Make the Cut: ‘Swatch’ It Up

Aspiring designers, sharpen your pencils, put your creative caps on, and start sketching – our Make the Cut Contest is back! And to keep things fresh as the dew on a spring morning, we’re doing things a little differently this time around. Instead of providing you with a theme and inspiration board, we’ve simply selected a single swatch of fabric (the one above) on which you’ll need to base your beautiful designs. The winning piece will then be made from this exact  black-and-white, 100% cotton material!

Here’s how it works: We’ll accept submissions until 9:01 a.m. PT on 10/17. After that, we’ll narrow it down to our top twenty picks, which will then be posted for voting on our Facebook fanpage from 12 p.m. PT, 10/25 to 12:00 p.m. PT, 11/1. On 11/12, we’ll announce the fan-chosen champ. The gorgeous winning garment will be part of our spring/summer collection!

And what will that one talented contestant win? For starters, $500! Then, their inspired item will be produced – with their name on the tag – and sold on

But, don’t start sketching just yet. First, check out these tips:

Guidelines for the contest:

  • Images should be no larger than 5MB.
  • Accepted file formats are PDF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, or GIF.
  • Please submit scanned sketches, or high-quality, well-lit photos of your sketch on a white/light grey background (low-quality images may be declined).
  • The ideal format is vertical with a 3×5 dimension ratio.
  • Sketches should clearly highlight only one piece of clothing.
  • Submissions may include other items, but please indicate the piece being entered in the contest.
  • Entries should be based on the swatch we’ve provided. The winning piece will be available in spring/summer, so your designs should be seasonally appropriate.
  • Keep in mind that you’re designing for the ModCloth customer and we’re unlikely to produce couture details or luxury materials.
  • We’ll choose 20 pieces based on judging criteria, then post those on Facebook for community voting.
  • Before announcing the winner, we’ll double-check that the Facebook votes are legitimate.
  • Use of a template is not required, but you may download one of these free online versions herehere, or here.
  • If you don’t get a confirmation email after submitting, let us know at
  • Sketches do not need to be in color, but it is encouraged to best convey your vision.

And now, on to the rules:

  • All entries must be submitted via Submittable.
  • No email submissions will be accepted.
  • You may enter via Submittable only once, but you may include sketches for up to 5 garments.
  • Sketches may be submitted up until 9:01 a.m. PT on 10/17.
  • Entries will be judged on wearability, marketability, produce-ability, creativity, and how well they fit the ModCloth aesthetic.
  • With your submission(s), please include your first & last name as you’d like to see it appear on Facebook for voting and the clothing label, a brief description of your design, and a little about what inspired it or how you’d style it.
  • The winner will be announced on 11/12 here on the blog.
  • One winning sketch will be chosen, and $500 will be awarded.
  • Additional winners may be chosen at the discretion of ModCloth.
  • Winning design will be produced and sold on, and feature designer’s name on the tag.
  • Contestants under 18 must have a parent or guardian write a letter of consent, and upload it as an attachment with your entry on Submittable (Example: If you upload five separate sketches, you would then upload your scanned consent as a sixth file).
  • Currently, this contest is only open to US citizens and permanent legal residents.

Last, but not least, let’s recap the posh prize: One fan-selected sketch will be produced, with the designer’s name on the tag, and sold on ModCloth. The winning designer will also receive $500, and one of their produced garments! So, check out the swatch above and get started.

Still have a Q or two? You can check out the legal info here, or email

About ModCloth

With the combined writing powers of our scribing staff, we bring you oodles of collaborative features starring everything from contests and culture to behind-the-scenes coverage of MC events and shenanigans. You're always saying you want to be kept in the loop. Consider yourself lassoed.

