Repeat Patterns

Patterns ▪ Surface Design ▪ Illustration

Project Repeat pattern prints for a custom seasonal apparel collection.
Goals Create custom repeat patterns that translate well across garment styles and fit the hippie/boho nature of the Soul Flower brand.
Tools Paper and pen, Illustrator, Photoshop

Hand Made Prints

The first time I worked on a line of printed garments, I read library books about prints in fashion. I researched repeat pattern styles and analyzed which types would work for Soul Flower silhouette styles. I made moodboards and presented my findings to the design team weekly.

blue mandalas print Blue Mandalas hand drawn print

The Process

The mandala print I drew was inspired by millefiori, which translates to thousand flowers. Millefiori is a glasswork or clay technique (often seen in jewelry) where many “canes” containing shapes are stacked, and then cross-cut to reveal intricate patterns. I chose this motif because its floral vibes coordinated nicely with the geometric print in the collection.

millefiori mandala moodboard The inspiration and works-in-progress

I created the repeat the old fashioned way: with paper. It works by drawing in the center, then cutting the paper in half and taping it back together with the sides swapped. Fill in the blank spaces, then cut again in half the other way, swap the sides, and tape together. In the end I had a perfect repeat pattern that was ready for scanning into the computer.

old fashioned pattern Making a repeat pattern by hand

Proofing & Perfecting

To get the scale of the print right, I made several versions to test. I printed them on paper, and we had a few sizes proofed by the manufacturer on fabric. I considered which scales would look best across a dress, pants, mini skirt, bra, and headband; draping the proofs around my body.

I created hundreds of mockups to compare colorways and size scales. By paying close attention to every detail during this year-long project, I was able to successfully deliver hand drawn patterns that printed beautifully. The collection of 5 body styles released to wholesale and retail customers.

mandala working Comparing and testing different print sizing

blue mandalas The final collection shown in a retail print catalog

All Collections

I followed a similar creative process for additional limited release print collections for Soul Flower.

rhythm & blues collection Rhythm & Blues Collection, both drawn by hand on paper and inked with marker

happy daze collection Happy Daze Collection, created digitally using motifs created with both vector and analog methods

heart & soul collection Heart & Soul Collection, created digitally using handmade elements. I created the circles by carving soft lino blocks and block printing the pieces with ink. The diamonds pattern is hand drawn.