Half Drop Pattern Repeats Explained
Mini Tutorials
What is a half drop pattern repeat?

By defining a normal vertical pattern repeat and a half drop pattern repeat below it should become obvious what a half drop pattern repeat is and why half drop pattern repeat fabrics require different cutting and fabric calculations.

HALF DROP PATTERN REPEAT

A half drop fabric usually has a large pattern. The pattern doesn’t match exactly on each side of the fabric roll, and matches half a drop down instead. See in the diagram how the fabric doesn’t match if you cut the fabric and align the cut panels.

WHEREAS WITH A NORMAL VERTICAL PATTERN REPEAT

This is the most common type of patterned fabric. The pattern is the same on both sides of the fabric roll, and aligns perfectly when side matched. See in the diagram how the fabric matches if you cut the fabric and align the cut panels.

SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH A HALF DROP PATTERN REPEAT?

A half drop pattern repeat will affect the calculation of the fabric quantity required and the order in which fabric panels are cut and joined to make a curtain or blind.

CALCULATING FABRIC QUANTITY

In our experience an example of how fabric suppliers would describe a half drop pattern repeat fabric would generally be "Pattern Repeat: 64cm Half Drop".

This usually means the whole pattern repeat is 64cm and the fabric is a half drop pattern. If you have any doubt what the whole pattern repeat on the fabric is, you need to either measure it on the fabric or clarify it with the supplier if you don't have the fabric yet.

For your fabric calculations you essentially calculate the fabric quantity as per the tutorial calculations making sure you are using whole pattern repeats. It is crucial you add the one whole pattern repeat to position the pattern on the blind or curtain that is contained in the tutorial calculation. You will now be using half of this whole pattern repeat to position* the pattern and the other half to compensate for the half drop pattern repeat when cutting the fabric drops.

*We recommend only using half a pattern repeat for positioning to save fabric costs. Half drop pattern repeats are generally large and the have a staggered repeat half way down the pattern repeat already, so half a repeat usually works fine for positioning the pattern.

MEASURING AND CUTTING FABRIC

The length of the fabric cut drops (adjusted cut drops) for your curtain or blind will be the same as for a normal patterned fabric (using whole pattern repeats) except for your LAST ODD DROP. The order you cut the drops and how you cut them will also need to be worked out first to compensate for the half drop pattern repeat.

  • Number each drop that will be required eg: drop1, drop2, drop3 etc
  • Find the position on the roll to start measuring your cut drop from so the pattern falls on the blind or curtain where you want it. (only use up to half a whole pattern repeat).
  • Measure and cut all your odd numbered drops and label them. (1,3,5 etc). Measure and cut the LAST ODD drop HALF a whole pattern repeat longer. This will put you at the correct position on the fabric to start measuring and cutting the even drops.
  • Measure and cut all your even numbered drops and label them.(2,4,6..etc).

You have basically cut half the drops first then shifted along the fabric an extra "half a whole pattern repeat” before then measuring and cutting the remaining drops.

JOINING THE DROPS

After cutting your required number of drops using the principle above, you should find when you come to join your numbered drops odd and even drops align. After joining the drops trim the extra half pattern repeat off the end of the last odd drop.

SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF HOW TO CUT AND COMBINE THE DROPS IN THE RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS BELOW

Extra Help & Comments

Beverly Myers
How do you finish the center panels so the repeat matches? I usually make a double 1 1/2" side hem, but if I do this with the half drop pattern on the left and right panel when the draperies are pulled together the center does not match. I took the side hems out and now I am not sure how to finish the side hems so the pattern will match when pulled together. I already cut off the selveges. Thanks
Sew Helpful
I'm not sure if you have a problem because of the order you have joined the panels (as you will see above in the example combinations the order has to be right to get the pattern to match in the middle). Or if the size of your side turns is causing the problem.

We do not cut the selvedges off and snip them if they are tight. We also use a 5cm side turn when making a curtain ( not a double turn). We would consider reducing the side turn slightly to get the pattern to match. In your case as you have cut the selvedges off  you are probably left with the choice of losing alot of fabric from each panel to get a match in the centre now or just accepting the pattern will not align at the join.

Sally
I have a 136 width of fabric with a 33 pattern repeat
Window is 235 finished width with a 119 finished drop how much fabric is required
Sew Helpful
I'm sorry we do not calculate quantities for people, there wouldn't be enough hours in the day if we started doing that. There are Free written tutorials on this website that explain fully how to calculate fabric quantities. 
Pauline
Am making 4 curtains for a bay, 2 widths either side and 1 1/2 widths either side of the middle. Please can you tell me how to cut.? It's a half drop pattern repeat.
Thank you
Sew Helpful

Hi Pauline we don’t usually calculate for people but your question is a really good one that expands the scope of the tutorial as you have the added consideration of making sure the patterns of all four curtain panels align and match where they meet.

