For the last 3 months I have been doing a few online design courses with Make it in Design. These are fabulous course packed full with really useful information about surface pattern design and lots of trend briefs and creative exercises to get your teeth into and generally build your portfolio as you go along. I have really enjoyed doing these, even though I did two five week modules consecutively, which was pretty intensive.
You can find more about MIID and these courses here: https://makeitindesign.com/ and I would recommend them to designers both new to surface pattern and more experienced designers like me who just needed a fresher outlook, new ideas and connecting with like minded creatives via the Facebook groups.
I was lucky enough when doing M2 and M3 to win not ONLY a free place on the Summer School course and the Winter School but also three months free access to MIID The Colour Gang.
Learning new skills, challenging yourself and the way you work should never stop and I am still creating designs based on the trends and themes given to me via Make it in Design. I love it.