This Japanese karakusa pattern is one of my favourites. It doesn’t repeat that often (if it does it fools me anyway).
My plan was simply to take a photo of a pattern and turn it into a usable and resuable vector. My first few steps are taken from this tutorial on bensimonds.com
So if you need create a tile for a seamless repeating pattern go there or see the tutorial at Very Simple Designs.
These are the steps:
drop the photo into GIMP
add gaussian blur 6px
select by colour, tweak the threshold
selection to FG (white or whatever)
selection to BG (black or whatever)
save as .xcf for later GIMP use
save as .png
open the .png in Inkscape
trace the .png
save as svg