Repeat Downbeat: Funky Florals


(L) Pattern by Amanda Way Caronia of Bella Caronia (R) Pattern by Bryna Shields of Francis & Faye

Bold florals and funky leaves are the theme of this week’s #repeatdownbeat. While reviewing our #patternobserver feed on Instagram, these floral and fauna focused patterns really stood out to me. I love the use of details, various motif sizes, and the way in which the motifs and details overlap and work together to create such dynamic patterns.

This beautiful pattern by Amanda Way Caronia was the first floral that I spotted and that’s why I chose to kick off the theme with this pattern. Amanda is an artist and surface designer who shows a wonderful ability to create colorful and naturally inspired patterns for the fabric, interiors, and homewares market. The addition of the background flowers brings a wonderful sense of depth to the pattern and she created a dramatic sense of movement by placing the small details and accent motifs in just the right way. You can see more of Amanda’s work on Instagram or through her website.

Brightly colored and beautifully layered, this pattern by Bryna Shields is such a fun exploration of the funkier side of floral patterns. Bryna Shields spent years building her expertise developing  surface designs for brands including Crate & Barrel, Jamberry, and Fred Meyer. She founded Francis & Faye to combine her eye for vibrant visuals and her passion for collaborating with brands that make a positive impact in the community. Check her out @francisandfaye.


(L) Pattern by Fossan Design (R) Pattern by Happy Papaya©

I was really attracted to the floral details and color palette used in this beautiful pattern from @fossan_design. I love the unique white shadow that was added behind the main flowers—it really adds an exciting pop to the design. If you are in need of beautifully printed fabric I encourage you to run over and check out all the beautiful fabrics available from Fossan Design, as they are super inspiring!

Last but not least, this beautiful fauna pattern from @happypapayaofficial jumped out to me as one of the most original patterns in the #patternobserver feed. I love the mysterious color palette and stylized illustration of the jungle scene. Happy Papaya© is an illustration and design company based in Spain. They have a beautiful collection of scarves and pillows on their website and their Instagram feed is such an inspiring dive into a world of fun jungle and animal inspired illustrations and patterns.

If you are interested in continuing to grow and strengthen your design abilities, I invite you to join us in the Textile Design Lab. This is a strong and supportive community for designers like you. It will give you access to resources, experts, tools, and opportunities to develop your design abilities. Sign up here to take advantage of some of our free resources and also consider joining the Lab before prices go up on February 1.

Upcoming Events in the Textile Design Lab

sheila_mraz-80212018 has started off with a bang and we have so many exciting events coming up in the Lab! Before our membership prices increase on February 1, 2018, I want to share information about all of our upcoming events and activities. These events are completely free for Lab members. There are no additional charges.


Throughout the year we come together as a community for various presentations. Presentations from guest experts and our Textile Design Lab team are a way for our members to explore various opportunities within our industry. Our presentations for the upcoming months includes:

  • January: How to find new clients with Sew Heidi
  • February: Trends with Laura Olivia
  • March: Designing for wrapping paper with Jessica Wilde
  • April: Attracting an agent with Jennifer Nelson
  • May: Licensing art with Ronnie Walter


Group Studies:

All of our Textile Design Lab courses are self-study and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Members are welcome to work through courses and tutorials at their own pace. But to stay connected as a community, we come together every few months to work through one course together as a community. These group-study events also often provide encouraging emails and extra resources, such as free access to WGSN, the industry’s leading trend resource.

  • February: Surface Pattern Design Mastery
  • March: NEW Activewear Course & Art of Portfolio Curation
  • May: Photoshop for Designers 1 & 2
  • June: Print Studio Workgroup
  • July: Summer of Creativity

It’s time to stop worrying and starting bringing your visions to life—both your creative vision and your vision for a more fulfilling career and life. You may not have the confidence to see this as being possible right now, but with a friend and partner like what you’ll find in the Textile Design Lab, you soon will. I would like to personally invite you to join us. There’s no stronger community for designers, and I am personally grateful to each and every member of the Lab, as well as the Lab’s experts, for how they keep us all growing in a positive, forward moving manner.

Want to check out all of our Textile Design Lab courses and tutorials? Curious what it is like to be a part of the Lab? Sign up to receive more information about joining the Lab and access some of our favorite resources – for free.


