Featured Designer: Amelia Graham


It’s always exciting to see what past featured designers have been up to, and we are delighted to welcome back London-based textile designer Amelia Graham (first featured on Pattern Observer here a couple years ago.)

“I am an alumni of Chelsea College of Art and Design, and since graduating I have cut my teeth working for an array of fashion clients. Recently I have made forays into the Interior Textile World, having been commissioned by the W hotel and several Interior Designers and multidisciplinary studios.”

There’s so much to love about Amelia’s work, but we are really drawn to her bold use of color and emphasis on movement and textural details. Each pattern is unique, yet they all work so well together as a collection.

Amelia’s signature prints are available to order by the metre or as printed cushions or silk scarves. Email info@ameliagraham.com for details.

Keep up to date with her latest work at ameliagraham.com or through:



Our FREE video training helps you turn your artwork into TEXTILE DESIGNS that sell. You’ll learn industry basics and how to make it easy to sell your work. LEARN MORE… 

Found Patterns: Knits

FoundPatterns_PatternObserver21Images via: (clockwise from top left)  “Knitting” by elitatt (cropped from original),  “framgang” by Elisabeth Augusta Borchgrevink “Warm Fair Isle” by Diane Wellman “Knitted rainbow” by tiffany terry (cropped from original),  “knit blanket” by Chris Phan (cropped from original) “Knit Texture 3” by beep1o (cropped from original),  “Knit Texture 8” by beep1o “White Knit Yarn Pattern” by Sherrie Thai

Knits can be incredibly beautiful and inspirational pieces for your print and pattern work. High resolution photos and scans of your knitted pieces can be used as overlays within your digital files or as a subtle background texture. Knitting can also offer an additional revenue stream. Did you know that some studios sell knitted samples to manufacturers? We hope you enjoy the beautiful textures and shapes within these pieces as much as we do.

Is your eye drawn to the colors and patterns you see on clothing or in home decor? Do patterns fill your doodles, drawings and artwork? You could make money in the textile design industry. Get our FREE video training today!

Creating Art for Digitally Printed Quilting Fabric with Kim Gann

Each month in the Textile Design Lab we welcome an industry expert who offers training in their area of expertise, and for the month of November we have been delighted to have Kim Gann as our guest expert. Kim is a licensed artist with wall art, needlepoint, flags and fabric under her belt, including two collections with quilting fabric manufacturer P&B Textiles, “Fancy Feathers” and “Flying Sweetly.” You can read more about her in our interview here. Below you will learn a bit about Kim’s process in creating art to be used on digitally printed fabric for the quilting market. Join us in the Textile Design Lab to access the full post!


Let’s create a digital fabric design.

I create everything by hand, using Photoshop to create repeat patterns and color ways.

This is the way I created the base of Fancy Feathers with P&B Textiles (images shown are to demonstrate Kim’s process but do not specifically show the Fancy Feathers collection.)

Kim Gann, guest expert on Pattern Observer

  • I begin with a blank sheet of watercolor paper and scribble a continuous line all over.

Kim Gann, guest expert on Pattern Observer

  • Then I fill in the areas with bright colors.

Kim Gann, guest expert on Pattern Observer

  • The next step is to paint shapes and designs into each shape. I like to use high contrast colors for this step.

Kim Gann, guest expert on Pattern Observer

  • The next step takes time, but is the most gratifying. Take your piece and look for recognizable objects. I have found birds, bunnies, angels, just to name a few. Lightly trace around the object with a color that can be blended into the background if you choose not to develop it.


Kim Gann, guest expert on Pattern Observer

Defining the main subject:

With the Fancy Feathers Collection I knew I was going to paint chickens. I followed all the steps, but before I looked for objects I drew the rooster. I brought him to life by lightly adding color to the outline of him. I use Golden Liquid acrylics for these paintings. When you outline or add shadows you want a transparent layer of color. After I had the rooster lightly shadowed around the outline I began looking for other things I could develop in the piece. I found an Easter Egg, an umbrella, a balloon, and even a planet. I added fencing and grassy fields. I leave the true background colors alone in the center of the main object, which are the chickens in this collection.

Kim Gann, guest expert on Pattern Observer

Adding fine detail:

This is when the pens come out. The white and colored gel pens work very nicely for this step. Just be careful, they may smear. I used a white gel pen to add delicate little flower outlines to the grassy fields, some stars in the sky and x’s in the background. I usually paint the designs in the background. The pens are quicker and thinner. If you aren’t comfortable using a brush to create small detail, pick up some pens. They work great!


Become a member of the Textile Design Lab to access the rest of this tutorial, which includes Kim’s thoughts on artwork revisions, working with another designer, and more. TDL membership is just $42/month and in addition to our monthly guest expert tutorials you also will receive access to our private forum, nine different e-courses, weekly live artwork critiques, fun design challenges and lots more exciting and helpful content to get your textile design career off the ground. Visit textiledesignlab.com to learn more! 


