I'm designing a nonwoven fabric (the panels size will be 69"x92"). The repeat tile measures 21"x21" and I need to repeat mini squares that measure 1/32" each. Above the layers containing these mini squares, the pattern tile will have other elements.

I designed the squares and then repeated them using Effect --> Distort&Transform --> Transform. As you can imagine, the anchor points are too many: my RAM is almost exploding and I really need to find another solution. Repeating the final pattern would be impossible.

I tried to simplify the path with Object -->Path-->Simplify, but it's not enough.

Do you have any suggestions?

I should also specify that I'm repeating these little squares in order to give a "fabric texture" effect to a nonwoven fabric. Any other ideas to recreate a woven effect would be more than welcome. enter image description here

Thank you so much.

1 Answer 1


Have you tried actually creating a repeating pattern, as opposed to duplicating the object a bunch of times?

First, create a bit of squares that you want to repeat.


Then, go to Object > Pattern > Make


This will bring up the pattern options.


Once your pattern is created, you will see it in the swatches panel.


Then you only need to create a large rectangle and fill it with your pattern.

  • Ah, you beat me to it. Patterns are definitely the way to go. I created this single tile and used it to create a pattern then overlayed that on these colored squares for this result. Illustrator is much better at rendering patterns than it is duplicated objects.
    – JohnB
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 17:17
  • Hi John, thank you very much for your help and your detailed answer. I'm familiar with this process, in fact, the big square you see will eventually become a pattern tile. I prefer to avoid creating "patterns inside of patterns". I know how to overcome the old "patterns cannot contain anything painted with a pattern" problem but, even if composed of many patterns, I'm not sure the final tile would be RAM-friendly.
    – Erica
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 17:21
  • Hoooly moly JohnB. You changed my day. Thank you both for your prompt replies and your amazing help.
    – Erica
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 17:28
  • @Erica it sounds like you've already got it figured out, but in case anyone else stumbles across this question looking for the same: you can create a separate pattern for the texture and the colors and it'll be RAM-friendly. I applied mine to a 10,000px² shape; Illustrator didn't break a sweat.
    – JohnB
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 17:34
  • @JohnB thanks again. You really saved me. Just a last thing: on that tile I'll need to place other elements (leaves). Do you think it will be a problem? To overcome the "pattern inside a pattern" trouble, I usually design the elements on a separate artboard (leaves, in this particular case), and then, while I'm on pattern-editing mode, I paste them on the tile.
    – Erica
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 17:41

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