Highlights From Our “Storytelling” Design Challenge

Alexandra_Michiardi_StorytellingChelsea’s Challenge is a monthly post series in the Textile Design Lab, in which we share trends and inspiration to help our members develop pattern collections for their portfolios. Last month our theme was “Storytelling”, inspired by one of our wonderful guest experts, Maria Ogedengbe, and the idea of telling our family story, or the story of our community through motifs and patterns. This theme really struck a chord with our members and the results were so stunning that we just had to share! Please enjoy this sampling of the beautiful collections that were created:


Alexandra Michiardi

“This collection was inspired by the sunny Spain of my grandma (and called Antonia after her), who crossed the Pyrenees by foot and illegally to go and marry my grandpa in France.

It’s about my Spanish heritage and my French roots, celebrating a rich cultural background mixing symbols and colours related to both countries and my family story.

I designed this collection with the home décor market in mind for women who love bold and graphic prints, Spanish folklore (like flamenco) and love art (specially Matisse and Miró). And it all started as a cut and paste, and stamping session with craft foam!”

See more from Alexandra on Instagram @tristanetzoe.




Cynthia Jacquette


“My collection is inspired by the visual motifs of my lost Polish ancestry. As I started the visual research for my initial idea—to weave together motifs from my backgrounds of French, German Italian and Polish—I realized I had no familiarity of the rich Polish visual history, just as I have the least information about that part of my lineage. So, I went on a quest not to tell a story, but in search of a lost one, piecing together watercolor and marker studies of Polish-inspired icons. I combined them in a way that is imperfect and not quite symmetrical, similar to a story that has missing pieces. I imagined my collection for the home decor market.”
Find Cynthia online at, on Instagram or Facebook.


Cindi Goguen


“The theme for this collection began from an old treasured family photo of my great-great-grandmother with her family in Calabria, Italy. Some of the supporting designs were inspired by fabrics used to make their clothing.  During my research of Calabria, I discovered the annual spring flower festivals which led me to the inspiration for the main pattern. For this collection my design process started out on the iPad where I sketched my flower motifs then imported them into Illustrator to color and design each pattern, after which the final designs were copied into Photoshop to add the blends and textures.   My vision was to create a fun, youthful, and colorful collection for the younger quilter with a touch of vintage; combining the past with the present.”


Sonya Percival



“My Sirin collection was largely inspired by the rich tradition of Russian arts and crafts, folk painting, and block printing.

I used these influences such as a Sirin bird motif, florals, and geometry to create a hand-printed, folk style feel. My workflow always includes watercolor and often ink to paint and refine the initial elements. Later I define original designs in Photoshop and them put them in repeat. This collection is intended for home décor market; creating it I sought to invoke the feelings of coziness, warmth, and the joy of recognizing the familiar in old traditional themes.”
See more from Sonya at and on Instagram.


Renea Lynzee Design

“Sweet Home Chicago” collection was inspired by memories I have made in my home town as a child and adult.

I experimented with the shapes and lines in Chicago’s architecture and created my looks with Adobe Capture and Illustrator with the apparel market in mind.”

To see more, visit Renea’s portfolio site or check her out on Instagram or Facebook.


Curious to know more about what it’s like to be a Textile Design Lab member? Click here learn more about the Lab and access some of our favorite resources – for free.

Repeat Downbeat: Pinks and Blacks

(L) Mixed Media piece by Michelle Burns (R) Pattern by @sweetandloshop

(L) Mixed Media piece by Michelle Burns (R) Pattern by @sweetandloshop

This week’s Repeat Downbeat features some of my favorite inspirational finds from our #patternobserver Instagram feed. I was really drawn to the color contrast between the tranquil, sensitive peachy pinks and the strong, sophisticated blacks and grays that you see in the images posted below.

This stunning monoprint was created by Mixed Media Artist, Michelle Burns. I love the delicate layers and texture that is used throughout the piece. The placement of the semicircle shapes also brings such a nice flow to the layout. Michelle posted this quote alongside the print, “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place. ~ Rumi.” You can see more of Michelle’s beautiful, textures, paintings and prints on her Instagram account.

I didn’t realize how much I love adding dots to everything that I create until my daughter Ruth started adding dots to all of her artwork. It was then that I began to see the similarities between our work. It seems that @sweetandloshop also feels a similar affection for the beloved dot when you look at this beautiful pattern she painted. I love the variation in the details of the motifs paired with this more simplistic and classic layout style. I encourage you to check out her Instagram feed for more nature inspired goodness.

