From The Textile Design Lab: Chelsea’s Challenge


Chelsea’s Challenge is a twice-monthly post series in The Textile Design Lab, in which I share design ideas and inspiration to help get your creativity flowing! Whenever I am feeling stuck in a design rut or unsure what to design, it helps to give myself assignments or limitations to help structure my work. The goal of these challenges is to provide a jumping-off point and help spark new ideas for prints that may be outside of your usual go-to themes or styles. I am always blown away by the amazing variety of prints designers come up with when working from the same reference, so we always invite our students to share their responses to these challenges on the private forum in The Textile Design Lab. They can request feedback on their work, talk about their process, share techniques, and inspire each other!

The challenge seen above is an example of The Monthly Pattern Making Game, one of our past challenges in which I provided students with a downloadable file to start from, in this case a simple white page with some dots on it. What comes next is completely up to the individual designer, there are no hard and fast rules and we encourage creativity to run wild!

Above you can see two completely different directions I went, both starting from this dot file. In the floral print I built my flowers around the dots, so that the center of each flower is one of the dots, and in the pink print on the right I drew around the dots to form these swirly shapes. Other ideas might be to connect the dots with straight or jagged lines to form an interesting geo, blow them up really big so that they become overlapping circles, copy and paste them many times so that it becomes an all-over ditsy dot print…the options are endless!

The Monthly Pattern Making Game has been one of our recurring challenges, with different files provided each month, but I share lots of other challenges on a wide variety of themes. Some past examples include painted plaids, ikat, mirrored prints, complementary colors, collage, medallions, Art Deco, the night sky, and lots more. We also recently made the switch to focus the Challenge on creating collections of 3-5 prints on a particular theme, as opposed to one-off prints.

There are now over 60 challenges available in The Textile Design Lab. Join us to access them all! -Chelsea

6 Comments on “From The Textile Design Lab: Chelsea’s Challenge

  1. Pingback: From the Textile Design Lab: Chelsea's Challenge, Jungle Collections | PATTERN OBSERVER PATTERN OBSERVER

  2. Pingback: From The Textile Design Lab: Chelsea's Challenge, Supermarket Collections | Pattern Observer

  3. Your website does not provide contact information.

    I’m interested in signing up for the Textile Design Labs, however, I have no experience with Photoshop or Illustrator. Is this a necessary element for your Textile Design Labs?

  4. Hi Linda! I apologize that our contact information is not easier to find. We will work on that! We cover illustrator and photoshop basics in our main Textile Design Lab courses, The Ultimate Guide to Repeats and The Sellable Sketch, but you might find that you need some additional help through a website such as I would recommend having these programs before joining the Lab. Please email us at with additional questions!

  5. Pingback: From The Textile Design Lab: Chelsea’s Challenge, "Redecorating" Collections | Pattern Observer

  6. Pingback: From The Textile Design Lab: Agnes Somogyi's "Future" Collection | Pattern Observer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

About Us

At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and private design community, The Textile Design Lab.