Posts Tagged ‘straight across’

Weird and Unnecessary Long Pattern Repeat

March 21, 2013

Digital ImageDigital Image“Pattern repeat” refers to how many inches go by before a design element (in this case, a particular leaf) is repeated on the paper. Depending on the exact height of your walls, a very long repeat can mean you need to buy a lot of extra paper, just to match the pattern. 25 inches is fairly long. A “Straight Match” means that the same leaf is at the top of the wall on every strip. A “Drop Match” means that the leaf drops down the wall 1/2 the distance of the pattern repeat on every other strip.

The label on this bolt of Thibaut wallpaper said it had a 25 1/4″ pattern repeat, and a drop match. I took the first photo because, as you can see, the repeat is only 5 inches, and it repeats horizontally straight across, not half-dropped.

But I got fooled today. And it was embarassing. And could potentially have cost enough paper that it would have been impossible to finish the room. Here’s what happened:

I laid the paper out to see what the pattern match was, as in the first photo. I cut the four strips needed for my first two walls. The first strip went up fine, and the second strip matched perfectly. But the third strip, cut from the same bolt of paper, did not match. It matched in some areas, along some stems and leaves in the pattern, but not in others. See the second photo.  (Click to enlarge.)  The pattern matches at the bottom, but is off a little at the top of the photo.

At first, I thought the manufacturer had miscut the paper. I studied, recut, rematched, rehung, rethought, redid and reflected. Finally I realized that every leaf that LOOKED the same was NOT ACTUALLY the same.

Take a look at the second photo. Right by the pencil, see the stem that is curved downward like an upside-down “U” ? Now look below it, and you will see the same upside-down “U” shaped stem. But look closer – it’s not EXACTLY the same!

On the upper stem, there are five leaves, and the bottom one points to the left. But on the lower stem, identical in shape, there are only four leaves, and the bottom one points to the right. Also, on the left side of the seam, on the top stem, right at the seam, there is an extra little short bit of stem. On the lower stem, there is none.

Man! You have to have good eyes, and a lot of patience, to see that. And it’s important, because even a little mis-match, even on a busy pattern like this, will be noticeable.

What I don’t get is, why would the designer make a pattern that is ALMOST the same, but not exactly? To relieve monotony? Naaah. In a busy pattern like this, your eye is not going to notice the tiny difference in one leaf pointing to the right and one pointing to the left.

The only reason I can think of is – to eat up more paper. And thereby to SELL more paper. You see, as mentioned above, long repeats can eat up a lot more paper. In this case, I think the long repeat is unnecessary, and a silly thing for the designer / manufacturer to do.