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This is also known as mirror pattern or flip pattern.

In these patterns the motif or tile has an axis of reflection. Points on one side of the axis are the same as points equal distance on the other side of the axis. In other words a design has reflectional symmetry if it can be bisected by one or more mirror axes.

Horizontal Reflection

Vertical Reflection

In a reflection pattern the mirror image of the motif is equal in every way to the original motif.

Glide reflection is when a reflection is coupled with a translation along the direction of the reflection.

Things to try
Fold a piece of paper in half and draw on one half. Then copy from one side of the paper to the other.

Fold a piece of paper in half and draw on one side of the paper. Copy to the other side of the paper, then shift the copied image (glide reflection)

Axis can be part of design – i.e trunk of tree, stem of flower wreath etc.

Try different axes, horizontal, vertical, diagonal.


This is an easy pattern to use with stencils as you need only flip the stencil over.

Often used in borders.

When hand drawn will not necessarily be exact. Consider whether you want the end effect to be more professional or “hand made” looking as slight differences will be noticeable.

Textile Examples of Reflection symmetry

Autumn Flowers by William Morris

Sunflower by William Morris

Geometric Symmetry in Patterns and Tilings
By Clare E. Horne, Textile Institute

About Symmetry and Pattern

Examples of the symmetry groups

Comments (2)


November 4, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Thanks for all the links. I still haven't been able to get through the last list.

Christina Lowry

November 5, 2008 at 2:40 AM


I just wanted to let you know that you are a winner in my giveaway! If you email me a postal address I will send your hairclips really soon!

:) Christina