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I’ve been chin deep in this waves pattern for a couple months now. It started as a stress -reducing doodle and has since escalated into a very time consuming fabric design. It would be nice if the design pays off in the Fabric8 contest, but I feel like I flexed some important creativity muscles regardless of if it ever makes a dime.

The time consuming portion of this fabric design was not the lines, or filling in the pattern. 90% of the time I spent was on creating a seamless repeat. Here is the method I used.

Start with your pattern. Fill in as much of the paper as you can, leaving a little gap around the edge of the paper. Try not to go all the way to the edge because you’ll need the space to connect your design to itself.

Did you finish your lovely picture? Is it wonderful? All you’ve dreamed of? Fantastic! Now chop it in half. Yes. Perfectly in half. My cutting tool of preference is an exact-o and ruler, however any straight cutting tool you are comfortable with will work. The trick is not to lose any of your design with this chop. One clean swipe. Then tape the outside edges together with your design center on the outside.

The gap makes sense now, right? It’s your finishing space. Obviously, the pieces of your design you cut apart will fit back together and now you have to continue your first loop. Your horizontal loop. Take your pencil and connect your design in a way that makes sense. (If you’re gutzy, feel free to jump in with pen.) That will look like this:

Great! Before I filled in the horizontal repeat completely, I chose to move on to the vertical repeat. Chop your beloved design in half again, along the other axis and carefully tape along the back of your design.

After you fill in the gaps, pay special attention to the edges where your design will meet up. you could tape it together and insert some cylindrical object (coffee can, oatmeal can etc) and finish your design on a tube or leave it blank, disassemble and reassemble your whole piece. That part all depends on your tape. When I finished with my pen illustration, I wound up with this:

The only issue I found with this method is that very noticeable tape line. That gap translates to about 4 pixels. I’m sure there is a better tape out there, but next time I am thinking of using tracing paper and creating layers instead of just one piece of chopped up paper. Instead of redrawing everything from scratch, I connected the lines after I vectorized my image. This step isn’t necessary, but I do like the look of crisp vector lines. I think I’d like this printed on a nice silk scarf. I’ll have to save my housekeeping money for some yardage.

I hope this tutorial was helpful and gives you a new appreciation for non-geometric repeats! Feel free to post what you come up with! I’d love to see some out-of-the-box designs.