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  1. Sabine 10/03/2012 at 9:51 am #

    Are you ever going to have a contest that international Modcloth fans can participate in? I’d love to design something for this one and I feel left out. =(

    • ModCloth 10/03/2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Thanks so much for your interest, Sabine! I’m sorry if our guidelines prohibit you from participating in the submission part of the contest, but I’ll hope you’ll use your savvy fashion sense to vote for the sketches that make it to our Facebook fanpage on 10/25! And please stay in the loop regarding opportunities for aspiring designers by signing up for our Designer District! []

  2. Et tu, tutu? 10/03/2012 at 10:24 am #

    Awe, wish this was open to Canadians too! Maybe next time?


    • ModCloth 10/03/2012 at 1:04 pm #

      Hi Lindsey! I appreciate your enthusiasm for the contest, and I hope you’ll still make your mark by voting on the sketches posted to our Facebook fanpage on 10/25! Community members like you make all the difference!

  3. Charlotte Boyer 10/03/2012 at 10:46 am #

    So entering this! Too fun!

  4. Carolyn 10/03/2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Does the entire garment have to be made with the swatch, or can their be some details that are a different fabric? Like a solid color collar or something?

    • ModCloth 10/04/2012 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Carolyn! Good question! You may use other fabric elements in your design, as long as the dress consists mainly of the swatch provided. Please email with any further questions! Best of luck!

  5. Angela 10/03/2012 at 3:04 pm #

    I agree with Carolyn, how much of the swatch needs to be included or does it need to be entirely designed with the swatch?

    • ModCloth 10/04/2012 at 11:47 am #

      Hi Angela- It’s up to you- you may use other fabric elements; definitely get creative! Just keep in mind that the swatch provided should be prominent! Thanks!

  6. Abby 10/03/2012 at 5:44 pm #

    What type of fabric is this swatch? Cotton vs. poly vs. silk, etc. would effect peoples’ designs and wearability.

    • ModCloth 10/05/2012 at 7:41 am #

      Hi Abby! Thanks so much for your excellent question! The fabric is a 100% cotton woven material with just enough heft that it doesn’t require a lining, but it’s not terribly heavy either. I really hope this information helps you out. We look forward to seeing your designs! Happy sketching! 🙂

  7. Ruzanna 10/03/2012 at 5:47 pm #

    How about making it so that those who can’t participate in the contest can still win something for voting? Personally, I don’t understand the appeal of voting if we’re never given the chance to be the contestants too.

    • MoranSha 10/04/2012 at 1:43 am #

      i agree. i don’t understand why we can’t participate, and not having an opportunity to win anything really discourages me from voting…

    • ModCloth 10/05/2012 at 7:53 am #

      Hi Ruzanna! Thanks for your feedback! We’re always looking for new ways to include and reward our community with all of our contest opportunities, and this is a great idea! I’m so glad you shared it!

  8. Raiven 10/03/2012 at 5:51 pm #

    does it HAVE to be hand drawn, or do you accept digital artwork submissions?

    • ModCloth 10/04/2012 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Raiven! You can submit whatever sort of design you want- digital or hand-drawn! Thanks for checking, and feel free to email if you need anything else! Good luck!

  9. Yasmeen (Castle Fashion) 10/03/2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Does the garment have to be made entirely from this material or can we include other colors/textiles?

    • ModCloth 10/04/2012 at 11:53 am #

      Hi Yasmeen! You can incorporate other colors and elements into your design! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  10. chocoliv 10/04/2012 at 4:50 am #

    I LOVE THIS! I’m going to try to participate!


  11. Gillian @ Money After Graduation 10/04/2012 at 8:17 am #

    Great swatch ! Can’t wait to see the entries / results!

  12. Eliza 10/04/2012 at 11:20 am #

    I’m going to re-ask the same question: does the garment have to be made entirely of the chevron? In one of my designs, the chevron acts as the skirt while the top is another solid color. Thanks!

    • ModCloth 10/04/2012 at 11:55 am #

      Hi Eliza! Feel free to get as creative as you want with this and incorporate other elements colors, etc along with the chevron fabric! Good luck!

