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Creating a design with pattern-filled shapes

16 June 2014 18:14

A popular type of fabric design at the moment consists of an outline, eg a teacup, an animal, or a watering can, as in Adele’s design below, filled with a design.

I’ve been trying out this type of pattern in Photoshop Elements.  Here’s how I did it.

In Photoshop, open a new blank file.  (File, new, blank file).  Choose the size and resolution.  I chose 21 x 26 cms, on the basis that it’s easier to remove unwanted canvas than to add extra.  I chose a resolution of 150dpi.

In the Tools panel click on the shapes tool, above the pencil.  This opens up the various shapes available at the bottom of the screen.  I chose the custom shape and then, from the drop down menu on the right, a butterfly.

Click on your canvas roughly in the centre and drag your shape to the required size. Select it ( a rectangle around it is fine) and move it to where you want it.  If you change the angle, you will be asked to simplify it.  If you aren’t asked, then simplify it by clicking on Simplify at the bottom of the screen.  If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to fill it.

Once you’re happy with its location, click on Edit, Fill selection.  (Make sure the layer is high-lighted in the layer panel on the right.)  In the dialogue box which opens, click on Use: and choose Pattern.  Then choose your pattern from the Custom Pattern box.  Click on OK – and you should have a patterned shape.

The default choice of patterns isn’t all that inspiring, but it’s straight-forward to create your own.  Open the image you want to use or design an image on a new canvas.  Select the area you want to use.  Choose Edit, Define pattern from selection.  Enter a name for your pattern in the dialogue box.  Your new pattern will now be included in the Pattern panel.

Repeat these steps till you have filled the centre of your canvas.

Merge your layers, then select the bottom half of your canvas.  Right click on the bottom  half, then click on Layer via cut.  Click on the Move tool, then use shift and the up arrow to move the bottom half of the design to the top of the canvas.  If necessary, select the original top half and use shift and the down arrow to move the top half down.  There's a video tutorial here, showing how to do this in more detail.

Now fill in the gaps in the (new) middle of your design.

Next divide your canvas vertically, move the right half to the left and the left half to the right and fill in the gaps again.

Each time you add a shape, you create a new layer, so, at regular intervals, you will have to merge the layers, otherwise you will have a huge long list of layers and will be unable to complete some of the moves you want to make.

When you are satisfied with your design, flatten the image and crop it carefully.  Make sure you do not leave a border or crop any of the design, otherwise it will not repeat properly.   Save it and upload it to our web site.  Hopefully, you will have a beautifully repeating design!

And here is the finished fabric:

Have you tried this type of design?