“Nerva-cited.”
    That’s the word 10-year-old Hannah Deen invented Monday morning as she prepared to enter her first-ever appearance judging at the Brown County Youth Fair.
    She was nervous and excited — nerva-cited.
    Hannah was among about two dozen youth — 23 girls and one boy — who demonstrated their sewing skills by entering garments they sewed in the youth fair’s home economics division, competing in junior, intermediate and senior categories. They will wear their creations in a fashion show Tuesday night, and that’s when they’ll learn the results of Monday’s judging.
    One by one, the young tailors stood before judges Monday, modeling what they’d made as judges looked over their handiwork and asked them questions. Later Monday, the judges examined the construction of the garments.
    Judges put the young tailors at ease, making it quickly clear that this would not be an inquisition.   
    “Did you enjoy making it?” a judge asked a young girl about her outfit.
    “Yes,” the girl replied. “It was very enjoyable.”
    As the activities wound down in the Home Economics Building on the youth fair grounds, Hannah stood near her seamstress mother, Annalyn Deen, a veteran of youth fair competition who now teaches health science at Brownwood High School.
    Smiling shyly, Hannah, a fourth-grader at Coggin Elementary School, explained what she’d made for the competition.
    “I’ve made a specialty outfit, a vest, an apron and pajamas,” Hannah said.
    Annalyn Deen said she’d enjoyed her years participating in the youth fair’s fashion show. “I liked the confidence it gave to model in front of people and stand up and not be embarrassed or nervous,” Deen said. “I really enjoyed teaching (Hannah) how to sew.
    “I don’t know if I liked it as much as a kid as I do as a mom teaching her how to sew and do the garments that we do. We have been doing them together.”
    Deen explained the process of creating a garment. “You have to choose a pattern, decide what you want to do,” Deen said. “You find material, check out the material that you want to use, make sure it’s appropriate for the pattern, buy all the notions and the extra things, accessories that make it go well, and you sit down for hours behind a sewing machine and sew and surge.
    “You make sure that the lines are straight and everything looks good, and all the strings are trimmed. Then you finally have a complete garment that you can actually wear.”
    Judges look at how the garment fits the wearer, and then will do construction judging, looking on the inside to see how they were sewn and finished, Deen said.
    Watching her daughter being judged can be nerve-wracking, Deen said. “I can’t tell her exactly everything to do, so I kind of have to let her go and fly and do her own little thing,” Deen said.
    Deen remembers what went through her mind when she competed in the youth fair. “You just are trying to remember the things that your mom told you, what the material’s made of, what was the hardest thing, what was the easiest thing,” Deen said.
    “It’s just really trying to pull that information and get it across to the judges the best you can.”