The heritage of Clothkits spans 50 years, having been originally founded in 1968 by Anne Kennedy around the kitchen table. After leaving Camberwell College of Art, Anne came up with the simple and ingenious idea of printing dressmaking pieces straight on to coloured fabric, with simple instructions that almost anyone could follow. In 1968 she launched Clothkits from her kitchen table in Lewes.
It grew to enormous proportions, and by the late 1980’s Clothkits employed over 400 staff from the Lewes headquarters. Eventually bought out by catalogue giant Freemans, the identity of the Clothkits company was swallowed up by this new owner and made dormant. After a period of 17 years in hibernation, our Sussex based firm re-launched in 2008 with a fresh new collection of gorgeous outfits for you to cut and sew at home.
The first design, Clothkits No.1 cost 25 shillings (£1.25), and after it was featured in the Observer, Kennedy received more than £2,000 worth of orders. In the summer of 1970, this kit was selected for The Design Centre, London.
Kennedy's children and family modeled the patterns. Sew-your-own kits formed the core of the business, supplemented by knitwear.
Cloth-Kitty was introduced to the family, and is still available on our website today, along with Kit.
The iconic padded jacket, which we still print today, was launched.
In 1991 Freemans made Clothkits a dormant company, and all the shops were closed.
Clothkits was re-launched, with a fresh new collection at the Kids Modern show at Dulwich College, organized by the very groovy Modern Shows.
Clothkits new home was purchased, a beautiful old pub building in the heart of Chichester.
Making use of the old pub car park, Draper's Yard was opened. A mini village of over 20 creative businesses.
Now in our 50th year, we are re-launching some of the classic Clothkits. Starting, of course, with Style No.1!