramatic images showed off her gown in its full glory. Courtesy photo.

“We had been looking for gowns online and all over the place,” Cheyenne said. “Then we walked into a small dress shop and found a Sherri Hill (brand) gown that was my size and on sale.”

Cheyenne’s one-shoulder gown is white, and its accented with sequins and ostrich feathers. She said that it complements her red hair and fair skin.

“When I tried it on, I felt glamorous,” Cheyenne said, laughing.

The glamour she felt was captured by a modeling agency photographer recently.

Shots of her posing in between tall buildings, some of them skewed, show off her gown in its full glory. The photo shoot was part of her winnings from a previous beauty pageant, she said.

Besides her regular dance classes at Idyllwild Arts, jogging and watching her diet, Cheyenne has brushed up on Colorado local and regional news in the weeks leading up to the pageant. She said that she’s not worried about what the judges will ask her.

“I pretty much know what to expect since I’ve been in pageants before,” Cheyenne said.

Years spent in dance classes, master classes, and performances at Idyllwild Arts have helped Cheyenne build her poise and confidence. She said that she doesn’t get stage fright either.

If she were to win “Miss Colorado USA,” Cheyenne would automatically enter the “Miss Teen USA” pageant in Atlanta, Georgia, held around Thanksgiving time.

“If I won, it would be a great way to continue my public service,” Cheyenne said.

This summer, Cheyenne and her mother helped out at a local animal shelter in Colorado. They fostered a Pitt Bull mix puppy named, “Cookie.” Cheyenne showed off several pictures of the cute puppy on her cell phone. It was hard to believe that that she wasn’t adoptable.

Cheyenne's dramatic gown features sequins and ostrich feathers. Courtesy photo.

“Cookie’s mom started getting aggressive at the shelter trying to protect her, so they separated them,” Cheyenne said.

When she arrived in their home, Cookie wasn’t potty trained and couldn’t even eat dry food.

“Cookie is so smart, and caught on to the potty training right away,” Cheyenne said.

Within two weeks, Cookie was trained and adopted by a nice family. A week later, her mother was too, Cheyenne said. A happy ending that may not have been had they not intervened.

Cheyenne’s friends are supportive of her decision to enter the “Miss Teen Colorado” contest, but they sometimes tease her, which she takes good-naturedly.

“It’s always a great experience,” Cheyenne said.

Via Facebook and email, she stays in touch with friends that she’s met in pageants.

The “Miss Teen Colorado” pageant won’t likely be broadcast outside her home state, but “Miss Teen USA” will. As a hobby, Cheyenne often watches beauty pagaents.

“I can always pick the winner,” she said.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Oct 22, 2011 @ 11:45





Teens Learn to Sew at Idyllwild Arts

July 30, 2011

Teens from the U.S. and Mexico learn to sew at Idyllwild Arts Summer Program

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Even with all their high-tech gadgetry available to teens these days, some are still interested in learning the old-fashioned skills of their parents, such as cooking and sewing.

For the past 12 years, Cat Orlando has been teaching a popular sewing class at the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. With the help of her daughter, Catalina, they teach 11-to-14-year olds how to use sewing machines and knitting kits to make stuffed animals, purses and their own clothes.  In the end of their 2-week course, the teens will showcase their creations in a fashion show held on Saturday, August 6.

(from R) Instructor Cat Orlando discusses material options with Evan

“The class used to be called, ‘Sew What?’ But the name was a little ‘sassy,’ so they changed it to ‘Textiles & Fibers in Design,’ Cat said.

She still has a large backdrop with the words, “Sew What?” that she uses for presentations.

Recently, Cat took her class on a field trip to Hemet. They were going to buy materials and supplies to make a skirt or pajama bottoms. There were four girls in the class, and one boy.

“Evan was going to take a painting class, but decided to take sewing instead,” Cat said. “His mother is a popular artist from Idyllwild, so he’s open to all things creative.”