We would cut and join as follows (see diagram): You'll need 7 drops, remember cut all your odds first, add an extra half full pattern repeat to the last odd, then cut your evens.

Joyce
Just made 3 Roman blinds using your fold calculator. Wonderfully helpful. Thank you
Carmel
Just to say I came upon your page too late, had already cut my patterned material wrongly. But was able to buy some and trying to remedy the rest. I have made curtains before from my curtain books, but wish I had seen your page first as it was the only way the half drop was clearly explained. And the pictures and advice really help. Thanks very much and will come to you first next time!
michele erceg
I've been sewing for 45 years and this is the best explaination of cutting an sewing a drop match I have ever seen.
I tried to print it for the project I am working on because my computer skills are limited.
Is there something about your site that will not allow me to print this? May I purchase a printed copy of this from you?
Sew Helpful
Email me by sending a message on the contact page
DIANA
DRAPERIES ARE 83" 4 PANELS 27" REPEAT DROP REPEAT IF I ADD EXTRA 1 1/2 YARDS WOULD THAT BE ENOUGH
Sew Helpful
I'm sorry Diana we do not make calculations for people, If we started to do that we would be inundated with requests.

If you look in our tutorial list you will see with have tutorials on how to make curtains (draperies) in those tuorials are detailed instructions on how to calcualte your fabric amounts. Then if you have a half drop pattern repeat you can refer to this article to see how to deal with that.
Sara
With the very fussy patten fabric I am using (JL Plc "Fascino"), the advised measurements are 135cm width and the PR is 38cm. I have measured it and found that it is actually 134.5cm wide and PR is 36.5cm vertically.

Using your instructions, I used the same point in the pattern horizontally along the fabric to mark out my drops, but this point isn't on each selvedge; so it is on one side but not the other. The points in the pattern are 33cm apart horiztonally and the fabric cuts short about 2cm before the point in the pattern I have chosen to use would have been. So this leaves me in a quandry as to whether I actually have a half-drop pattern or not,and where I should actually cut the fabric as the point in the pattern I am using isn't anywhere to be found on the other selvedge.

Can you help?

As the pattern is quit fussy, I was thinking that maybe it wouldn't really matter if the pattern doesn't match as it is such a haphazard pattern it probably would not be noticed, but I am trying to do it properly so would really appreciate any help/suggestions you may have. Thanks.
Sew Helpful
We would always join the pattern correctly.

You need to ask JL if it is a half drop pattern repeat, anyone who sells fabric should be able to supply this basic information.

Saying that it sounds like you have a standard pattern repeat. Quite often the joining point on the pattern is a couple of cm in from the selvedge to give you enough fabric to make a good join. Watch the video in our mini tutorial on how to join pattern fabric and you will see.
Sara
Or...would it be that the selvedge I use to join would be the same side of the fabric on the odd and even drops that are joined together?

Sorry I am having to use 4 drops to cover the width of the window (2 for each curtain panel)
Sew Helpful
As I said i don't think you have a half drop pattern repeat from what you have said so probably wont be cutting odd and even drops.
Amanda Barker
Hi, this tutorial is fantastic! I'm currently trying to work out cutting for 3 pairs of curtains. 2 pairs of 1.5 widths and one pair of 2.5 widths. With so many half widths, do they all need and extra half repeat on them?
Many thanks, Amanda
Sew Helpful
This question is not simple, It depends, are your curtains the same length? are the poles at the same height? are they all for the same room? are you looking to have the pattern vertically aligned around the room? etc.  These factors may mean when positioning the pattern you start the cut drop on each pair of curtains in a different position. (that said you may be able to compensate for that if there is enough excess fabric in your ACD)

However assuming your curtains are all the same length and all have the pattern positioned the same you would only need the one extra half pattern repeat for the 3 pairs as you could cut all the odds and evens and match them as in the diagram below.