Featured Designer: April Mawhinney

Blackberry-And-Longtailed-Tit-April-Mawhinney Blackberry-Ditsy-April-Mawhinney

Aren’t these nature-inspired patterns by April Mawhinney just the prettiest? You can plainly see the care and attention to detail that goes into her design process yet there is also a playfulness and her work never feels too precious…not an easy balance to achieve! April is based in the U.K. and currently works as a freelance Textile and Surface Pattern Designer for the interiors and fashion industries. She works with a range of clients, but currently her main focus is on kitchen textiles and patterns for the home décor market.

April writes, “I am a graduate of Winchester School of Art, U.K and after graduating with a degree in Textiles, I was lucky enough to work for a period as an in-house designer designing patterns for home furnishings market.

In 2013, I won a Talent Development Bursary (co-funded by the Arts Council England and Aspace Arts, UK) which gave me access to funding and professional development allowing me to launch my own design studio. Part of this development programme, I was able to build upon my in-house experience by completing the ‘Sellable Sketch’ and ‘Ultimate Guide to Repeats’ courses in Pattern Observer’s Textile Design Lab.

Since launching April Mawhinney Design Studio, I have been working freelance, focusing on creating beautiful designs for the kitchen textiles and home décor market. My patterns are all created from hand painted and hand drawn elements; I use CAD techniques to create the final designs, either as placement prints or repeat patterns suitable for sale or as freelance projects for my clients.


My aesthetic and signature style is illustrative, floral and feminine – it is really important to me (and my clients) that the designs start as hand painted and hand drawn images. My clients come to me because they want to see the human touch in a beautiful design.  Due to the interest in my work, I have just recently launched an online pattern library in order to enable me to sell my designs to a bigger audience. Customers can login to view these designs at http://www.aprilmawhinney.com/pattern-library/

Originally from Northern Ireland, I am inspired by the flora and fauna of my native landscapes – Overcast skies, rugged mountains, wild seas and lush green landscapes.  These landscapes inspired me to launch my own range of products in 2014 – including wallpaper, lampshades, bone china mugs and cushion covers. I pride myself in using UK manufacturers to produce my products – there is a wealth of artisan manufactures within the UK who need to be supported and treasured by the design industry. http://www.aprilmawhinney.com/products/

I am currently available for freelance work and love to work with a range of clients, big or small. My experience of launching my own product range, has helped to give me knowledge in dealing with manufacturers and creating designs suitable for a range of applications – so I’m always happy to help and advise my clients where possible.  Should you wish to know more information about what I can offer and how you may work with me, you can find more information at: http://www.aprilmawhinney.com/work-with-april/

My website: www.aprilmawhinney.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aprilmawhinneydesigns

Twitter: www.twitter.com/aprilmawhinney

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/aprilmawhinney

Instagram: @aprilmawhinney


Interested in textile design but not sure how to start? We’ve created a FREE video training just for you! LEARN MORE

Customized Garments from 3rd Rail

Over the years we’ve heard from many up-and-coming designers who want to start their own clothing line featuring their pattern designs but don’t know where to turn for production. Well London-based 3rd Rail is one company that can help…read on to learn about the customization service they provide and how their services are a great resource for surface and fashion designers looking to start their own line.

3rd Rail on Pattern Observer3rd Rail on Pattern Observer
examples of custom sleeves and pockets


“3rd Rail is a company formed around a collection of illustrators, designers, printmakers and seamsters providing high quality screen printing and garment customisation from our fully self-sufficient studio in London. From epic all over t-shirt prints and laser sharp custom pockets to stunning art editions and bespoke packaging solutions, our services are available to anyone with the vision to exploit them. We pride ourselves on creating solutions for our clients’ ambitions and will go that little bit further to produce the best possible product.

One thing that makes us unique from other garment screen printing services is our in house tailoring department. Though most of our printing is done on ready mades we also offer a customisation and newly launched full cut and sew service.

PO 1Screen printing jersey fabric panels and a close up of the finished t-shirt made in collaboration with The Pattern Guild.


3rd Rail on Pattern ObserverRibbing being added and t-shirt patterns being marked up on the screen printed fabric panels.


Customisation basically means altering an existing garment. Usually when custom tailoring t-shirts people will opt for printed pockets or bespoke sleeves but we’re open to anything.

Our cut and sew service on the other hand allows you to essentially build a t-shirt from scratch. By printing on sheets of fabric from which a t-shirt pattern is then cut and assembled our customers benefit from complete creative freedom as well as perfectly registered multiple colours. Perhaps you want your finished garment to have a different printed panel for the front, back and sleeves – this service makes all that possible and gives the finished item a unique and high quality feel.

3rd Rail on Pattern ObserverA bodysuit screen printed on pre cut fabric pieces for Claire Barrow’s SS16 Collection.


The cut and sew service is great because it allows the designers to incorporate perhaps one of the most universal garments of recent decades, the t-shirt, into their range whilst giving them the freedom to interpret it in their own unique way.

The customisation service is an excellent option as it is far cheaper to modify a ready made sweatshirt for example than it is to have one made from scratch.

We’ve been screen printing for many years now so we know how to get your designs/prints to look exactly how you want them to on fabric.”


Visit 3rd Rail around the web at:
Instagram: @3rdrailclothing


Our FREE video training helps you turn your artwork into TEXTILE DESIGNS that sell. You’ll learn industry basics and how to make it easy to sell your work. LEARN MORE…

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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.