Mississippi Master Clothing Volunteer (MCV) is just one of many volunteer organizations supported by the Mississippi State University Extension Service (MSU-ES).

Mississippi State University (MSU) was formed in 1862 through the authorization of Congress (Morrill Act) to establish land-grant institutions in each state in order to educate citizens in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other practical professions.  The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established a nationwide cooperative extension service. The mission of MSU-ES is to provide research-based educational programs and information in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Community Resource Development to improve the economic, social, and cultural well-being of all Mississippians.  Extension is the communication link between people in the counties and the land-grant university.

In 1997 the Extension Home Economist for Sunflower County, Debbie Mullens-Grayum, became aware of the Master Clothing Volunteer program in Arkansas.  With the encouragement of the Directors of Extension at MSU she attended a training session in Arkansas.  The Arkansas Extension Service was most helpful, sharing much of their material to begin the Mississippi program.<

Training was provided to the county Home Economists, who then decided if there was interest in their counties.  Trainings were set up in the four Extension districts for interested counties.  The first volunteer group was trained in Bolivar County followed by Lauderdale and Rankin Counties combined, then in Collins and finally Tupelo.  Later, as groups were formed, training was held in their areas.

In January 1999 several Master Clothing Volunteers and Mississippi State University Extension Agents traveled to a Sewing Expo in San Antonio, Texas.  On the way a stop was made to observe a Texas Master Clothing Volunteer  district meeting.  In August of that year a three-day retreat at Lake Tiak O'Khata in Louisville, Mississippi was held to provide additional training. 

Hancock's Fabric was an early supporter of MCV here.  They donated a sewing machine and a kit of sewing notions and tools to each county with an active Master Clothing Volunteer program.

The Master Clothing Volunteer Program is designed to develop leadership and teaching skills using textile techniques and garment construction, heritage sewing and home decor. Trained Master Clothing Volunteers work in their communities to assist youth, families, and community groups in learning how to buy, construct, and care for garments and create other textile items for the home and individual to extend the resources of the county Extension service through the use of HIGHLY TRAINED and SKILLED volunteers. After receiving training, you will give time, energy, and expertise to assist Extension with sharing research-based information and knowledge.      

Program Goals

The program goals of the MCV program are based on the mission and goals of the MSU-ES educational commitment. The MCV goals are to:

  • Provide opportunity for personal growth and development of individuals participating in the programming efforts
  • Maintain a strong, self-sufficient  MCV program
  • Enhance participants' job related skills and opportunities for home-based business through skill development and education
  • Provide opportunity for volunteers to implement a  "Train the Trainer" program in this subject matter area
  • Provide opportunity for volunteers to implement a “Train the Trainer” program

Structure and Organization

  • This is a state wide interdisciplinary program designed to reach both youth and adult.
  • Program policy and operation is under the direction of a Board of Directors and Advisory Committee.
  • The area agent manages the program.
  • The county MCV program, will be administered by an Extension staff person and a county MCV team, the team will determine leadership assignments, plan, implement, and evaluate a county clothing construction program.

Volunteer Application

  • Persons with basic knowledge and good skill techniques in clothing construction may make application for the program.
  • Application forms may be obtained from  the county Extension office
  • Applicants will be screened by a county committee and notified of their application status by letter.


  • The training will consist of various sessions on clothing construction, teaching methods, and people skills.
  • Training will include an intensive 30 hours of program discussion, demonstration, and hands-on construction techniques.
  • Training will include in-depth  subject matter, record keeping, teaching, and people skills

Role and Responsibility

Program Payback

The program service payback begins with a planning session involving the county staff members. It is suggested that the county clothing team meet monthly to plan, implement and evaluate the clothing construction activities.  The Extension staff will provide program management at the local level; the volunteer team will be expected to function with minimum assistance after the first year.

The MCV responsibility will include a variety of activities designed to teach others clothing construction and related skills.  The specific activities will vary from one county to another and may include:

  • Teaching a series of workshops related to basic clothing construction, either to groups of youth or adult audiences
  • Teaching individuals basic clothing construction in a one-on-one setting
  • Training 4-H clothing leaders to work with youth
  • Teaching specialty classes, specialty sewing techniques, job skill development, and/or home-based business establishment
  • Serving as judged for county, district and/or state competitive activities
  • ACTIVITY REPORT form must be completed and submitted to the county office, to the program Leadership Development Resource Agent quarterly.  This report is due the last day of March, June, September, and December.

Hours cannot be counted toward MCV program service for the following activities:

  • Teaching or instruction where payment is received and/or
  • Employment hours with retail, wholesale or manufacturing businesses related to clothing construction.

