Sitting at her Brother brand sewing machine, Kaylee Horn works diligently, making zippered pencil pouches for local school children, a project the 13-year-old says gives her satisfaction.
“Sewing gives me a sense of accomplishment. Seeing my creations completed makes me feel proud of what I made from a piece of fabric,” she said.
Using her talents, Horn makes clothing for herself, but she loves making things for others, too.
“Doing good for others gives me pride,” she said. “It sets an example of showing kindness. Something handmade by me makes someone feel special about something that is made with love.”
Horn was eight years old when she first became interested in the craft. She had spent the weekend one summer with her Nana, Ruth Langenberg of Goliad, who showed her how to sew. It has since then been a passion of hers.
“The first thing I made with Nana was a skirt,” she said.
Her first community project was making pillows for Hurricane Harvey victims and her most recent are the pencil pouches she donated to Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church’s after school kids and to a local child care facility. She also filled each pouch with pencils, an eraser and a hand-held pencil sharpener.
In the past, she and donated dog bandanas and squeaky dog toys to SPOT, a non-profit that sold them at the Christmas Mall and farmers market for a fundraiser. She has sewn blankets for friends and family, and other clothing for herself and sister Katelyn, who sometimes helps her with turning and pressing duties.
In addition to sewing basic stitches, Horn can sew on a button by hand and sew a zipper and make buttons holes on garment or bag using her sewing machine. She also recently learned how hand stitch fabric.
Through an invitation of friend Mayleigh Martinez, Horn joined a 4-H Club a few years ago, putting her sewing and cooking skills to the test. She has won several first place ribbons as an individual competitor and as a member of a team. These include first place in food show for a healthy dessert, food challenge, which was a team effort, fashion story board, Duds to Dazzle and record book in fashion and interior design.
Another goal for Horn, is teaching other girls how to sew.
“Sewing is a skill many girls my age can do,” she said. “This makes me really proud of my skill.”
In fact, when she signed up for the 4-H summer program “Kids in the Sewing Room,” she found herself teaching others how to sew.
“She had registered as an attendee, but was more advanced, so she helped others learn how to sew,” her mom Kelly Horn said.
While Horn has learned to sew with Nana’s help and by watching YouTube instructional videos, she has plans to master additional techniques in the coming year.
“I want to learn how to sew an invisible zipper,” she said. “I want to learn how to drape, learn more about making clothing and learn more on my embroider and serger machine.”
She hopes to sew prom dresses in the near future, too and make her own Halloween skirt.