3 pairs of curtains cutting drops
Amanda Barker
Thank you so much, it is really helpful.
Amanda Barker
Thank you so much, it is really helpful.
shadrack stiner
thanks alot it helpful
Ann
Thank you so much for your tutorials on half-drop patterns repeat.
I am a textile student,your explanations and demo help me a lot
Ancy
Thank you so much for your detailed explanations.
I am an Indian textile student ,your tutorial and demo pictures help me a lot.
Sue
I'm making 2 curtains each with 3 whole widths in.
I'm being super cautious but do I cut my third width half a pattern repeat longer and also my fifth?
Wendy
I have 3 pairs 1 1/2 width all the same length , which is best way to cut .thanks
Sew Helpful
Hi Wendy,  Looking at the answer above with the yellow background loosing an odd and even width (2 & 3) in the 2.5 width curtain would give you 3 pairs of 1.5 widths but they would not be identical. The reduced 2.5 width pair would not have the pattern joining in the centre at the same vertical position as the other 2 pairs.

In problems like this we basically chop up the roll image and move the sections around to work out how to do it. I'm not sure without going through that process whether you are going to be able to get all 3 completely identical pairs out of 9 drops. Im afraid we don't have the time to work out the cutting scheme for everyone. You will need to print off the yellow backed image Cut the drops up and see if you can get 3 identical pairs with 9 drops.
Sam
I have a fabric which says it has a horizontal pattern repeat of 137cm a vertical pattern repeat of 98cm and a full width pattern-straight match. Would this need the half drop calculation? Thanks
Sew Helpful
No, full width pattern straight match implies that it is not a half drop pattern repeat.
Jennifer
Hi there,
My fabric order was 12 metres however my curtain lady had also requested extra matching for 5 widths which wasn't included in fabric order delivered due to misunderstanding. What is the best way to solve this? can we just order the additional fabric and will this make any difference to the final makeup of curtains?( i.e the fact that there is a break in the complete amount of fabric required)
Thanks
Sew Helpful
You will need to ask the person making the curtains. They will know the cut lengths. and how much extra you now need. You will also want the fabric from the same batch (so no variation).
Fleur
Hi,

I have a vertical pattern repeat of 15.3 & a horizontal pattern repeat of 32.9 & a straight side match.
Does this mean I have a half drop patten repeat or not?
Sew Helpful
The size of the pattern repeat is irrelvant. The short video above shows a half drop pattern repeat and a standard pattern repeat. It is the way they join (when cut as adjusted cut drops ie cut as a whole number of vertical pattern repeats, therefore each drop cut at the same point in the pattern) that determines if it is a half drop. We cant really explain it any more than we've done in the video.
Lizzie Tyers
I have just cut 5 drops on a fabric that has a 1/4 drop pattern repeat. Following your method I added 1/4 drop extra to the length of width no.5 but now find that the pattern between widths 1 and 2 and again between 3 and 4 don't work. However, the pattern between 5R and 1 and 5L and 4 do match. Where have I gone wrong?
Sew Helpful
No idea, we have only ever used standard pattern repeat fabric and less commonly half drop pattern repeat fabric in the workshop, we have never had a quarter drop pattern repeat. Did the retailers specify it as a quarter drop?

Obviously the method described is for a half drop pattern repeat. 
Lizzie Tyers
Hi again,

Thank you for your reply. Yes, the manufacturers stated a 1/4 drop - I rang them directly to confirm this. I have made up 1/2 drop pattern repeats before and have never had a problem like this. I assumed, now obviously incorrectly, that a 1/4 drop would work the same as a 1/2 but it doesn't. A warning to others perhaps? Any suggestions greatly received.
Many thanks.

Asha
I do not understand the concept of odd and even drops. They look the same to me. What is an odd drop and what is an even drop and how do we know where to cut to find these?
Also on a separate note, I do not understand why we have less amount of tape to fabric. Would you not sew the header tape along the top of the curtain fabric and therefore it's the same amount?
Thanks.
Sew Helpful
ODD and EVEN drops

The concept is that you are cutting a certain number of drops. eg 5 drops to make a pair of curtains each 2.5widths  wide. These 5 drops you number 1,2,3,4,5. You then have the even drops 2 and 4 and the odd drops 1,3 and 5. (Note you are NOT cutting these drops in the order 1,2,3,4,5 you are just working what drops you need)

The Odd drops are all cut in the same place on the pattern and the even drops are all cut in a place half a pattern repeat different to the odd drops. Look carefully at the images and you will see the odd drops ARE DIFFERENT to the even drops.

With reference to heading tape, which calculator or tutorial STEP are you getting that information from on the website?
Asha
Thank you for clarifying the concept of odd and even drops. I can't remember where on the website I read it - or was it the calculator? But I do not understand why the number of metres of lining fabric and header tape would be less that the metres of fabric. For example if I need 10m fabric I would just buy 10m lining and 10m tape, but I'm sure I read otherwise here or it might have been the calculator. Should I maybe cut my main fabric first and stitch it together,and then go and buy lining and tape after remeasuring the actual final width?
Sew Helpful
Heading tape is for the width of the curtain not the length, so the amount of tape will be very different to the length of fabric which is depedent on the number of drops and the length of the curtain. 

