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. The panel projects I’ve been working on for McCall’s will have to wait to be shared until they’re published, but I can share my personal panel project at the end of this post (I’ve been sharing it a lot recently; forgive me if you’ve seen it but I think it’s pretty neat!)
There’s 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 this short video about fussy cutting from Sara Gallegos. I’m a big fan of fussy cutting, panel print or otherwise, so I found it interesting.
Another really cool and kind of adventurous technique is to splice the panel and insert fabric strips 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 a piano key border, 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 at Quilt&Sew Shop. 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!
With the holiday season just around the corner (no, really, it is, especially in terms of sewing projects), I wouldn’t mind easing into it with this colorful, cozy quilt, Midnight in the Pumpkin Patch, designed by Elaine Theriault. I love the look of bright colors glowing against a dark background and this project does it perfectly.
Midnight in the Pumpkin Patch by Elaine Theriault
The holiday season doesn’t slow down for anyone, so once this one is done it’s time to start thinking about Christmas! Christmas lovers are lucky since there are so many choices for them. Here are a few of my favorites–Frosted Holiday and The Magic of Christmas. I think the images are really cute and I especially like the border treatments on both.
Frosted Holiday by Katie Doucette
The Magic of Christmas by Sue Harvey and Sandy Boobar
Panels are especially great for kids’ quilts too. However, I came across the Ready for Takeoff 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!
Ready for takeoff by Renae Lindgren
Speaking of kids and Christmas, have you seen this little Disney movie called Frozen? Did you like it? Do you want to build a snowman…quilt? We are lucky to have an exclusive kit design for Love of Quilting featuring that Olaf from Frozen and it’s pretty cute.
Frozen Olaf Quilt
And since you’ve made it this far, I assume you like panels, and maybe even Frozen! So I should tell you about another panel that’s available, featuring sisters Elsa and Anna from the movie. It’s not a quilt kit, just a panel, but it’s currently on sale for about $5. I know many quilters don’t care about fabric bargains (LOL) but I’m letting you know since you may be the exception (LOLOL).
Disney Frozen sisters panel
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 here.
Happy quilting, panel print or otherwise!