Daily Swatch: Pattern Types – Half-Drop Repeat

half drop hearts

For a block repeat, you take your motif or group of motifs, bounded by a real or imaginary box, and line up the boxes straight up-and-down and side-to-side. But for a half-drop, every other column is staggered. (See graphic below.) The half-drop draws the eye diagonally in both directions and creates a pleasing balance — that’s why it’s the most common type of repeat. Above is the half-drop at its simplest — from the collection of myglorydaze on Flickr.

P.S. Sorry posting has been slow lately — life is kicking my butt! (Nothing bad — just busy.)


  1. j. caroline says:

    Okay, Ms. Fabric Technician, here is what I’ve never known. When referring to the horizontal and vertical repeat of a fabric, if it has a half drop, does the repeat still just measure the size of the original pattern block? Or is it expanded to include the half drop repeat?

    For example, if a block pattern is 8″ x 8″ and then it is changed to a half drop, do you still refer to the repeat as being 8″ x 8″?

  2. Diana Smith says:

    I love that green heart print. Is that fabric?? I would love me some! Let me know thanks!

  3. Fran says:

    I just sat and worked this out. I believe what you have to do is allow enough of the repeat to cover your length then add a half drop repeat. So if you have a 8″ repeat and your curtains are say 50″ length then normally you would need 7 repeats (56″), but for a half drop you need to add another 4″. This would be to give you the amount you need to play with to ensure that the fabric repeat still works horizontally – as you don’t necessarily know how often the repeat goes across.

    Say the block has a left top daisy, right top rose, left bottom chrysanthemum, right bottom rosebud. Then viewed across you will see daisy, rose, chyrsanthemum, rosebud. You don’t want to see daisy, rose, daisy, rose where the panels join. Does that make it clear as mud!