    • ModCloth 10/05/2012 at 7:58 am #

      Hi Eliza! This is a great question! The primary material for your piece should be designed with our swatch in mind. However, you can incorporate other materials in a secondary way. These elements are up to you, but please be sure the chevron is your main fabric!

  13. Aimee 10/04/2012 at 3:15 pm #

    So disappointed its not open internationally!

    • ModCloth 10/05/2012 at 8:02 am #

      Hi Aimee! I’m sorry if our legal guidelines only allow you to participate in the voting portion of this contest, but please use your eye for design to pick your favorite pieces that launch to our Facebook fanpage on 10/25! Ultimately, our community will select the winner!

  14. Staci 10/04/2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Yaaaay! Seeing the announcment of this contest, for sure made my whole day! 🙂 Can’t wait! <3

  15. Melanie Berg 10/05/2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Just submitted! This is my first time ever doing this! I have my fingers crossed!

    • ModCloth 10/08/2012 at 7:35 am #

      Yay, Melanie! We can’t wait to see your designs!

  16. Delaney 10/06/2012 at 11:40 am #

    I entered before but didn’t ,ale it so I’m afraid my designs aren’t good enough for modcloth:(.

    • ModCloth 10/08/2012 at 7:33 am #

      Hi Delaney! You should definitely share your designs! Please have confidence in your sketches and your eye for fashion. We love to see all the submissions that come in because they are so unique! In fact, we received over 1,200 of them for our last contest! So, send your drawings, and know that you’re in good company with other innovative designers!

  17. christie 10/06/2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Why can’t Canadians submit? I was so excited untill I saw the comments about it not being international. My hopes and dreames were crushed to dust…:'(

    • ModCloth 10/08/2012 at 8:48 am #

      Thanks so much for your interest, Christie! I’m so sorry that our legal guidelines will prevent you from participating in the submission portion of the contest, but I do hope that you’ll cast your vote for the winning designs once the top sketches are launched to our Facebook fanpage! If you are an aspiring designer, I also encourage you to sign up for our Designer District [] so you can stay in the loop regarding upcoming opportunities especially for you!

  18. Sami 10/06/2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Hi I just entered mine, but it doesn’t look like my files of the sketches are there…is there any way of confirming whether it worked or not?

    • ModCloth 10/08/2012 at 7:35 am #

      Hi Sami! Thanks so much for submitting! If you have questions about your entry, please email with all the details so that we can check into everything for you!

  19. eila 10/06/2012 at 8:27 pm #

    I have a few questions. First of all,I still don’t really get what sort of faric it is…Secondly, can you enter any garment type(coat,dress,skirt etc…)?????Lastly does the garment have to be season specific like a sundress or can it be more multi season?????Thanks!!!! Oh and by the way what does it mean to have a 3×5 dimension ratio?????

    • ModCloth 10/08/2012 at 8:57 am #

      Hi Elia! Thanks for your great questions! The fabric is a 100% cotton material that is woven, and the chevron is screen printed on it. You can design any garment you want, and it’s up to you how seasonal you’d like to get with this piece, but remember that it will be part of our Spring/Summer collection! Happy sketching!

  20. Daniella 10/07/2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Hi ModCloth, I’m kinda confused on how to transfer the fabric print onto a sketch. I did the zig-zag print manually with a pencil but now I’m not sure if I did it correctly. I used the fabric swatch as a ruler and my sketch has pretty much the same length which is 8″. I just couldn’t decide if the zig-zag I did was too small or too big.

    • ModCloth 10/08/2012 at 8:52 am #

      Hi Daniella! Sketching is the fun part here, and I encourage you to have confidence in your composition no matter how you translated the fabric swatch print onto paper. Just remember, everyone will be doing this a little differently, and that’s part of what will make the designs so interesting!

  21. Sam 10/08/2012 at 3:54 pm #

    This sounds interesting. I’d like to enter….but I’m wondering….why would the winner not receive a portion of the sales for the item they designed? A one-time $500 prize is nice but then you guys get to continue to make money off of an item you didn’t design with the winner’s name on the tag. Shouldn’t they at least get a little bit of the sales?

