Surface Pattern Designs by Christina Jean Designs Vintage Florals Pink Roses Denim

How Surface Pattern Design Found Me and Followed Me for 20 Years

Surface Pattern Design had to knock on my door Five times before I opened it..

The First Time SPD Knocked on my door.

(2006) During An Adobe Illustrator Class for Fashion Design

The first time Surface Pattern Design was introduced to me was during an Adobe Illustrator class I took for Fashion Design when I was getting my Fashion Design and Technology Degrees. I was 22 years old and had had an obsession with fabric and prints since I was 8.

The instructor did show us how to make a basic repeating pattern so we could "fill" our shapes with something more interesting and I was hooked! 

The Second Time SPD Knocked on my door.

 (2007) A Book

I had to know more after my class so I found a book, it was called Adobe Illustrator for Fashion Design. It had a chapter on making a repeating patterns that you could then use for your designs or your portfolio

I opened up my computer and began to make some repeating patterns for my portfolio. But I found it difficult to make the patterns I was seeing in my head, directly in the program (Illustrator was a baby at this time too).

So I made my first portfolio hand drawing patterns onto my design. I felt the patterns in the collections were really just as important as the designs themselves and I remember thinking it would be cool to design the patterns for my clothes as well!

Then I graduated got 2 jobs and worked so hard and played so hard that my creativity was left to little moments at work or during play. And the idea faded into my life as I amped up my resume with experience.

Photo: My first portfolio with hand drawn patterns: 

Fashion Design Portfolio Christina Jean 2007 Hand Drawn Pattern Examples


The Third Time SPD Knocked on my door.

(2017) A Lotta Jansdotter Block Printing Workshop:

10 years later after a career with many fashion brands from A Small Design House (in San Francisco) to Athleta to GAP to Lucy with titles like Production Manager, Assistant Designer and Technical Designer... I met with surface pattern design again. I was one year postpartum with my first baby.

I took a class from Lotta Jansdotter one of my favorite creators! It was a dream, she came to San Francisco, hosted this intimate block printing class for a whole day and I felt inspired to be creative again!

My starter idea for my printed denim bags was born here.

Photo: Me and Lotta and some photos from the class:

Lotta Jansdotter Block Printing Class Prints by Christina Jean Designs

The Fourth Time SPD Knocked on my door.

(2019) Starting my Own Handmade Denim Bag Store

I started my own handmade denim bag company in 2019, I had been creating for the past two years with all kinds of things, this was when I also took up hand lettering with an obsession so I was making art.

I told myself I had two years to figure out how to start making my own patterns for my bags instead of relying on other designers. I really had a dream for creating products that were ALL my own designs.

I found Bonnie Christine in 2020, her membership Flourish and her course Immersion were something that came up for me in 2020 and in 2021 but it just wasn't the right timing with my small kids and my new business.

I did start making some patterns in Procreate using a Spoonflower tutorial and in 2021 I launched a few styles with my own prints and try customers loved them especially my Lucky You Tote!

Photo: Lucky You Denim Tote made and Designed by Christina Jean Designs

 Lucky You Denim Tote by Christina Jean Designs Pattern and Bag Made by Christina Jean


The Fifth Time SPD Knocked on my door.

(2022) The Immersion Course Surface Pattern Design by Bonnie Christine

When surface pattern design knocked on my door for the fifth time I finally let it in the house.

This was in 2022 when I decided I was ready to to take Immersion, a course by Bonnie Christine on how to become a surface pattern designer. I wanted to know the everything there was about pattern design for my bag business and I wanted to know more: like what other options are out there for a Surface Pattern Designer. 

I am so thankful this idea of creating patterns stuck with me for over 20 years!

When its time, its time. 

Be patient, know that everything you have done before is leading you to where you will go next and that repeats forever. It's a journey that does not end and I am certainly not at the end.

The cosmos is the limit and I am here to receive.

To anyone thinking its too late, for anything in life, I would say hold tight. Take the next step, always listen to your heart and your gut and get a move on.

Photos: My first mini pattern collection: La Forêt en Rose

La Foret en Rose Pattern Collection by Christina Jean Designs Vintage Blue

La Foret en Rose Pattern Collection by Christina Jean Designs Soft Pink

Where Surface Pattern Design has led me this last year.

In Conclusion what I have accomplished and where I am headed:

After creating this pattern collection at the end of the course I used the blue version to open up a pop up shop with fun giftable items for Christmas with my own designs on them.

I had a brand photo shoot with my art, with my designs and with my studio so I could start down this path on a serious note. This was one of the best things I have done since I can now communicate to you what exactly it is I am up to!

I have also created a pattern specifically for my families 2022 Christmas card. Not everything you learn has to be for profit it could just be for fun!

I have printed these fabrics out and made some new bag prototypes for my handbag line coming in 2023.

I can now call myself an artist after 20 years of being an artist.

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Denim Tote with Pink Roses Pattern by Christina Jean Designs

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