Textile and print design can take on many forms. One of the most common is repeating patterns. This can also be called a seamless design. In it’s simplest form, it’s a motif that can be repeated vertically and horizontally, forever, without a break in the design.
Repeating patterns can be seen in everything from leggings to wallpaper. The key factor to consider when designing into this format is how your design will look once repeated out. If the fabric will be cut into multiple small pieces, the seam may not be an issue. But in larger formats, hiding the seam creates a much more fluid design.
Layout options include a standard 1×1 repeat or brick/slide repeats at ratios such as 1/2, 1/3, etc. The 1/2 ratio is also commonly called a half drop. These options allow the use of less motifs, or design elements, with more variance in the layout.
When printing textiles through sublimation, as we do, the dimensions of the repeating design do not matter. For large batch print jobs, rotary printing is a common method utilized. With this format, the repeat tile must fit specific dimensions. The most common is 25.25″. The tile must be divisible by this measurement to ensure a seamless print job around the drum.
This video illustrates each screen being printed. The circumference of the drum dictates the necessary dimensions of the print. If the design falls short, there would be an empty space on the roll that would translate onto the fabric. Unless you’re printing a stripe, you probably don’t want a big gap!
This is a basic overview of repeating patterns. As always, we’re here to help you create textiles for your brand. If you have some inspiration images, you can upload them here, or contact us to discuss your design.
We’ve used a lot of Textile Printing Terms throughout this post. Here is a visual cheat sheet for repeating patterns.