Fabrics 101: Repeat vs. Scale

Repeat? What the heck is that?

Have you ever tried to figure out how much fabric you need to make drapes and had someone say, "well what's the repeat?" 

Umm, hello... what the heck is a repeat!?

The repeat simply refers to the distance measurement equal to where a pattern occurs on to the point at which it repeats itself again. It is critical to know for calculating yardage, so that you can plan to have the same pattern show up in the same place on multiple treatments, centered across the back of a sofa, or throughout multiple widths or treatments throughout a room.  
We recently had a contest on our Facebook page, and the following photo was submitted in a plea for help.  This is probably one of the best pictures that I can show you to illustrate the disasterous results that can occur when you fail to consider the size of the pattern repeat when planning your project.  [Note: not only does the pattern not line itself up next to the other pattern, I believe one of the bouquets is even upside down.]
We had a lively "chat" about this on Twitter the other day. During that discussion - because we were moving so quickly in our conversation - I felt there may have been some confusion relative to repeat vs. scale.  Scale refers to the overall size and proportion of the fabric pattern, whereas repeat, as stated above, is a distinct measurement, used primarily for the purposes of calculating yardage and planning placement. When considering a printed fabric, scale is one of the most important elements to consider. The scale of the pattern design within the room, for example, will play into decisions on what other fabrics, trims and furnishings to mix with each other.

Still unclear? Hopefully, this quick little video will drive the point home!


Let me know if this "lesson" helped. I love to hear your feedback or comments and am more than happy to answer any additional questions you might have too!

Until next time,

Sarah
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