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How to Create your Own Pattern

If you can dream it! You can create it! AND it's not as difficult as you think.  In this DIY we are going to show you HOW to create your own pattern (then you can order your own CUSTOM FABRIC!) 

First, let's start with the programs you will need.  There are many programs out there that will be able to help you like: 

In this tutorial we will be using Photoshop.  

Next, once you decide what type of pattern you would like to create, you need to find some graphics.  Here are some of our favourite spots to buy licenses for vector files:

Once you find the set of graphics you would like to work with it's time to CREATE!

In this tutorial, we are going to make a floral pattern.  We purchased this set of vector files (make sure you purchase the license rights to use this to create your own End Product): 



Inside this collection we have the following images:

Step 1: Open up Photoshop and create a new file.  Go to File > New and this dialog box will open.  

Name your pattern and select your dimensions.  To make this easy we are going to make our pattern in a square so we are making ours 15 inches x 15 inches with a Resolution of 150 (this is important not to go below 150 dpi if you want to print your design on fabric).  Also, if you plan to print this pattern on fabric at Little Navy Prints keep the Color mode to RGB Color.

Once you click Ok your new art board will open in your Photoshop Window.



Step 2:  We are going to select the vector files we want to add to our pattern from the collection we purchased.  File > Open > (go to your desired folder) and open all images you wish to add.  


Step 3: Start dragging and dropping your images to your My Pattern art board by simply clicking on the layer of your desired image, dragging and dropping it onto your My Pattern art board.  

Once you have your images in your My Pattern art board you can resize and manipulate them using the Transform Controls (square boxes) around the images.  

Place and rearrange your images on your My Pattern art board until you are happy with your new design. 

Step 4: Save your new pattern.  File > Save As > Name your file


If you would like to take it ONE STEP further and have your NEW PATTERN printed on fabric for your next sewing project, let's keep going.


Step 5: Download Little Navy Prints Yard Ready File. (click to download our fabric yard template for Photoshop)  Open the file in your Photoshop window. 

Now you can see we have two art boards open in our Photoshop window.  One of your fresh new pattern and the other is the file to prepare for print.

As you can see, the Little Navy Prints Yard file is an image of the "full yard" of fabric for your project.  You are going to want to fill this yard with your pattern and your desired resolution.  

Let's fill the yard first.

Step 6: We need to Define the pattern from your newly created Pattern.  Make sure you are on your My Pattern art board (click on that art board to make it active). 

Next we need to select the entire art board by going to Select > All

Once the entire art board is selected go to Edit > Define Pattern

The next dialog box will allow you to rename your new pattern if you choose: 

You don't have to rename your pattern if you don't want to, and click Ok. 

Step 7: Now let's use our newly defined pattern and add it to our Little Navy Prints Yard file.  Click on the Little Navy Prints Yard art board so it is our active art board.  


At the bottom of the layers window click on the icon that looks like a circle half coloured in and select Pattern.

Once you select Pattern, Photoshop will automatically select the LAST pattern you defined (which was our "My Pattern) and fill your selected art board.

Here is where you can play around with the numbers to make your pattern bigger or smaller depending on your project.  In our case, let's change the "100" to "60" to make the pattern a little smaller.

Once you are happy with the size click OK.  Next we want to save our file. Make sure to save your Little Navy Print Yard file as a .JPG so you can print this on one of our fabrics to create your next sewing project.  

Happy designing!




Searching for Inspiration? Visit _littlenavy on Instagram for Design Ideas.