The job of a textile designer is so fascinating – ideating and creating beautiful prints and patterns on fabrics all day long. After all, Textile design is the art of designing those prints and patterns on fabrics.
A textile designer creates patterns keeping in mind current trends, style specifications, motifs, their own drawings, colors as well as the technical and ethical and cultural considerations and then communicates it via the medium of textiles.
But how do they arrange these patterns?. In most fabric designs, there are many types of repeat patterns. The innovative and creative way of arranging the prints and patterns that form the crux of textile design. Replication of these patterns across fabric is done in a seamless way.
How do they get it right every time? Are they randomly placed or are they the result of deliberate planning? As a layman, How can I decipher these prints and patterns in a language I can understand, and still make it visually appealing?.
These are all questions that came to me when I was writing about the types of fabric patterns
First and foremost, there are many industry standards that these patterns should adhere to. Then there are considerations like the use of the fabric (whether it is apparel fabric, furnishing textile etc) and the type of the fabric itself (whether it is woven or knitted etc.). Then finally comes the task of arranging the motifs.
In all patterns and prints on textiles, you will find there is a repeat – ie the identical or dissimilar motifs are arranged with horizontal or vertical distance between them in a repeated manner. There are infinite ways of arranging these repeats on the fabric – but some basic layouts are commonly used individually or collectively to form the patterns that you see on fabrics
In this article I will cover:
- Types of Pattern Repeats.
- Allover layout (Overall)
- Block Repeat
- Tossed layout
- Border layout
- Brick Layout
- Half-drop repeat layout
- Diamond layout
- Striped layout
- Check layout
- Turnover layout
- Composite repeat
- Two-directional Pattern
- Four-way Layout
- Positive-Negative layout
- Freize pattern layout
- Gradation pattern
- Interlocking Pattern
- Asymmetrical layout
- Placement print
Types of Pattern Repeats.
25 classifications of patterns in textile designs according to the arrangement of motifs in the pattern
Allover layout (Overall)
(other names are Basic repeat, Full drop repeat, Square Repeat, Straight-across repeat, straight repeat)
In this type of repeat, the motifs are placed directly on a horizontal line to the left or right of the original motif. ie they are laid up and down and/or side to side. It is the most simple layout; when complete, it looks as if the motifs are stacked in an imaginary grid.
(Other names random layout or irregular pattern layout)
Half-drop repeat layout
This pattern has motifs/elements/threads which overlap – this results in a different colour than the original where they intersect. You can find this on tartan patterns.
Freize pattern layout
This is a layout in which the motifs are placed close together.
This is a layout in which you will not find any symmetry in the placement of motifs or the motifs themselves – no rhyme or reason why they are arranged the way they are but can be as equally captivating as any carefully planned motif placements.
This is not a repeat as such but this is a kind of placement of fabric pattern such that a strong motif or design is formed and it is usually the highlight of the clothing.
Fabric Designers do not consider these layouts in isolation – they are most of the time overlapped – a single pattern can have many of these elements in it.
For a harmonious look to your fabric design, scale, alignment, and balance are very important. The pattern repeats have to be easily replicable in the fabric production process.
Usually a fabric design consists of mixing and matching different patterns. Designers combine different patterns, scales, and colors within a single fabric collection that appeals to different consumer preferences. Creating seamless and visually appealing pattern repeats for textiles is not so easy – but the high end softwares available today results in quite intricate and vibrant designs when combined with the ingenuity of the designer.
Now that I know some of these names and where they are used, next time some one asks me what pattern I have made with my sewing or painting I suppose I will sprout high jargon like “This is a Two directional turnover layout with foulard pattern” or such. Hope you will too.
Must read books if you really want to learn more on fabric design :
- Repeat Patterns: a manual for designers, artists and architects, by Peter Phillips and Gillian Bunce.
- Pattern Design By Lewis F. Day.