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Tips to update old pattern designs

Dec 9, 2019Pattern Design Practice4 comments

Do you have some designs sitting on your computer that haven’t sold? Or do you love a particular design and would like to be able to reuse it again but in a new a refreshing way?

We’re going to look at tips to update old pattern designs

So, why would you want to do this?

Well, this is a great way of using a design that perhaps didn’t get sold or you fixing it and changing some elements so that you are able to sell it again to a different market or a different season.

Colour palette

One of the first things that you can do to make some changes to an old design is to change the color palette. For example, you might have a design that is really wintery and has a very wintery colour palette. You could then change it to a bright summer palette to suit an upcoming summer season. Changing the colour of a design is a really quick and easy way of updating your design.

You could even change the entire look of the design by the way that you use your color placement within that design too. For example, if your original design was on a dark base, you could then make your new your updated design on a really light coloured base and that will create a contrasting look and feel to your design.

Resizing and rearranging motifs

Another thing you can do is think about resizing and rearranging the motifs that you have used within your design. You could make some motifs larger, some smaller or you could move the positioning of them. So even though you’re using the same elements, you could make the design look different or updated by simply rearranging and resizing the motifs.

Repeat type

Another way you could alter and update an old design is by changing the repeat type. So if you’ve created your original design in a full drop repeat, you could try updating it by creating a half drop repeat or a brick repeat. By simply changing the repeat type you could reuse the same design elements to create a new and updated design.

Add  or remove elements

Another way of updating an old design is to remove or add some extra elements within the design or repeat some existing elements. By simply moving the elements around, removing some of the elements or layering them, you can achieve different amounts of depth and texture within your design, and therefore add more interest and create a new look to your original design.

So, don’t throw away or discard your old pattern designs. If a design hasn’t sold, instead of throwing it away think about how you can reuse and update them to create new designs.


  1. Janna Ugone

    That’s very helpful! Thank you! I am updating and reworking a pattern right now for my 2020 designs!
    Depending on the pattern, the other adjustment I often make is I add another layer of original outline drawings/pattern that is scaled back to 20% to add depth. I thought I would share 😊

    • Pattern and Design

      You’re welcome!
      Great tip, thank you for sharing 😊

  2. Sasha Laffan

    Thank you! This was very helpful about re using old designs especially about resizing and rearranging motifs and looking at your designs with a different perspective so they get a new life.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    • Pattern and Design

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad you found it helpful 🙂


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Tips to update old pattern designs