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3 Historical Pattern Layouts To Try

If you’ve ever had “pattern creative block” where you can’t seem to take that first step of drawing elements for your pattern, here is a trick: layouts!  Pattern layouts are simple templates you can use as a starting place for your patterns, and there is no better place to find tried-and-true layouts than pattern history.

These are layouts that pattern makers through the ages have used to create cohesive patterns that have a fluidity to them that hides the repeat seam and avoids awkward blank spaces or overly dense areas.

Feel free to use these layouts in your patterns and tag me @lizkohlerbrown on Instagram if you share them online so I can see them!

The Wavy Vine

This simple yet striking layout starts with a few wavy lines drawn down the page (of course they could be sideways, diagonal, or any other configuration you can imagine).  Then pop in some circles for florals, fruit, or even animals hanging on the vine.

Keep in mind that vine patterns aren’t just for botanicals!  These “vines” could be wires on a telephone for a 90s technology pattern or laces on a roller skate for a skating pattern.  In short, the vines can be transformed into any object with a stringy feel!

The Classic Shell

We’ve all seen this classic shell pattern, but how many modern pattern designers have taken advantage of this age-old shape?  You can put any illustrations, designs, or botanicals inside these shells, and either create one shell design or fill each shell with a different design!

I like keeping my design elements loose in this shape so that it has the overall shell appearance, but doesn’t scream “I’m a beach shell!”.  

The False Half Drop

Just because you like using the basic repeat format doesn’t mean you can’t have a half-drop look!  With this layout you draw something in the middle of the page, not letting it touch the top or bottom (or just graze it so you keep the meat of the object in the center).  Then move your repeat blocks around and draw something in the middle of that square.

Bam!  You have a false half drop that helps hide that ugly repeat seam that we’re always trying to conceal.

My most viral Reel ever shows this process!  See the Reel

Keep Learning

Want more layouts like this and to learn how to create your own unique layouts based on historical patterns?  I have a whole class on that!

Historical Pattern Styles Class

  • Learn how to apply historical pattern styles to your own modern patterns
  • Learn how to create pattern layouts inspired by historical patterns.