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Project Runway Season 11: Episode 7, “A Sticky Situation”

Michelle Franklin and Amanda Valentine's winning design for the seventh challenge.

Quack, quack! In last night’s episode of Project Runway Season 11, the remaining 10 designers were faced with “A Sticky Situation.” They had to create duct-tape prom dresses with Duck brand duct-tape. 

Twenty percent of the teams’ final scores came from high school students, who got to review the designs at a special event.

New teams were drawn up for this challenge. As the winner of the last challenge, Stanley Hudson was allowed to choose his partner, and he selected Layana Aguilar, to Richard Hallmarq’s disappointment. He wanted to work with Stanley again.

The rest of the teams:

Michelle Franklin chose Amanda Valentine.

Richard Hallmarq chose Daniel Esquivel.

Katelyn Pankoke chose Tu Natchat.

Patricia Michaels chose Samantha Black.

The guest judge was designer Chris Benz, whose designs are frequently worn by Michelle Obama.

Now for the duct-tape designs!

Amanda and Michelle’s winning design

Amanda and Michelle get on like a house afire and it came across in their winning design. They collaborated in the design and construction of a punk-rock duct tape prom dress, featuring a giant houndstooth pattern cut from solid colors of duct tape. Michelle was declared the episode winner.

Katelyn and Tu’s losing design

Katelyn put Tu to work creating her design. Tu is so diffident, he didn’t appear to have much say in what they presented. Nina HATED it, calling it dated, dowdy, boring, and declaring that long was out for prom. Zac Posen didn’t love the dress either, but he stood up to Nina on the length. It wasn’t pretty. Nini doesn’t like to be contradicted.

BOTH Katelyn and Tu were sent home in a surprise double elimination.


The rest of the designs

Layana and Stanley’s design:


Patricia and Samantha’s design:

This design won the most votes from the high school students. I think they were too young to remember Jiffy Pop.


Richard and Daniel’s design:

Richard and Daniel narrrowly missed elimination. Their look referenced “16 Candles,” the ’80s movie, and flamenco.


What did you think?

I wish the high school students could have picked the winner. Why include them and only make their votes worth 20 percent? Or maybe there could have been a special prize for the high-school favorite.

Wasn’t the double elmination a shock!? What do you think it will mean in upcoming episodes? Will they bring back an eliminated designer? If they bring someone back, whom do you think it should be?

Have you ever worked with duct tape to create a garment or accessory? Or have you ever tried making a custom duct-tape dress form? You can find the technique in Threads or Teach Yourself to Sew!


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  1. User avater
    dfinkle | | #1

    Hey Sarah!
    I actually really enjoyed this episode, and was impressed with what all of the designers came up with. I personally thought the judges were too harsh on Katelyn and Tu, however. While their dress wasn’t necessarily innovative, they did put a lot of effort into it, and I think it’s quite remarkable that they could achieve such a well-fitted, curvaceous silhouette, using just duct tape.
    I also agree with your high school student comment. They definitely should’ve had more of a say in the outcome of the competition. In fact, that aspect of the show seems almost pointless since their chosen design didn't win anything. On the other hand, I thought it was interesting that the designers were so afraid of what the high school students would think about their dresses when the point of being a designer is to create a look for a client. I guess maybe it would’ve helped to meet some of the students first.

  2. sews4fun | | #2

    great job on getting this blog posted so soon!
    I loved this challenge because the possibilities were just endless although I was dissappointed to see Richard and Daniel hogging all the gold duck tape, I thought that was a real cheap thing to do and they only did it so no one else could have gold in their looks and be any sort of competition for them. However, karma got them in the end.
    I loved Michelle and Amanda' dress, not the choice of "fabric" but the way it fell in folds and the little trim on it. what I liked the most about it was how well made it was, the tailoring was impeccible! I am glad they (Michelle) won, they deserved it.
    I felt sorry for Tu, he was trying so hard to just go along that he never even got a say and then was eliminated for trying to be a "team player" I don't like the teams challenge for that very reason. I think it was a bad idea to do a continous team challenge because the designers don't get to "show their stuff" they way they would on an individual basis.

  3. hazelspi | | #3

    I still don't like the team challenges, I would rather see the individual designer's creations. I was in awe over how they turned duct tape into wearable garments, even creating patterned fabric...they get my vote for creativity. At first look I thought Amanda & Tu's design would be the winner but after the critique I realized that it was old-fashioned (so am I so guess I find that attractive) and in the end I agree with the winning design. I liked the show.

  4. Lise_the_hobbit | | #4

    There have been so many wonderful duct tape designs for prom dresses over the years - http://duckbrand.com/promotions/stuck-at-prom that it is surprising that Project Runway hasn't done this challenge before.

    I thought that the textile Patricia created was very interesting, but I really disliked the way the skirt collapsed on itself in front - I would have preferred a more rounded silhouette for the skirt front.

