Achieve your design dreams faster

A tight-knit design community built to inspire, support and empower.

Inspired, supported and empowered are all words we used to describe our college or art school experience. We graduated with a stack of fresh artwork, fresh ideas and an excitement to share our work with the world.

Flash forward five, ten, or even twenty years and we are still the same passionate designers, but with fewer ideas and less time to experiment with our work. We find ourselves asking our partner for feedback and longing for a community who understands patterns, repeats and the power of control-z.

With the Textile Design Lab, you don’t need an MFA or ten years of experience to dramatically improve the quality of your artwork, bring momentum to your career or once again feel inspired, supported and empowered. You can improve your craft, learn new techniques, stay informed with the most up-to-date styles, and make your artwork more profitable, today.


The Textile Design Lab is for designers who:

  • Are ready to move from an entry-level design role to that of a Jr. or Sr. designer
  • Want to try new techniques, but don’t have time to experiment
  • Want to further their understanding of the textile design marketplace
  • Feel their career has plateaued and are looking to explore new markets
  • Are tired of working alone and long for the energy and community of art school
  • Want to explore fundamental lessons such as production ready repeats, pattern layout options and collection development


The Textile Design Lab is a rich learning environment bringing together the webinars, videos, forms, guest interviews and lessons and other resources.  To be able to tap into this wealth of knowledge and information from industry experts and get feedback on my work has been extremely helpful and inspiring. I am truly a “newbie” but feel I’m going to be able to fast-forward with all the inside tips and technical skills I am gaining.

The Textile Design Lab featured courses:

Basic RGBBring clarity and focus to your collection development process through our most popular course, The Sellable Sketch. This system has changed the lives of hundreds of designers and will take the guesswork out of what to design each season! You are welcome to work through the materials at your own pace or through our group study which includes a two month subscription to WGSN and a series of inspirational and informative emails to keep you motivated! Learn More.



UltimateGuideHow would it feel to stop guessing your way through the repeat process? How would it feel to go beyond the standard set and tossed layouts that you have used for years? How would it feel to have a system to developing patterns and repeats that you can refer back to when you are feeling overwhelmed or lost? Your design process would feel EMPOWERED and you would have the CONFIDENCE to get your work out into the world. You are welcome to work through the materials at your own pace or through our group study which includes a series of inspirational and informative emails to keep you motivated! Learn More.



PrintShowMany designers choose to sell their print collections at seasonal print shows. This process involves displaying your artwork in a booth where manufacturers can either buy or license the rights to your artwork. The most popular print shows in the apparel market are Printsource and Indigo Fashion, which are typically held in August, January and April. Many of the major print shows provide presenters with fabulous guides, advice and training webinars. This course, The Print Show Guide, shares six lessons on how to prepare for your first print show and should be used as a tool to gauge your print show readiness.



The Textile Design Lab training includes:

  • Adobe Tutorials [sample]
  • Design Tutorials [sample]
  • Guest experts who lecture on a variety of industry topics [sample]
  • Mini-courses on goal setting, blogging and more…
  • Monthly group design challenges [sample]
  • Access to our private forum with personalized artwork feedback and career guidance
  • Weekly live art critiques

All of these features are available in easy to absorb video tutorials, audio or .pdf guides which you can work through at your convenience. All chat sessions are recorded and can be accessed through our archive at any time. We offer continual learning at your own pace.

A 3-month subscription is just $117.00


I was a total newbie to surface design. Michelle’s courses helped me understand the design principles in surface design and various techniques to create patterns. The courses also had business-savvy elements for designers by including an in-depth look at the pattern market, design trends and what the customer wants. Michelle is so thoughtful and supportive. I have taken online classes at other places and her positive attitude ROCKS!


The Textile Design Lab story

michellef-22_croppedMy name is Michelle Fifis, founder of Pattern Observer and The Textile Design Lab. When I started my career as an Assistant textile designer I was mentored by a fantastic Manager and Sr. design team. They welcomed me into the industry with open arms and I hope to extend this support and guidance to designers across the world. I’ve worked as an in-house designer and a freelance designer and I understand how lonely and isolating this industry can be. The Textile Design Lab is a place where you can continually improve your craft, learn new techniques, stay informed with the most up-to-date styles, and make your artwork more profitable within a supportive, tight-knit community.



After applying:

  • You’ll be inspired to create patterns using new techniques, new trend influences and fun group exercises
  • You’ll be given the tools to master all aspects of textile design, from repeats to collections
  • You’ll feel supported and confident
  • You’ll have somewhere to turn when you have questions or concerns

I especially like the critiques and tips about how to improve the quality of the designs. I think all the suggestions made were very good. I like the forum and I am always inspired by seeing others work, especially if it is different from my style. I feel I could adapt their technique to my style without emulating it too closely or consider something completely new and different.


A 3-month subscription is just $117.00

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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.