Hi there!

I'm Bärbel Dressler


If you’re looking to elevate your abilities as a surface pattern designer - and love historic patterns - you have come to the right place!



When learning the craft of designing patterns, I quickly discovered I was intrigued by historical patterns and I dreamt about learning to create patterns like that. But it seemed difficult, almost impossible.

After hours and hours of research, studies and explorations I eventually figured it out and at the same time, developed my own style and techniques for designing historically inspired patterns, using a mix of both traditional and modern tools and techniques.

Today I have created patterns inspired by historical styles for companies around the world.

With my History Repeating website, newsletter and education programs I want to help you learn how to create the patterns of your dreams too - and become a confident master at this craft.



The unconventional story of


When first I discovered surface pattern design - and realized that it was an actual profession - I was so happy! It was like finding the missing piece. Destiny, finally!

But I was in the midst of life, had just turned 40, with family, house, cars, mortgage, a career in marketing with a good salary. How on earth could I pivot and become a pattern designer instead, with no design education, knowledge or experience to lean on? I felt stuck and the happiness was soon clouded by the impossibilities about it all.

Fast forward to today and I'm a practicing surface pattern designer, who also teaches other designers about pattern design. So how did I make that happen, despite all those impossibilities I saw in front of me?

Well, my pattern design journey took lots of twists and turns. Let me show you with a timeline of turning points and milestones along the way:


There are some circumstances and events that were integral for making this happen and succeeding, despite all impossibilities:

1. I had people supporting and believing in me; My husband who thought my dream (and health) was more important than a second salary. And a friend who gave my first pattern commission before I had even started a business or knew how to create a proper digital and repeating pattern.

2. My rebellious and stubborn mindset; I refused to let age and lack of education or experience stop me. I believed I had what it took and gave myself a real chance.

3. Finding a mentor & community: This set me off in the right direction after a few months of trying to learn on my own. Without this I don't think I would have actually made it.

4. Daring to put myself out there: If I had known what I know today I would never have submitted my portfolio so soon (I can cringe a bit looking at those patterns from that time ๐Ÿ™ˆ). But it worked, which proves that it's not a matter of what we believe about our abilities, it's about timing and having the courage to give ourselves a chance. And no matter what, all we do adds up to becoming valuable experiences.

There's actually not anything unconventional about these 4 factors - they are what it takes to cross the finish line. Pretty straight forward, right? ๐Ÿคช

And you can do it too!


The story of History Repeating

My two "superpowers"

I've always loved drawing and been interested in history since I was a kid, especially historic interiors and dress. So when I was learning how to create patterns, I was of course most of all intrigued by patterns and art from bygone eras. I really wanted to create patterns like that, but it seemed so difficult, almost impossible and there was no place to learn how to do it either.

So what to do?

Becoming a pattern historian

Well, there was nothing else to do but teach myself and it all started with researching everything I could about the Toile de Jouy style. After hours and hours of studies and experimentation I finally figured it out.

And realized - this was fun! So I moved on to Indian Florals, and then a long line of other historic patterns and styles, like Paisley, Damask, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, patterns of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, medieval and renaissance patterns - and many more.

Learning advanced pattern design

It was by studying historical patterns and styles learned how to create more complex patterns and compositions.

All that practicing and exploring helped me develop a process and techniques for designing historically inspired patterns, using a mix of both traditional and modern tools and techniques.


Becoming a teacher

 Then I thought; well, there must be other aspiring pattern designers out there, who like me, would like to know how to create Toile de Jouy inspired patterns.

So I created my first pattern design course on Skillshare - "Classic Pattern Design - How to create Toile de Jouy patterns". After that followed a series of courses about other classic pattern styles.

Learn more about my courses on Skillshare >>

Continued training - with the Evolution membership & community

When my students expressed a wish for more and continued help to develop their skills and learn more about historic patterns, I created a membership for pattern designers called Evolution in 2020.

For this I had to create a new platform where I could host Evolution - and History Repeating was born.


Bringing order to things - with the Repertoire course

But soon I realized that the lessons and tutorials I had created for Evolution was really a course, but without a particular order of things. And so I had an idea, to gather all the pieces of education that I had sprinkled in various places, and bring it all together in a course, where the lessons would build on each other in complexity. In 2022 I released the Build your pattern design Repertoire - a 9-week online course here on History Repeating.

Now Evolution became a Repertoire alumni only membership.

The Repertoire course open for enrollment once a year, in August/September.

Learn more about Repertoire & sign up to the waitlist >>