If you were making curtains with plain fabric the lining and fabric quantities would be similar. But with a patterned fabric you have to cut each drop in terms of pattern repeats so they join correctly. That means very often you have to cut longer lengths of patterned fabric than plain fabric. Hence you may need more patterned fabric than lining. 

There are detailed instructions on the website in the tutorials that explain how to calculate lining quantities, plain fabric quantities and patterned fabric quantities. In STEP 3 of the tutorials there is a video that expalins why you need and longer adjusted cut drop for patterned fabric.

We would follow the process in our tutorials it is all laid out and tried and tested. You measure the window first, calculate your quanities, buy all the materials then make. 
Hilary
I am making a pair of curtains, two widths each side. Each drop will be 4.4 pattern repeats and there is half pattern repeat.
Would I be better cutting odd, even, odd, even each with 4.5 patterns in length?
Sew Helpful
(Health warning these are my first thoughts on this question, I will be getting someone else in the workroom to check through my thinking in the next couple of days)

Hilary a great question and I think yes you are right you could make your adjusted cut drop 4.5 pattern repeats rather than 5 in this case, and cut them all the same length, to make your curtains each with 2 widths. The only way I could work it out though is by creating the image below and testing to see if things would line up and join correctly. (see Example A)

In the examples below the drops are all cut the same at 2.5 pattern repeats. 

Now I am sure you are all thinking well is this tutorial wrong? Why dont you just cut to the half pattern repeat, you wouldnt need as much fabric. Well the answer is, it is and it isnt. Cutting to the half pattern repeat works in this case but not all. The method described above is what we know will work in all cases in the workshop, it may use a little more fabric in some cases but saves you the very costly mistake of cutting and everthing not lining up for those cases where cutting on the half pattern repeat doesnt work.  

When making curtains we want the pattern to match at the middle where they join, and have half widths on the outside edges of the pair, Now you will see in Example B, cutting on the half pattern repeat again but making a pair of curtains each 1.5 widths wide it doesn't work.

I've got a feeling cutting to the half pattern repeat is going to work for pairs of curtains that do not contain half widths and a roman blind with a central panel and half width on either side. That said I would have to work through all the scenarios cutting and moving images to check and be sure (so please dont take that as fact).  

For the moment I will leave the tutorial as it is rather than make it even more confusing and complicated with 2 different methods. Where one works in some cases and the other in all cases.


HPDR cutting to half a drop
Hilary
Thank you so much for going to the trouble of creating the images in Example A.
A picture paints a thousand words. I am now confident that this method will work in my case but would urge caution for other scenarios.
Emily
Hi there, my tracks and roman blinds along one lounge wall are 2050mm from the floor, and all blinds and drapes are full length. However, I have two windows at each end of the room with tracks 35mm and 15mm lower than 2050mm (they are affected by the height of a sloping ceiling). These curtains will not hang to the floor. The floral fabric I have chosen has a 64cm pattern repeat and I wonder if it would look best if I adjust my cuts to match the pattern around the room, or do you think with such a small variation in height this difference will go unnoticed?
Sew Helpful
This depends on the pattern, with a busy pattern you probably won't notice, if it has a definate regularity to it we would look to make the the bottoms of all the curtains the same or make the pattern the same the height around the room. We cant really say what we would do without seeing the room or fabric.
Tracey
I have two pairs of curtains to make for the same room, same length with half drop pattern repeat. One pair has 6 widths (3 per curtain) and the other has 3 widths (1 1/2 per curtain). How do I cut this to make sure that the half width to the right hand side of the smaller curtains matches with the full width to left side of the larger curtains.
Thank you for your time.
Sew Helpful
Hi Tracey,

I'm afraid we do not have the time to make individual calculations for everyone. There are a couple of examples of multiple pairs of curtains above in the comments with diagrams in addition to the tutorial information which explains the principles from which to work it out.
Joan
Just wanted to say I would pay serious money for a book with this information. I'm not making drapes but decided unwittingly to make my next quilt with a large floral print around the border...Oh boy! This has been very helpful for me and cleared away a few cobwebs vs Hubby saying just cut the fabric already and do it. I may figure this out yet and get the pattern in all four corners to match up. Or not! We'll see.
Maria Brooks
I am making drapes for my family room and ran into problems matching the print. After reading your tutorial, "Half Drop Pattern Repeats Explained", I realize the print must be a half drop print. I cannot print this information and would very much like to have these instructions. Is there any way I can get a copy? I am willing to pay for a copy if you would be so kind to send it to me. Thank you,

