I’m running low on motif-based theme ideas for the Daily Swatch, so I thought I’d take a breather for a while and turn my attention pattern types. You might remember this post on directionality that I wrote with the help of Michelle of Cicada Studio and now Cloud9 Fabrics. I’ll be devoting a week to each direction type, then I’ll move on to repeat types (square, half-drop, etc.) and other parameters. For each type I’ll do my best to find a variety of motif types and design styles.
We’ll start with tossed patterns. They are what the name implies — the motifs turn and tumble as if they were tossed onto the surface. The repeat itself can be square or dropped, and the motifs can be packed or spaced, spot (surrounded by background) or continuous (connected by other elements, e.g. vines or stems). I’m pretty sure this one should be classified as four-way rather than tossed — according to some of my books, the motifs in tossed prints should never be parallel or perpendicular to the edges of the fabric.
Although tossed patterns look random, the designer must pay careful attention to the placement and direction of the motifs to prevent tracking, or unintentional lines. The eye should flow around aimlessly rather than being forced in any one direction. Tossed patterns are most common in apparel — pieces can be cut out in any direction, translating to less waste — and the most versatile in a quilting collection.
By the way, I’m all self-taught in this, so if you have professional experience in textile design, please feel free to correct me or add information. There are a couple patterns I’ve come across that I have some questions about.