During the first week of Cat’s sewing class, they started to make their stuffed animals. Typically, teens will make teddy bears, Cat said, but this class stretched it a bit by making lions, snakes, and monkeys. During the trip to Hemet, they could also pick up fake fur or things to embellish their stuffed animals.

The five hour trip included getting supplies at JoAnn’s Fabrics, Michael’s, Wal Mart, the 99 Cent Store, and Goodwill Thrift Shop. In the end, Cat treated them to ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

Cat speaks to the sewing class about sticking to a budget

This trip was not just a chance to get off the hill for the day, Cat said, but a genuine learning experience. The students had to stick to a $20 budget to buy their material, and supplies, such as the pattern, thread, elastic for the waistband, and any other embellishments.

“Sticking to a budget can be difficult, especially when they see all of the material available,” Cat said. “They usually go crazy when they get to JoAnn’s, but we have to limit their material choices to only two.”

They also had to figure out and measure how much material they’d need to make the skirt or pajama bottoms.

“Nothing’s worse than coming up short of material,” Cat said. “Many of these students will come back to JoAnn’s to make clothes on their own.”

She said that teaching a sewing skill was rewarding, and something they can use the rest of their lives. In fact, after each class, she often gets calls from parents about purchasing sewing machines for their teens.

Do you think I can get all this for $60? asks Catalina, Cat's assistant. She hopes to launch her own denim clothing line online.

Cat and her daughter, Catalina, practice what they preach. In January, Catalina got married, and Cat made her wedding dress from blending two patterns and material that they purchased from JoAnn’s Fabrics. Then they both also made all of the bridesmaid’s dresses.

For the past 20 years, Cat has a booming bear-making business online, and now Catalina is going to showcase her denim creations online on Etsy.

“Do you think I can get all of this stuff for $60?” asked Catalina, showing off a cartload of material.

In the end, Catalina made it under budget, with the help of JoAnn’s 20 percent off coupons that Cat brought.

“We always go to JoAnn’s first because they honor the coupons that we print online,” Cat said.

She also talked to the students about the value of coupons, and how they can affect the bottom line.

Since this was a beginning sewing class, the students wouldn’t be sewing any zippers onto their clothes. To make the skirt, the students would attach and “dart” the material to the elastic waistbands.

However, they get plenty of experience sewing zippers and seams in class, Cat said. There are about 10 sewing machines available for them to use. Most of them came from Cat’s trips to thrift stores and estate sales. In fact, when they stopped off at Goodwill, Cat spied another sewing machine for $50. She checked out the contents and the brand, but didn’t think it was worth the price, not in today’s economy.

“If it was only $20, I’d snatch it up in a second,” Cat said later. “But if it quit running, it costs us a lot to repair sewing machines.”

(from L) Catalina, Cat and Rose measure out their material.

The trips to the 99 Cent Store and Goodwill were to help the students find inexpensive tops and jeans to make purses and shoulder bags.

One of their projects, Cat said, is to take a pair of old jeans apart and turn it into a purse or shoulder bag. Goodwill had jeans on sale for about $6 each, which was within their budget.

Most of the students also bought $3 T-shirts and tank tops to go with their skirt material.

“Otherwise, they’d have to go with the tops that they packed in their suitcases from home,” Cat said. “Goodwill or the 99 Cent Store is the perfect place to get inexpensive tops to match.”

“I’m having such a great time!” exclaimed Rose, a student from Mexico.

Rose was a scholarship student who took a digital photography class at Idyllwild Arts last summer.

“With the economy, I didn’t think I’d be able to come back this year,” Rose said. “But Idyllwild Arts worked it out and here I am making a skirt!”

(from L) Evan shows off his monkey material selection for his PJ bottoms.

All of their outfits will be showcased during the Children’s Fashion Show on Saturday, August 6th at 9:30 a.m. in the Children’s Center on the Idyllwild Arts Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Cat, who usually MC’s the fashion show, will turn over the mic to Evan. He said he’s looking forward to the event.

For more information on sewing or other classes at Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, contact, or (951) 659-2171.

For examples of some of Cat’s teddy bear creations, visit

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Jul 30, 2011 @ 13:54

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