    Unfortunately Patricia was right about the praying mantis - the model's legs were too thin for that skirt and the skirt front looked like it was only 3 inches below her crotch.

    I personally liked the dress Stanley and Layana did best, without the bow, but then again, I am partial to fuller skirts, but I quite understand why they came in second.

    I firmly expect to be helping my 12 year old daughter make her prom dress from duck tape in the future.

    I thought giving the students 20 percent of the vote was a nice touch - the score was like having a fifth judge. The one thing I came away from the show with was that Nina Garcia doesn't know too many teenagers - she wants "young" fashions, but teenagers are all over the place in their tastes in dress, and she is not willing to buy that many of them do really want long dresses - Kate was right in that regard.

  5. Cherlyn | | #5

    I liked the winning design but I didn't think it was the best design. I thought Layana and Stanley's dress was much more creative since they had the petticoat under the dress.

    I think it woul have been nice to have the high school kids pick the winner. They gravitated toward certain dresses and the winner was their least favorite. The winning dress doesn't look like something most girls would wear to prom.

    I was glad to Katelyn and Tu both go. He was ready to go; I think he knew he should go. I sort-of was expecting the double elimination because of the comments we heard from the judges and sometimes they do this. I think it happened because Tu didn't put up a fight and the design was Katelyn's.

    I have never created anything from ducttape; nor will I ever. I don't like working with ducttape for any project! I think it's ugly and "tacky" looking. While I think the unconventional challenges are fun, I would not want to be a model wearing that design. Look at Jiffy Pop---praying mantis girl! No teen really wants to go to prom looking like that! But they don't mind going in a white gown with their pink undies shinning underneath!

  6. Ikebana152 | | #6

    I thought this challenge was fun and creative and that all the dresses had something to offer. The complexity of creating the hound's tooth pattern for the winning dress was fun to watch. I liked the inclusion of the student's point of view.

    I was glad to hear Zac Posen challenge Nina Gracia. Nina and frequently Heidi, seem to think that for a garment to be fresh and fashion forward is has to be short and tight and overexposed. Some people want to be a bit more demure. That said the losing dress was a bit drab and it was time for those two designers to go. Hats off to Tu for being so gracious in departure.

  7. User avater
    LinLohLan | | #7

    Yes, I made a duct tape accessory, and my creation ran on Iowa Public Television for several seasons as a promo for The Red Green Show. We had tickets for a 5 p.m. event with Red and Harold. Son's dance recital nearby was finished an hour or so before we got in the long line for the event. Boxes of duct tape were available for people waiting in line to experiment. I made big hair bows from duct tape & fastened them on clips in my hair like Daisy on Keeping Up Appearances. When a PBS cameraman came up to me, I said in my best British accent, "The latest in Possum Lodge Fashions!" It ran on PBS for several years.

  8. terricita | | #8

    I have to say I really hate the team challenges just on general proincipaal. I even hate them during the "regular" seasons. To me, it is just patently unfair to get chewed out and sent home based on what someone else did. You either get in trouble for not standing up for your vision or for cramming your vision down everyone's throat. It's just too schitzo for me. Let the designers rise or fall on their own merits.

  9. User avater
    Soli | | #9

    Not my favorite, but I've never been crazy about any of the innovative materials challenges. It just seems to be an exercise in torture and frustration, since who actually wears that stuff in public? It's always meant for media attention and nothing more. "Oh look - a coat made of seatbelts that makes the skinny-mini model look like the Michelin Man - I want one!" Not!!! I like the colors in the winning look, but that's about it. Nina has three boys, so maybe when the eldest starts going to school dances, she'll start hearing about his date's dresses and frustrations etc. I think the part of the episode I liked best was the duck at the beginning. I think the right people went home, but again, I don't like the way the time constraints have been so tight the past couple of seasons. I think they'd get better, more inspired work with two-day challenges, but that's just me. I've worked in retail, I've worked for an importer/manufacturer, and I think that the team challenges are reflective of the real world in the fact that sabotage and prima donnas aren't appreciated when it comes to the day to day grind of getting each season ready. Now that they're down to the final four teams (the double elimination ensured they don't have to bring anyone back) who knows. I really don't care for any of the remaining designers, so I really don't care who wins.

  10. User avater
    sewingagain | | #10

    I agree that it would have been less scary to design for specific teenage clients instead of working blind. I'm glad they didn't let the kids votes weigh to heavily. That jiffy pop dress was the worst one in my opinion. Glad Michelle got the win. While I don't share her style, I appreciate her spunk and creativity. Liked the cut out trim on the long dress. Loved Layana and Stanley's. I really thought they would win. This was an unconventional challenge that makes sense to me in that not everyone has the money to get the fancy dress. I like the idea of taking the serious and expensive out of prom.

  11. user-2334979 | | #11

    I have never done anything with duct tape - nor do I wish to, but it was amazing what those designers were able to do with such humble materials!

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