Dressmaking
can never be possible without fabrics. A fabric is a material dressmakers use
when designing and making dresses. There are many types of fabrics with
different compositions available, however, certain pertinent factors have to be
considered before choosing a specific fabric. Such factors include where the
outfit will be worn, what occasion, and the figure type, among others.

 Traditionally, many Ghanaians use African
prints to sew dresses and these are mostly cotton based, conveying messages
motifs arranged in different forms. Textile
design is essentially the
process of creating designs for woven, knitted or printed fabrics or surface
ornamented fabrics. It also refers to the various processes by which fabrics
are printed in coloured design (decoration.html, 12th August 2011). According
to Digolo and Mazrui (2006), textile designing is the patterning of an
essentially plain fabric to render it more appealing or to serve a particular
purpose.  Textile designers are involved with
the production of these designs, which are used, sometimes repetitively, in
clothing and interior decor items. Textile designing is a creative field that
includes fashion design, carpet manufacturing and any other cloth-related field.
The creative process often begins with different art mediums to map concepts
for the finished product (Collier et. al, 2009).

Abraham (2013) stated that, every design is
created keeping in mind certain basic elements and principles of design. A
design may not have a function, but may simply appeal to the senses (Lalwani,
2010a). Even for such purposes, it is essential to use the various principles
of design. For instance, textile art or textile design is sometimes
incomprehensible, yet it follows the principles of design so that what you
would perceive as a ‘meaningless splatter of colours and shapes’ is still
visually appealing (Lalwani, 2010b).

Collier (2009) observes that, traditionally,
drawings of woven textile patterns were translated into special forms of graph paper called point papers, which were used by the weavers in
setting up their looms. Some of the latest advances in textile printing have
been in the area of digital printing. The process is similar to the computer
controlled paper printers used for office applications. In addition,
heat-transfer printing is another popular printing method which is used in the
textile design. Patterns are often designed in repeat to maintain a balanced
design even when the fabric is made into yardage. Repeat size is the distance
directly across or down from any motif in a design to the next place that same
motif occurs. The size of the repeat is determined by the production method.
For example, printed repeat patterns must fit within a particular screen sizes,
while weaving repeat patterns must fit within certain loom sizes. There are
several different types of layouts for repeated patterns. Some of the most
common repeats are straight and half drop. Often, the same design is produced
in many different coloured versions, which are called colorways. Once a pattern
is complete, the design process shifts to choosing the proper fabrics to get
the design printed on or woven into the fabric. Textile designers use specific
principles to organize the structural elements of a given design. The
principles include unity, balance, emphasis, proportion, and rhythm. The way
these principles are applied affects the outcomes of the design. 

Designers might want to use the method of dyeing or printing to create their design. There are many printing methods.

Direct
(Blotch) Printing
Overprinting
Discharge
Printing
Resist
Printing
Block Printing
Roller
Printing
Screen
Printing

Collier (2009) further explains that, in art
and iconography, a motif is an
element of an image. A motif may
be repeated in a pattern or design,
often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A repeat is the point where
an identical design begins again on a textile. It is also the distance between
identical figures in a repeat pattern, the number of inches before the whole
pattern starts over. Textile designers use repeats because they can enable
large pieces of fabrics to be printed without breaks or awkward gaps in a
pattern. The goal is to make a textile design look like it never ends. It can
be an effective decorative strategy and can be done on almost any type of
fabric. Today, with digital technology, the variety and complexity of repeats
can be almost endless.

2.5.1
Types
of Fabric Patterns

Repeat patterns may run horizontal or
vertical. Designers have many ways of taking a single figure and covering a
textile with it (Boyd, 2015).

Block
Repeat

The
block repeat is the simplest style of repeat. It is simply formed by stacking
the original repeat in a basic grid. The figure, always pointing in the same
direction, appears over and over again in rows that line up vertically and
horizontally.

The
block repeat can have an amateur look if used in the wrong situation, but it
can look great with simpler, more geometric motifs.

Brick/Half-Brick
Repeat

 A
half-brick repeat takes each horizontal row and staggers it so that it does not
line up with the rows above and below it. This repeat pattern gets its name
from the resemblance to how bricks are laid to form a brick wall. The figure is
placed over and over again along a horizontal row. Then, when the next row is
placed, instead of forming a simple grid, the pattern is offset so the figures
do not line up vertically. Half-drop is in the vertical direction.

Drop/Half-Drop
Repeat

The
drop or half-drop repeat is very similar to the brick/half-brick, but the
motifs are offset vertically instead of horizontally.

Drop/half-drop
repeats are another very common type of repeat of fabric and surface design.

Diamond
Repeat

The
diamond repeat is also used quite frequently in fabric and surface design. It
is exactly as it sounds – a repeat of diamond shapes. The motifs can be as
simple as one diamond put into half-drop or half-brick repeat (with some
overlap), or each diamond can be a combination of smaller motifs.

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