Sew Helpful
Hi Maria try printing it now
Maria Brooks
Thank you so much for your assistance in printing the tutorial on half drop pattern repeats! I have been sewing for many years and recently was looking for a sewing book to assist in situations like this but was unable to find a good one. Do you have a book I can purchase?
Sew Helpful
No book yet, I'm afraid.
Jackie Elliott
Thank you for explaining the half drop measurement. Could I please confirm something: I am making a 2 width blind a drop incl turnings of 176cm. So I have calculated Cut 1. drop of 176 cm and Cut 2. drop of 176cm plus 19cm Total 195cm as the fabric company says the patt repeat is 38cm half drop.
Also a set of curtains of 3 widths (1.5 in each) of a 267 cm length incl turnings. I have calculated a Cut 1. of 267cm. Cut 3. 267cm plus 19cm half patt repeat Total 286cm and Cut 2 267cm. The fabric is a Kate Foreman at £72 a mtr so am a bit worried making the 1st cut. Could you please just check I have got my thinking correct. Thank you
Sew Helpful
Hi Jackie I'm afraid we don't do calculations for people. Looking at your figures they don't look correct. It looks like you are not calculating adjusted cut drops.

You need to check and measure what the whole pattern repeat is on the fabric. (check it is exactly 38cm). As you are using a patterned fabric you need to be cutting adjusted cut drops (ACDs) that is drops that are a whole number of pattern repeats, if not your drops will not line up. 

You said your pattern repeat is 38cm and your cut drop is 176cm, that is 4.63 pattern repeats which is not a whole number of pattern repeats. (This is all explained in the curtain making tutorials). You should round up to 5 pattern repeats (5 x 38cm= 190cm) etc...... 


Eddie
In principle I understand this however I have a 108.5cm + half drop rpt and the final curtain drop is 223 with 2widths in each curtain. Allowing 25cm for hem I calculate each curtain width to be 2.25drops each panel. If I allow 2&1/2 repeats per drop (the first 2.5repeats odd the next 2.5 even) does this mean the second drop will in fact join the first from the same height? If so do I need 5 repeats total and no need for the half drop extra? Many thanks
Sew Helpful
You've got 4 fabric panels (2 widths per curtain) and are asking to cut each panel 2.5 repeats so I don't know where you are getting 5 pattern repeats total from 4x 2.5 would be 10.


This question has really been answered above (Hilary's question) where we have created a diagram showing how you could cut x4 2.5 repeat drops (Option A).  You will see in that answer, we explain the method shown in the tutorial works in all cases, but doing the way you suggest works in some cases. I'm afraid we do not make calcuations for people.
Chloe Tickner
Hello,

My fabric says:
Horizontal repeat 72cm
Tile Repeat (H x W) 72 x 67.5 cm - Half Drop

How would i go about working out the maths for my fabric. I'm finding it difficult to find information on a tile dhalf drop fabric :/

Thank you!
Sew Helpful
You need to clarify with the person selling the fabric what the repeat and half drop is. As we say in the article.

In our experience an example of how fabric suppliers would describe a half drop pattern repeat fabric would generally be "Pattern Repeat: 64cm Half Drop". 

This usually means the whole pattern repeat is 64cm and the fabric is a half drop pattern. If you have any doubt what the whole pattern repeat on the fabric is, you need to either measure it on the fabric or clarify it with the supplier if you don't have the fabric yet. 

 

Sue Pridgeon
Hi
I am making a pr of curtains.2 widths total with a 1/2 drop pattern repeat.
Do I cut cut the 2 drops the same and dismiss the HD pattern.
Kind regards

Sue
Sew Helpful
No if you do that and cut both drops the same the curtains will not pattern match in the middle and they will look like this.

xx

Instead you need to cut them as per the article and then trim one down, after initial cutting they will look like this.

half drop pattern repeat pair2

Paula n
Hi I'm making a pair of curtains with a staggered pattern (deers facing one way in a horizontal row then the next row they face the opposite direction. When the curtains are closed, in your opinion, should the pattern repeat always match straight across as if one continuous piece of material or could I have it so the deers that meet each other in the middle face opposite directions i.e. face each other? Can't seem to find anything on this anywhere. Thanks
Sew Helpful
As a rule we continue the pattern across (match straight across at the join). You could do it that way but we are not sure if it would look right.
Michelle
Hello. When you have pair of curtains with half drop repeat I’m doing 4width pair, should the curtain be a mirror image or should the pattern flow through from one side to the other
Sew Helpful
We continue the pattern across at the join

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