It’s a good idea to understand what repeats are available for fabric. This is because different projects will use different repeat types. The design used in this post was one I created specifically for this and is not what I would consider a “professional” design.
So it might not look like something you will buy in the store, but it serves the purposes for showing you pattern repeat types! Most repeats in a design are not easy to identify, but the direction should be able to be seen. Tossed designs are rather easy to tell because it seems to be all over the place.
There are typically four repeat types: straight, brick, half-drop, and tossed (also called random).
The images are in a grid pattern with a straight repeat. They line up both left and right as well as up and down.
The images are staggered horizontally with a brick repeat. You can probably remember this repeat pattern by thinking of the layers of a brick wall.
The images are staggered vertically with a half-drop repeat. As you can see, the images are still the same as the other repeats, just staggered in a different direction.
Tossed or Random design
A tossed or random design is usually where there is no identifiable pattern and the images are randomly place. Basically, the images are not all going in one or two directions.
Repeats are different than mirror effects. We’ll cover mirror effects later, but know that mirror effects can be combined with repeat effects to get different designs.