Some folks love either designing in repeat or putting designs into repeat, but I must admit it's not my favorite task. I'm much more of a free flow kind of person. But here is one easy way I can create a quick and interesting repeating pattern, that's different from the traditional square or half drop repeat. And if you are interested, you can watch a 15 minute video of me sketching what is to later become this beautiful decorative pattern.
It's pretty amazing how simple it is and it's fun too! It took me under an hour to create this pattern from start to finish. Of course I did a tiny bit of cleanup and if I were to do multiple colors, it would take longer, but after I did a live trace in Illustrator, I left the variations of gray because I liked the "antiqued" look that it created and that saved time.
Go to my Product Samples tab to see more reflective patterns that I have designed to be used as tablecloths.
So to start, fill a page in your sketchbook with a design—of anything! The key is to have shapes running off the edges and corners so that they will join when flipped horizontally and vertically. Keep this in mind as you are drawing and try to envision what will happen when they are reversed and joined. It makes for less clean up down the road.
Next bring your sketch into Photoshop and flip and copy the image both horizontally and vertically on the top, bottom and sides. You may need to fill in and do slight adjustments at this point if there are any gaps or strange seams (see image below left).
That's it. You have yourself a cool reflective pattern that you can play with. Have fun!