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Design Challenge - Girls' Cut & Sew Skirt

05 July 2018 08:30

This month's design challenge is a bit different - can you design a Cut & Sew Skirt for a girl?

Do any of you remember Clothkits?  They produced the most adorable clothes, mostly for girls, but some things were for boys and some for women.  Most of them - and certainly, in my opinion, the best ones - were Cut & Sew items.  The whole garment was printed onto fabric with cutting lines marked.  You just had to cut round the lines and sew it up.  The great thing about these kits was that the garments could include all sorts of patterns.  You could have part of a dress with the pattern on a red background and part of it on white.  You could have contrasting or co-ordinating pockets / sleeves / soft toys to go in the pockets.  Everything matched beautifully, because it was all designed together.  I was so sad when they sold the business to a big company who immediately destroyed it.

This was the best photo I could find - sorry!

Now's your chance to have a go at being a Clothkits designer!  Design a skirt for a girl which is ready to be cut out and sewn.  You can use any style you like.  There are lots of skirt ideas on Pinterest.  I'm gathering some of them together on my Pinterest board Dressmaking for Children.  

You shouldn't use these patterns without permission, nor should you use commercial patterns, but you can use them for ideas.  Quite a few of the Pinterest skirts don't actually have a pattern, they tell you how to work out your own, so I think there would be no problem in using their instructions.

Onto the skirt pattern, put your design.  Make use of the fact that it will be digitally printed - use lots of colours, placement patterns, add contrasts, co-ordinating trims etc.  This skirt:

Skirt from Polka Dot Chair

is made in two pieces.  The contrasting band at the bottom has to be sewn on separately.  Yours will be integrated!

Because of the nature of the challenge, there are a few extra or alternative 'rules'.

The skirt can be in any size, but you must indicate the size (or sizes if you can make it possible to fit more than one size) on the fabric.

Your 'kit' should fit onto either 2 fat quarters (i.e. fabric which is 112cms wide by 50cms) or a metre square.  Many of the skirt patterns I looked at need 1 yard of fabric.  We don't sell yards, and a metre is a lot if you want to make a small skirt.  So I'll do a special size, 1 metre square.  

At least basic sewing instructions should be included on the fabric - don't make the print too small!

When you email me with your details, please also include the size of fabric you've designed for and the size of girl(s)!

You will need to make your design public or I won't be able to show the whole design on Facebook.

If you want to make your skirt up before the end of the competition, you can use the voucher code to get £2.50 off your order.  Order either 2 fqs or 1 150cm metre, depending on the size of your design.  If you order a metre, use voucher code SKIRT2.  This will give you a square metre with a total of £9 off.  


Please upload your challenge 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 account and design.  (So I can find the right one!)  This is the name you use on your account, please.  It's the one on the black ribbon at the top of the screen when you log into your account.  I need this name to find your design.  There's no need to send me a link as this will not work until your design has been made public.  Without the correct name, it is very time-consuming for me to find your design, so your entry may not be included.    

You may also upload your design to our Facebook page.  I will put any not already uploaded onto Facebook after the closing date.   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.   We may select one or two to put into our competition winners slot.  If you're on Instagram, you can post your design there, with the hashtag #pmpdesignchallenge.  I'll regram some of them.  (Likes from there won't be counted.)

You will need to make your design public; order a swatch using voucher code SKIRT.  This will enable you to order without paying.  I won't print the fabric, but you will then be able to make it public.  If you would like your fabric printed, please see above.

 So, the challenge is:  Create a Cut & Sew skirt panel for a baby, toddler or small(ish) child.

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.  However, for this challenge you will need to use Centre.

To take part:

Upload your design onto our website by Tuesday, July 17th, giving it a title.  Email me at, telling me the title of your design and the name of your account.  You can also say a little about the inspiration behind your design, if you wish.

The closing date for receiving designs is midnight on Tuesday, July 17th, after which designs will be displayed on Facebook and on the blog.  Any designs uploaded to Facebook after the closing date may be removed.

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

You may only submit one entry, which must be your own work and based on the theme Cut & Sew Skirt. ‘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 or challenges.

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

All designs entered into the challenge will be made public on our web site without charge and will be available for sale.   The designer will be paid £2 per metre commission on any sales of the design.

Happy designing!