Playing with Quilt Panels

A lot of my work recently, both at the office and in my own quilting projects, has revolved around using fabric panels. I can’t get them off my brain; there’s just something (OK, several things) about them! They’re attractive just as they are, they’re easy and fun to use in a quilt, and they make quick work of most projects.

There are lots of different types of panel prints and I would consider any fabric whose design runs from selvage to selvage to be in the panel print category as well, like ombre print fabrics where it’s very light at one selvage and very dark at the opposite. Lots of panel prints are a collection of images, with one larger central print and several smaller blocks. I like them all; do you have a favorite type? So the first thing you’ll want to do when using a panel print is to cut it out accurately. This may be old news for some, but I like to think that someone, somewhere wants to start quilting today and I’d like to be a good resource for him or her, so I’d recommend How to Fussy Cut Fabrics with Sarah Gallegos. I’m a big fan of fussy cutting, panel print or otherwise, so I found it interesting.

Sarah demonstrates the splice and insert technique.

Another really cool and kind of adventurous technique is the splice and insert technique to get a unique, graphic look. Sarah can walk you through that process too! Once you’ve got the panel cut (and spliced, if you care to), then it’s just a matter of figuring out how you want to frame it! The sky is the limit for this step, really, and one is only limited by their imagination. There are plenty of patterns to refer to, which I’ll get to in a bit, or you can try designing your own using basic piecing techniques. Here’s Sarah again, showing us how to make piano key borders, which would be an excellent choice for framing a panel.

You could also use your favorite blocks, a combination of blocks, a series of border strips, and probably other ideas I haven’t even considered yet. Luckily, I’m not the only one thinking hard about working with panels. Many of the designers we work with like to use them as well and there are quite a few patterns available. But since a number of panel patterns can be pretty specific to the featured panel, sometimes kits can be a better choice. There are some great kits available too!

“Frosted Holiday” by Katie Doucette

With the holiday season just around the corner (no, really, it is, especially in terms of sewing projects, this quilt, Frosted Holiday quilt kit might be just the ticket.

“Ready for Takeoff” by Renae Lindgren

Panels are especially great for kids’ quilts too. I came across the Ready for Takeout quilt kit and I am just about ready to buy it for myself! I think Renae used all the different elements so well, and the illustrations on the panel are great. I hope you agree!

“Coming to Town” by Elaine Theriault

How about a little bit of Father Christmas to brighten your table this year? Snag this bespoke quilt kit to decorate for yourself or as a quick hostess gift.

“Among the Stars” by Karen Bialik

One more beautiful kit to consider is the Among the Stars quilt kit by Karen Bialik. It combines ombre style fabrics with a panel for a stunning quilt!

At the top of this blog, I said I’d share my recent project using panel prints. I didn’t use them in a traditional way, though—I cut them all up! Read about my version of Santa Fe Sunrise. For more exciting panel quilt ideas, check out Easy Quilts Winter 2018.

Happy quilting—panel, print or otherwise!

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