Fat Quarterly Issue 7 is out now! All about colour palettes and where to find help in choosing colours for your projects.

Drop Pattern

I have become increasingly interested in textile design. Since I don’t come from a design background at all I have been doing a little bit of research on the internet into design basics. I thought I might share my findings with any of you like me who don’t already know all this stuff.
Please anybody who has anything to add or any resource to recommend – let me know! Thanks.

The Drop Pattern

Pure drop patterns do not change the size or shape of the original motif.

The simplest of the drop patterns is the Full Drop. In this pattern motives are repeated along the horizontal and vertical axes.

A famous example of this pattern:

(Have a go at changing the colours yourself here.)

Half Drop Repeat

The repeat of the motif is staggered by 50% by row or by column.

Column 50% offset.

Row 50% offset.

Other Drop Patterns

Can offset the rows and columns by whatever percentage you would like.

Problems with Drop patterns

Designer does not draw enough of the pattern in the design phase and so does not notice other patterns that appear within the drop pattern. i.e. patterns formed by white space in the motif (alleyways).

You have to be careful useing small offsets as it takes more repeats to return to the original position of the motif.

Things to try

Instead of designing within a square, design within a diamond. Often by changing the shape of the pattern repeat, you fill it differently.

Pattern Design - A Book for Students Treating in a Practical Way - Lewis F Day
Ariadne Textile Design Glossary
Textile Design Development - Pattern Repeats

Comments (2)


October 24, 2008 at 5:14 PM

Thanks for the links can't wait to click.


October 29, 2008 at 11:48 AM

This is fantastic...I don't have a design background either but recently did a short course in textile design and absolutely loved it. I also brout 'Printing by Hand' and found lots of lovely inspiration, however your post has inspired me even more...I will be back to read some more...I am going to add you to my blogroll as well; Great Job!:) T,x