10 Ideas for Using Fabric Panels

In my experience, quilters will collect just about any fabric they think they can turn into a quilt. I, personally, have a weakness for fabric panel prints. There are always plenty of them in our offices attached to fabric sample cards, and if they are remotely within my interest, I’ll nab them.

I love the pretty pictures, but then I’m faced with the problem of what to do with them. So I asked some of my quilting colleagues for their ideas for fabric panels and we’re sharing them with you below.

rising sun fabric panel print
Cut up fabric panels like this Rising Sun piece to make pillows, mini quilts, and more.

One Panel, Several Ways    
For panels with one image:

1. Play mat. Take your storybook or busy town-and-country landscape panel print, choose a backing fabric, make a sandwich with batting and stitch it up pillowcase-style. Quilt it with a straight or serpentine stitch and topstitch around the edge. Or, quilt your sandwich and add a binding from your stash.

2. Hang it. Take the approach above but add a border, a binding, and rod pocket to make a wall hanging.

fiji fabric panel tote
This Fiji Tote pattern by Nancy Green combines a fabric panel print with other fabrics from Hoffman.

3. Frame it. Staple the fabric over stretcher bars or wrap it around foam core and frame it. Instant wall décor.

4. Improve the view. Hem the edges, add a casing at the top and hang the panel in a window in a wall or door.

5. Tote it.  Depending on the panel imagery, you can use the whole piece or fussy cut part of the motif for the panel of a tote bag, like this Fiji tote here. The “swatch” motif is part of Hoffman’s Bali Watercolor Color Card Panel.

Mini Quilts and More   
For panels with multiple images:

6. Set the table. Make place mats or a table runner.

7. Place a pocket. Cut out one of the images and stitch it to a plain apron to make a generous and decorative pocket.

mini quilts from fabric panels
Designed & Machine Quilted by Carol Hanson.

8. Make coordinating pillows. Add solid or coordinating fabric to the back and stuff with a pillow form.

9. Make mini-quilts. Carol Hanson did just that with a wintry chickadee panel and some clever log cabin piecing. You could do the same with the Rising Sun panel above.

10. Back your quilt with pieced panels. What a fun surprise!

Watercolor Palette Free pattern from Hoffman California Fabrics
Quilt Design by: Kari Nichols for Mountainpeek Creations
Finished Size: 46” x 55”
Note: This project is copyrighted and for your personal use only.

Fabric Requirements:
One Hoffman Watercolor Palette Digital Panel
2/3 yd Panel Border and Binding (try Bali Breeze Charm Pack and Bali Blenders)
1 Package Gemstone Snaps 5” squares
3 1/2 yds. Backing

Watercolor Palette Fabric Panel Quilt
Watercolor Palette Fabric Panel Quilt

Cutting Instructions:
(A) Watercolor Palette Digital Panel:
Trim Carefully to 35” x 44 1/2” (selvage may be part of seam allowance)
(B) Panel Border:
Cut (3) strips 1 1/2” x Width of Fabric
Cut (2) strips 1 1/4” x 37 1/2”
(C) Binding:
Cut (5) 2 1/2” x Width of Fabric
Note: All measurements are based on a 1/4” seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

Piecing Instructions: Using your (B) 1 1/2” Panel Border strips, join to equal 44 1/2”. Make (2). Attach to sides of (A) 35” x 44 1/2” Theme Fabric. Press seams toward border. Next, join (B) 1 1/4” Panel Border strips to top and bottom of Panel. Press seams toward border. Your Center set should now measure 37” x 46”.

Piano Key Border: Make (4) rows of (10) 5” x 5” squares for side borders. (See Quilt Diagram on Pg. 2). Place colors in an order pleasing to you. Your rows should measure 5” x 46”. Attach (2) to sides of quilt. Press seams toward Panel Border. Next, join remaining (2) rows to top and bottom of quilt. Press seams toward Panel Border.

Quilting: Sandwich your quilt top, batting and backing. Baste layers together and quilt using desired pattern to enhance your quilt top.

Binding: Join (E) 2 1/2” strips of binding fabric. Bind using your favorite method.

How do you use panels? Share your ideas below.

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Quilting Fabric

7 thoughts on “10 Ideas for Using Fabric Panels

  1. I and 12 other members of our guild are adding a border a month to a panel we chose – Some of us are making small projects and some, like me, are aiming for bed quilts. It’s great practice to figure out what size border and what style to add and we’ve learned a lot!

  2. I am making curtains for the bay window out of panels featuring outdoorsy prints. I live in northern Minnesota and wildlife is a daily event here. Any skunk print out there? 🙂

    1. I did a search both on our website and on Google for skunk print fabric and couldn’t find anything commercial. Some vintage or Spoonflower fabric on eBay or Etsy. We do have this adorable woodland panel that features just about everything but skunks: http://www.keepsakequilting.com/forest-frolic-quilt-panel. Hope that all help! Apparently not everyone appreciates skunks like you do. ~Cate

  3. I have used a landscape panel – cut the design strategically around the trees, rocks, small bushes, etc in rectangles/squares and then recombined them with nine patches pulling out colours from the panel. Other favourite blocks could be used as well. Added borders and made a different and unique wall hanging.


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