Repeat V. Placement Prints

(The Fundamentals of Printed Textile Design By Alex Russell)
Repeat Print:
“There are different styles of creating repeat prints, but all are designed to seamlessly repeat and artwork along a length. In some repeats you can clearly see where the “tile” of artwork is and in some it is nearly impossible to decipher the intertwining elements of the print. Depending on the end use of the print all methods of repeat are relevant for a particular purpose.
Ensuring a repeat will work as you desire, you must set it up as a perfect tile ready to duplicate along the fabric.
Full Drop:


Half Drop:





Seamless Repeat


(Next State Print)




(The Fundamentals of Printed Textile Design By Alex Russell)


“As the name suggests a repeat print is designed to be repeated endlessly next to itself to create a seamless overall pattern. Rather than creating incredibly large screenprints which encompass the whole design to be printed, and are large enough to cut your garment pieces out of, a repeat print works by creating a square of a design which can be repeated over and over so that fabric can be printed as a continual piece. We take it for granted that this is the basis behind the printed fabrics which we see rolled in fabric stores.
The actual square which holds your design is referred to as the “repeat”.
So if you imagine a square filled with a pattern, the edges of the square must always match to itself. If you put the squares side by side, or above and below each other, the design would be seamless and there would appear to be no break lines.

For designs such as stripes or checks this is relatively simple as long as the lines are created at perfect right angles to each other. One of the challenges in doing this for patterns which are quite organic and asymmetrical is to create an even flow so that when objects are placed to appear at random, you do not get some areas where the pattern is more condensed and some where it is too spaced out. This can only truly be tested by putting the designed square into repeat and looking at the positioning of the objects within the pattern. Then through trial and error, learning how best to arrange the design, constantly reminding yourself of the squares which will be above and below it.” (The Cutting Class)

Placement Print:
“Placement prints can be printed before or after the garment is sewn together depending on how the print interacts with the seam lines. Most often a piece such as a t-shirt would be made as a garment first and then screen printed, or possibly the print could be added using a transfer process.” (The Cutting Class)
“A placement or engineered print is the controlled position of an artwork within a product.  A placement print relies on artwork done to the scale of a product and then being cut in a particular position to control the placement of a print.
In Textile design it is a good idea to make sure you know the size of the product, let us say a dress, before you begin the file set-up. In a perfect situation you would be able to fulfil the following steps.
  1. Have a completed pattern/template of the final product
  2. Create the artwork for printing based on the scale of that product
  3. Print the artwork on selected fabric
  4. Use the pattern/template of the product to engineer the placement of the print, ready for construction.
Many designers have asked me about printing the artwork in the shape of a pattern, I don’t tend to recommend this (unless the pattern is a square or rectangle) as it allows no room for error, what if your pattern ended up being larger than the print, you would have an unprinted gap in the seams of a garment. Further to that placement prints rely heavily on quality cutting to get the position of the print correct. Cutting can be both a timely and costly process and minimising that will assist in the overall manufacture of the product. Individually cutting multiple copies of pattern pieces is best to avoid where possible.
I always recommend keeping placement patterns within the shape of a square or rectangle. This means you can cut a large volume of the shapes out and stack them on top of each other before cutting the shape of the pattern. It will also allow for a printer to maximize the use and economy of the fabric.” (Next State Print)

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