    • Colleen 10/09/2012 at 6:16 pm #

      You’d probably find the answer to your question if you bothered to read through the legal information. There’s a link to it at the bottom of their post. You’ll want to read number 5.

    • Sam 10/11/2012 at 9:54 am #

      Colleen, I read the post through but I can not see links unless they are underlined. Everything looks ‘blue’ to me no different the in color, so I have to read carefully for link cuts and hover as I read. Thanks for pointing out the location.

    • Sam 10/11/2012 at 9:58 am #

      But still, all that tells me is that I’m correct. It doesn’t tell me why the winner shouldn’t get a portion of sales. I won’t be entering.

  22. narnia 10/10/2012 at 4:55 pm #

    I have a question about the manufacturing process. I know from your past contests that you work with the winners to produce the winning garment. If the winner lives far away, do you fly the person out to wherever? Just wondering.

    • ModCloth 10/15/2012 at 8:28 am #

      Hi Narnia! Thanks so much for your question! We will work with the winner via personal correspondence, and this is something we really look forward to! I hope you’ll submit! We’d love to see your sketches!

  23. Eliza 10/11/2012 at 7:36 am #

    Ooh, so excited! I just entered! You wouldn’t accept buttering up, now would you? 😉


    P.S. (Thanks so much!)

    • ModCloth 10/15/2012 at 8:30 am #

      Eliza, thank you for submitting! We can’t wait to see your sketches! Yay!

  24. Elyse Frances Enger 10/12/2012 at 6:19 pm #

    I have a great idea. If you find a great legal expert in Canada who is a fan of modcloth, then i believe that with time the contests can be expanded to Canada.

  25. Loui 10/13/2012 at 5:25 am #

    Just checking so you can enter five different sketches of five different garments?

    • ModCloth 10/15/2012 at 8:29 am #

      Hi Loui! Yep–you can enter five different sketches for five different garments! Looking forward to your designs!

  26. Charlotte Boyer 10/13/2012 at 11:27 am #

    Where do I enter my description? On the drawing or on the part on Sumbittable where it says “Cover Letter”?
    Thanks so much!

    • ModCloth 10/15/2012 at 8:32 am #

      Hi Charlotte! Thanks for your excellent question. It’s probably best to enter your descriptions in the cover letter that will accompany your sketches. If you’ve included descriptions on the images though, that’s fine too! We can’t wait to see your submission!

  27. Loui 10/14/2012 at 5:39 pm #


  28. Jackie 10/15/2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I dont get the 3×5 ratio dimension ratio?

    • ModCloth 10/16/2012 at 7:20 am #

      Hi Jackie! Thanks for your question! This is simply an ideal measurement for your vertical image file. If you have any further questions, please reach out to us at

  29. Charlotte Boyer 10/15/2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Alright, I just submitted my entries!!! 😀 Hope I win!! 🙂


  30. April 10/15/2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Would it affect my chances of winning if I can’t draw it well? Or if it isn’t on a whole person?

    • ModCloth 10/16/2012 at 7:23 am #

      Hi April! No worries about your drawing talent. We’re looking at the composition and marketability of the design itself. Most importantly, we’d love to see your sketches. Please send them our way!

    • April 10/17/2012 at 4:28 pm #

      I submitted my sketches I hope they all are considered.

  31. Loui 10/16/2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Jus curious is it possible if more than one of the same persons designs could be picked?

    • ModCloth 10/17/2012 at 9:28 am #

      Hi Loui! Thanks so much for your question! We’ll be selecting 20 sketches for voting on our Facebook fanpage, and yes–we could pick more than one design by the same person! Happy sketching! 🙂

  32. jessicahaley7 10/20/2012 at 7:58 pm #

    when i entered my design i think i messed up on my.cover letter. will this affect how my designs are viewed?

  33. jessicahaley7 10/20/2012 at 8:00 pm #

    i think i messed up on my cover letter. will this affect how my designs are viewed and judged?

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