I don’t want to startle anyone, but Christmas is only five and a half months away! Do you have all of your gift sewing projects lined up? Or, are you stumped and stalled by what to make for your loved ones? Are you hesitant to start a quilt because you won’t be able to finish it by the holidays? Well then, I have an idea for you: start with a festive quilt panel and add some borders or simple blocks to make it larger. You’ll have a quilt top finished in record time. You could probably even complete more than one. To get the ball rolling, the kind folks at Quilt Girls have sent me two quilt panels to give away!
Making a quilt from a panel is a great idea if you are short on time. But more than that, today’s digitally printed quilt panels are beautiful and rich in color. The two pretty panels that we’re giving away measure 35” x 44”. One features a jolly Santa Claus quieting a cardinal, and the other features a darling snowman in a serene winter setting. Either of these panels from Quilt Girls would make a wonderful foundation for a quilt gift for someone you love.
I want to share a few tips and ideas on sewing with a quilt panel. First off, while the manufacturer may describe the panel as being 35” by 44”, that may or may not include the white (non-printed) area surrounding the image. Also, the image may be printed ever-so-slightly askew. Fabric is shifty, so that can happen. You will definitely want to square up your panel and remove any of the surrounding white area.
If you plan to add blocks or a pieced border, you’ll also want to trim it to a measurement that makes for easy block calculations. For instance, if I were to add borders or blocks to one of these panels, I could trim it to 33 1/2” by 42 1/2”. Why this measurement? 33 and 42 are both divisible by 3. That would allow me to surround the panel with fabric squares (or blocks) that were 3 1/2” (unfinished). Here is an example.
Since most quilt panels will feature a dominant figure in the center, surrounded by secondary or background art, you typically will be able to trim the panel to any dimensions you like without hurting the overall design. You’ll have to do a bit of math to determine what makes sense for your plan or what gives you the most options. For instance, if I trimmed the panel to 32 1/2” by 40 1/2”, I would have more options, since both 32 and 40 are divisible by 2, 4 and 8.
Probably the easiest concept of all is to simply surround the trimmed panel with borders. You could use a solid inner border to frame the panel, and then surround that with a pretty coordinating fabric for the outer border.
Another option is to sew blocks along one side of the panel, along with borders. Look at your quilting books and patterns for ideas on blocks you might like to add to your quilt panel. The sky is the limit!
Now for the details on the giveaway. To enter our giveaway, simply leave a comment telling me which panel you\’d like to win. You MUST include your email address. The giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only due to the high rate of international shipping. Comments are open through 5:00 pm (CST) on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. At that time, I will do a random drawing and announce the winners. *Only one comment per person/per email address. Email me if you are having trouble leaving a comment and I will leave a comment on your behalf. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Many thanks to Quilt Girls for their generous giveaway offering!
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to get started. If you don’t win one of the giveaway panels, please visit the Quilt Girls website and take a look at their great selection. Once you’ve ordered a panel, you can spend a little time with your sketchpad and calculator and come up with some fabulous ideas, I just know it!