Novel Ideas for Panels | January/February 2009

Novel Ideas for Panels

Carolyn Beam

Novel Ideas for Panels Block Instructions


Kits are available for a limited time from these sources:

Zoo Parade: Ladyfingers Sewing Studio, 610-689-0068,

Once Upon a Time: Thread Bear Quilts, 888-714-6349,

Love Is In the Air: Quilter’s Warehouse, 800-391-2867,


Preprinted panels are widely available and come in a variety of sizes, colors and themes. A panel can easily and quickly be finished, as is, with simple quilting and a binding. For added interest and to create a larger quilt, blocks can be sewn to one or more sides of the panel. Fat quarters of coordinating fabric are all that’s needed for the borders, spacer strips, blocks and pieced binding in each of these projects.

Look for blocks to complement the panel. Friendship Stars in soft pastels call attention to the stars in Once Upon a Time. Nine Patches set on point in a black frame emphasize the Nine Patches in Zoo Parade. Pieced heart blocks continue the overall theme of Love Is In the Air.

Each of these panels was part of a larger piece of fabric. A few simple steps and a little math are involved before blocks can be added. First, decide the size of the block to be sewn. The blocks added to our panels were all 6″ finished blocks. Next, measure what will be the finished length and width of the panel (the part of the fabric piece you want to focus on in your quilt). Each side of the panel has to be divisible by the finished block size. This may mean that a spacer strip and/or border needs to be added and might not be the same on all sides.

Simple quilting that follows the designs in the panel and the seams in the blocks keeps these projects quick and easy to sew. Piece the binding strips from leftover fabric used in the blocks.

General instructions for each quilt follow. More specific information for each of the blocks, including patch sizes, can be found on our website at

Zoo Parade was cut 22½”x 36½”. The panel only needed strips sewn to the sides, so side border strips cut 1½” wide were added to make the panel 24½”x 36½”. Twentyfour blocks were added, 6 on each side and 6 on the top and bottom.

Zoo Parade Block
Make 24

Once Upon a Time was cut 22½”x 26¼”. The panel needed more sewn to the length than the width, so a spacer strip sewn from twenty-two 1½” squares was added to the top and bottom of the panel before the border was added. Side border strips, cut 1½” wide, and top/bottom border strips, cut 15⁄8″ wide, were sewn on to make the top 24½”x 30½”. Twenty-two Friendship Star blocks were added, 5 on each of the sides and 6 on the top and bottom.

Once Upon a Time Block
Make 22

Love Is In the Air has blocks added to just 1 side, so the length was the most important factor for this panel. The panel was cut 20½”x 30½” and 5 heart blocks were added to the right side.

Love Is In the Air Block
Make 5

With a little planning, panels make a quick and easy, but attractive quilt.

Appeared in:

Leave a Reply