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Surface Pattern Design From Vintage Bits

Surface Pattern Design From Vintage Bits

A Design Trend In Surface Pattern Design

You may have noticed a trend in design using vintage French graphics and script to create a repeat pattern for use in fabrics and other surfaces.

I've tried my hand at the style using the design "bits" from the Vintage French Papers and Overlays V.1 collection. This collection used to be just French papers and overlays, but over the years in watching how people used the collection, I realized that customers were taking bits and pieces extracted from the overlays to use in their designs. I thought, why not add that ability in right from the beginning? I know that most of you are skilled enough to extract the bits yourself, but what a time savings to be able to concentrate on your design and not the menial production! Some of these were pretty easy extractions, but many of them required quite a bit of editing.

Creating The Repeat Pattern

I created the design so that it could either be used as a design and as a repeat pattern. The first image above is just the design. As I wanted to be able to make a repeat pattern from this design, I kept that in mind as I designed. I used a Tossed or Random style of pattern.

Creating a tossed or random reapeat pattern with vintage French elements.

To create a tossed pattern you need to have elements along the edges repeated across to the opposite edge and placed exactly where the other graphic fell off at the other edge. When you are done, you make a merged copy of the cropped square. Remember to leave out the background layer so you have transparent areas if you plan on using this pattern over a different background. You may need to make this copy smaller depending on the area  and size you want to fill with pattern. Then, in Photoshop, choose Menu: Edit / Define Pattern and name your pattern to save.

Applying The Repeat Pattern

To apply your pattern, create a new document in Photoshop and then choose a Pattern Fill Layer from the Layer Adjustments in the Layer Panel. Decrease the size in the Pattern Fill dialogue box if needed.

Applying a Pattern Fill Layer in Photoshop.

Many Design Applications

This vintage French pattern would work for many surfaces including upholstery, wallpaper, and gift wrap.

Fabric mockup using a vintage French graphics repeat pattern.

Gift Wrap Paper

Gift wrap paper design using a vintage French graphics repeat pattern.


Bathroom wallpaper mockup with a vintage French repeat pattern.

160 Vintage French Graphic Bits

There are 160 vintage French "Bits" that are ready to drag and drop into your designs!

Chair upholstered with a vintage French pattern fabric

What Will You Create?

Are you feeling inspired to give your own repeat pattern a try? There are a 160 vintage French "bits" ready to use in the Vintage French Papers and Overlays V.1 collection. I'd love to see what you create!

Update December 16th 2022

I completely forgot about the fairly new Pattern Preview tool in Photoshop. I had tested it during Beta and then got busy and forgot about it. I've been playing around with it this week and it's much easier to view what's going on in your pattern as you work. I think I might redo this design with fine tweaks using this tool. Note: you'll need to make each graphic a Smart Object for it to work correctly. (Layer / Smart Objects / Convert to Smart Object. I'll do a post sometime to show how to use it.


Mockups are by Creatsy5 on Creative Market. Love their mockups.

Grab the the Vintage French Papers and Overlays V.1 collection.

The Vintage French Papers and Overlays Volume One digital graphics collection.


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