Designing Fabric: How To Make A Repeat Pattern – Half Drop Repeat in Illustrator

Using Illustrator for repeats can sometimes be quicker and less labour intensive than using Photoshop, but it all comes down to the type of file you start with or the style of artwork you’re after. Stick to illustrator for vector files and images with a very “graphic” orientation, bearing in mind how the artwork was originally generated. Avoid using a jpg, tiff, psd or Photoshop eps you will lose the inherent quality of the original artwork.

Half Drop Repeat in Illustrator

To practise your fabric design skills you can use an existing illustrator artwork. Open up an existing illustrator artwork or create a new vector graphic to your specifications. Set up your art board to the repeat size that you’d prefer. Here I’m using a 64 cm repeat. Starting off with squares can be easier to work out half measurements at a late step.

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When you are happy with your artwork, move it to the top left corner of your art board so it hangs off the edge. Double click on the move tool to duplicate (click copy) the object the exact repeat size vertically.

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Now with all objects selected, use the move tool again. This time you will duplicate the objects across the full repeat width but down by HALF the repeat size, in this case 64 x 32 cm. Click copy.

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At this stage you can adjust the scale of the original object or add in additional motifs. This is not always necessary and depends on your individual artwork but it has the potential to add variety and interest
in the overall design.

N.B. Don’t forget that what happens on the top ‘line’ of your artboard must happen on the bottom i.e. repeat

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When you are happy with the layout for your half drop, delete any duplicated objects (across the right side and bottom of art board) so that you only have one group of objects.

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Adjust the artboard dimension to to be a full print width, in this case 147cm and proceed to duplicate the objects so that it fills and over hangs the artboard. Remember that it is a half drop, so follow the previous steps for duplication.

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A colour overlay was added purely for aesthetic purposes. Save as pdf as previous tutorial.

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