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Design Competition - Victorian Garden

15 December 2016 09:40

We are very excited about our January Design Competition - so we are giving you extra time to come up with a design!  We thought you might want something to get your brain working over Christmas ...

London is well known as a 'green' city, with lots of open spaces.  But there are even more than most of us probably realised.  Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) is a small charity which manages several small gardens and open spaces in South East London - not the first place most of us would think of when looking for a calm open space in the Smoke!  Their flagship garden is the Red Cross Garden, originally designed by Octavia Hill in 1887.  (Miss Hill went on to co-found the National Trust - she must have been a formidable woman!)

Octavia Hill, her plaque in the garden and the Octavia Hill Rose

BOST is planning to make lavender and hops bags to sell to their supporters and would like a bespoke fabric to make them.  They have asked if we can come up with a design.  So now it's over to you.  

Can you create a suitable design for a fabric from which to make lavender bags?

 It will probably be best if the design is fairly small - so we will display the entries at the swatch size this time.  

A Victorian/flowery theme would be good, although anything appropriate will be considered.  (The garden follows the original Victorian design, with cottage garden planting in pastel colours, with lots of pale purples and pinks - and some red!)  You can see from the photos that there is some interesting fencing in the garden,

The Band Stand fencing

and don't forget about the cottages  (above).

Either of these could be the basis of an interesting design. It's also within a very short distance of the most modern parts of London - the Shard is in the background - so you may want to incorporate that aspect!  

Red Cross Garden with the Shard in the background

If you want to know more about BOST, their gardens and the Red Cross garden in particular, you can look at the BOST website, or there is a lovely article about the Red Cross garden on this blog from which you could take inspiration. (The summer photo below is taken from this blog.)  BOST would also like to be able to use the winning design on some of their literature, and possibly on other merchandise by agreement.

The bridge over the pond in Summer and Autumn

The closing date is January 24th 2017, so you have lots of time!  The designs will be judged by a panel made up from BOST and Print me Pretty and the winner will be announced on February 2nd.

The prize for this competition will be a fat quarter and a tea towel printed with your design plus a visit to the garden with a tour and a cup of tea & cake with the garden manager, Mary, a book about Octavia Hill and tickets for the Tate.   (Plus, of course, sales of your fabric to make lavender bags!)


Please upload your competition designs to your account on our website.  If you haven’t already got an account, it’s simple to set up.  You just need an email address, password and name, which can be your own name, a nickname or a business name.  (You will be prompted to log in or create an account when you try to save your design.)  Then email me at, to tell me the name of your design.  (So I can find the right one!)  I will then put them onto Facebook and the blog.  The winning design (and possibly one or two others) will be put into our competition winners slot.  In case you're wondering about the order in which designs are listed on Facebook, the first to arrive in my inbox goes at the top, with the rest listed in the order in which they are sent in.

So, the competition is:

Create a design suitable for printing on fabric to be used to make lavender bags based on ‘Victorian Garden’.

Technical matters:

Your design should be at a resolution of at least 150 dpi, but not more than 300, using RGB colour space.

When it comes to printing, the repeat options are:  Straight, Centre, Half-drop, Half-brick and Mirror.  Once you’ve uploaded your design to our website, you can play around with the repeats to see which one will look best.  For pictures of what the different repeats look like, check this blog post.

To enter:

Upload your design onto our website by Tuesday, January 24th, giving it a title.  Email me at, telling me the title of your design and the name of your account. (That's the name you've called yourself on the website, not you own name or email address.)

The closing date for receiving designs is midnight on Tuesday, January 24th, after which designs will be displayed (at the swatch size) on Facebook. There will be no voting this month.  The winning design, as chosen by our judging panel, will win a tour of the Red Cross Garden with the garden manager, a book and Tate tickets,  plus a fq and a tea towel printed with the winning design.       The winning design will also be available for sale on our web site for at least 1 week after the close of voting.  

The official bit:

By entering, you agree to our competition terms and conditions.

You may only submit one entry, which must be your own work and based on the theme Victorian Garden. ‘Your own work’ means any form of original art work, photography, etc which you have produced. Your design should not have been entered in one of our previous competitions.

All entries will be displayed, unless we feel that the subject matter is inappropriate.  Copyright will remain with you, but by entering the competition, you give us and BOST the right to use your design in any way we wish on our web sites, literature and social media, for advertising purposes.

The winning design will feature on our web site and will be available for sale for a week after we announce the winner.  After that time, the designer may leave the design for sale, or remove it from public view.  The designer will be paid £2 per metre commission on any sales of the design.

Happy designing!