(L) Floral by Stephanie Ryan (R) Stripes by Dagmar Höffken

(L) Floral by Stephanie Ryan (R) Stripes by Dagmar Höffken

I mean….come on, how gorgeous is this floral pattern from Stephanie Ryan of @petalandlight? I just want to escape into all the delicate layers of watercolor texture. Stephanie is an artist and intuitive painter living in Chester County, PA. Four of her patterns were just released on tumblers by May Designs and it is a beautiful collaboration. Check out more of her beautiful florals @petalandlight.

This beautiful watercolor plaid immediately jumped out at me. This moody piece was created by Dagmar Höffken and I am really drawn to the various layers and line weight that she used. Similar to the floral by Stephanie Ryan, I want to dive in and explore all the details and variations included. You can see more of Dagmar’s beautiful line work and florals on her Instagram account, @dasign_7.

There is inspiration for designers everywhere you choose to look. However, it isn’t possible to be productive, learn, and grow as a designer if all you do is research online. You actually have to “do” in order to find the success and joy you’re capable of in this industry. This is a part of the heart and soul of the Textile Design Lab community. It’s a home where designers can take courses and learn invaluable tips to help them in their career, plus grow in skills and confidence from the supportive community that makes the Lab such a special place.

Get more information on the Lab and access a few of our favorite resources – for free!

Searching for the “right” way


When I share with you that there is an abundance of information in this industry, I am sure you’re not surprised. It’s everywhere and if you like to explore your craft (like me), you quickly realize just how much is out there. It seems like everyone is sharing their techniques, their experiences, and their methodology at a rapid rate. Why is this happening?

I believe there a few reasons why technology has opened up an exciting new opportunity for us in the design industry. For starters, it has become so easy to share information now. You can share something with an individual or the public in a matter of seconds. The more we become accustom to this, the more we appreciate the ability to immediately share something. And when you are mindful of what’s helpful about this, it can really help your design career skills and ability to connect with potential clients.

Another benefit of technology is that it does feel good to share your wisdom. When you offer and share your experiences with others it is often with the hope of helping another person in some way. To be able to inspire someone or help someone achieve a goal feels wonderful. Personally, I innately crave this feeling and I believe that many others do, as well.

But what I am seeing in our industry is that as many designers watch tutorials, take courses, and listen to podcasts they are feeling more pressure with their work, than inspiration. They feel like they must design in a certain style or market their work in a way that is neither comfortable nor authentic to whom they are. Often those techniques and tips that are shared are amazing, but there is no system or process for helping designers to explore how to apply the technique or process to their own style. There is no feedback, support, or guidance. So, what do you do?

While some designers are fine working without feedback and can easily see how to make newly learned techniques their own, others feel overwhelmed, uninspired, and begin questioning their place in the industry. This is not okay!

We are not in a one-size-fits-all industry. There isn’t one way to create, sell, or market your work. Just because a technique works for one designer doesn’t mean that it is going to work for your business. There absolutely is not just one “right” way.

Yes, there are tracks and programs and recommendations that are going to work for many, but one system is not always going to work for everyone and it is frustrating for me to see designers feel like they will never be a part of this industry if they don’t fit perfectly within one of our pre-designed boxes.

One way that we are working to stop this from happening in the Textile Design Lab is by building a diverse team of experts who offer personalized feedback and advice to our members. When I started the Lab a few years ago, Chelsea and I were the only team members providing support and feedback through our private forums and live chats.

While I love doing this work, I quickly realized the wide number of areas of the industry that I was not an expert in. Have a question about activewear or the fashion industry? I’m your gal. Have a question about wallpaper? Well, there are other experts who are better suited to advise you in that market.

Recognizing this as an opportunity to help everyone and not a hindrance is something that I am extremely proud. Now, the Textile Design Lab consists of a team of experts that all bring different strengths and areas of expertise to the Lab. This experience comes from different markets, geographic locations, and business models, and in most cases we are able to help our members figure out the best way to apply our courses and methods to their individual styles.

In a world saturated with information, personalized feedback and recommendations have become even more important.

Like many other platforms out there in the market, the Textile Design Lab has countless tutorials. But where we differ, and why our members get such great results, is that we help our members to figure out the best techniques and systems for their individual artistic style and personality. This brings a more energized environment to the lab and has lead to many exciting goals being recognized for our members!

Curious to know what it is like to be a part of the Lab? Sign up to receive more information about joining the Lab and access some of our favorite resources – for free.

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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.