Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Behind The Scences of Pattern Writing

I've been spending way more time behind the computer screen than I have behind the sewing machine these days. Writing a pattern, at least if it's a fairly extensive one, is not exactly a weekend project. I always love it when others share those behind the scenes moments of what it really takes to make something happen, so I thought I would do the same and share a bit of my pattern writing process.

While EQ7 has its many ins and outs that have to be learned, overall I'm pretty satisfied with what the program can do. When I work on a pattern, I usually hand draw what I am working on first, and then I have to translate it into a usable form, and for this I usually end up doing a lot of work in the PatchDraw + Motif section. This is where I can make applique shapes that I can layer on a quilt.

After scanning my drawing, I can import it into EQ7. From there I go to the Tracing Image tab, at the bottom of the worktable, and select the image that I want to work on. There is an option to crop the image and then fill the image in for editing.

At this point, I can then  use the Line Tool, Bezier Curve Tool, and the Shape Tool to trace and then manipulate the illustration.

Once I am finished with an image, I can also export it to use for block assembly illustrations and instructions, or whatever decorative additions I would like to add.

When I was catching up on the pattern writing series last year from Meadow Mist, one of the guest designers passed along one of the best tips for me. Sew Fresh Quilts, shared that she uses(d) Power Point for some of her illustrations.There is no doubt that there are some really fancy-schmancy graphic programs out there that perhaps make it look like kindergarten, child's play, but I have to say for a not-so-computer-savvy person like myself, I'm impressed and surprised by the ease of use with decent results. Both of these assembly illustrations were make using Power Point:

One of the most beneficial websites that I've stumbled onto recently is The reason this has been so valuable to me is that I can create PNG images for free. Basically, these are just images where the shape is "cut out", or transparent, and the background is not visible. The advantage is that you can layer the EQ7 shapes without having the background in the way. Here's what I mean. In this illustration, you can see the leaf on the right cannot be layered because the background belongs to the image.

There is a really great YouTube video that shows you step by step how to make an image transparent that can be used for layering, and looks instead like this:

So whether you are a hobby quilter or looking to turn your hobby into a career, perhaps these might be a few useful tips to use in your own quilt designs . Do you have an helpful quilt design or graphic design tips to pass along? Any favorite free online programs?


  1. I am glad you found a program combination that works for you. And the sneek peaks of your pattern look really great!

  2. Thanks for these tips, Allison. Very helpful, especially with the screenshots! The new quilt pattern is so sweet!

  3. I have so enjoyed watched your progress as a pattern designer, Alison! I am making my first steps finally, and I have used the Open Office suite of programs for my diagrams. So far, so good!


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