To Achieve 40 Hours

Teaching and supervising clothing construction activities are the primary purpose of the MCV program.  To achieve the 40 hours, Volunteers may:

  • Teach and/or supervise a minimum of 20 program service hours.
  • Conduct other activities through the year in the form of program support. These support activities may include, but not be limited to, 4-H/MHV leader training, clothing judging and/or training, promotional activities, and class preparation.
  • Participate in program support activities (only 20 hours of program support activities will count toward the 40 hours of program payback service).

Continued Education

  • Any educational opportunity related to clothing construction, sewing, home-based business, or job related skills may be considered as continued education as long as it meets the requirement of enhancing skills and/or increasing knowledge related to the program goals.
  • They may include subject matter seminars in specialty sewing techniques, demonstrations, seminars or workshops sponsored by fabric/sewing machine retail stores, sewing conferences or seminars professional sewing guild and association workshops, home-based business seminars, business skills enhancement.
  • Additional program training will be offered through the MCV program at the district and state level.  Program topics will be based on suggested program and educational needs requested by MCV.
  • Re-certification of the MCV means training or education above the basics
  • Credit will also be given for home-study and may include reviewing videos related to sewing, clothing construction techniques, special construction techniques or textiles; study and review of magazines and publications related to the program; reviewing educational TV programs related to program; and development support visuals, samples, and/or kits.

Use of the Master Clothing Volunteer Title

  • Master clothing volunteers must not use the title “master clothing volunteer” in any form of advertisement or business promotion.
  • Implying MSU-ES endorsement of any product or place of business is improper.
  • The MCV program is a public service providing unbiased information, and the title “master clothing volunteer” is to be used only when doing unpaid volunteer work in the name of this program.
  • Education and experience gained by participation in the in the Mississippi State University-Extension Service program may be included as qualification and experience when seeking employment.
  • Use your title, MASTER CLOTHING VOLUNTEER OR CERTIFIED MASTER CLOTHING VOLUNTEER, when advertising clothing programs you will be teaching, on business cards, letters, and resumes. 
  • Ask the agent in your county to use your title on program promotional materials, and when introducing you before you conduct a program or clothing related activity. 


The MSU-ES prides itself on providing hands-on educational opportunities for adults and youth. The major purposes of the conduct standards are to ensure the safety and well being of individuals and to provide a positive learning environment. Volunteers representing Extension in the MCV program are expected to adhere to the same policies, regulations, and procedures that govern the work of professional Extension employees. Those will include:

  • Refraining from endorsement of brand name products or companies to the exclusion of others
  • Conducting educational programs in a non-discriminatory manner
  • Utilizing only Extension recommended instructional materials, methods, and procedures
  • Achieving and maintaining a high standard of workmanship
  • Maintaining a professional appearance and demeanor
  • Developing and demonstrating reasonable leadership skills
  • Demonstrating knowledge of subject matter, methods and procedures related to specific assignment
  • Making adequate preparations for presentations, utilizing neat and professional looking instructional materials, being punctual in the beginning and ending of class
  • Referring problems and questions to the Extension staff and/or MCV coordinator when in doubt of correct information and procedures
  • Comply with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws
  • Not consume alcohol or drugs at events or activities where under-age youth are present or you are representing MSU-ES
  • Not use or abuse illegal drugs

Levels of Certification for the MCV Program

Master Clothing Volunteer

  • The Master Clothing Volunteer is one who exhibits proficiency in both, knowledge and skill in clothing construction.
  • Makes written commitment to give back a specific amount of program payback service by teaching clothing construction and related educational programs to clientele, to Extension, and to the community.
  • Has been approved to begin earning service payback hours commitment after samples and teaching materials have been completed.
  • Will have specific assignments and responsibilities to the program.
  • Will be recognized in the community/area as a teaching resource.

Certified Master Clothing Volunteer

  • Has successfully completed the 40-hours program service payback reaching a minimum of 10 individuals within 12 months following the initial program training.
  • Received certificate and badge verifying completion of 40 hours of program service.

Re-certified MCV

  • Has completed an additional 20 hours of continued education in the form of home study or continuing education classes.
  • Continues to provide program payback at a minimum of 20 hours per year.
  • Reaches a minimum of five individuals per year.
  • Extension staff will approve re-certification for continued education.

All Master Clothing Volunteers must adhere to those standards. Failure to do so may lead to possible action that may include dismissal from the program.

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Filed Under: Master Clothing Volunteers, Family January 26, 2021

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