Fabric panels are an excellent way to start your foray into the Magical World of Quilting. A fabric panel is a pre-printed design onto fabric and can be used in many ways and sizes.
Essentially, by using a panel as the focal point, a serious amount of the work is done for you. Alternatively, in terms of size when making a quilt it can increase it exponentially. That seems misleading or contradictory but both sentences are true.
You could take a fabric panel such as this one. With a size of 42.5” by 35.5” then this, with minimal additions could be used in several ways. A cot quilt, a lap quilt, a play mat, perhaps a wall hanging. You could simply add some wadding, a backing fabric, and some binding, and hey presto its done.
If the same fabric panel is cut, as a result a set of 6 placemats could be made. This would be achieved by using the top and bottom designs, some wadding, backing, and binding. The larger central panel could be used to make a centrepiece of a child’s lap quilt. The strips of flames could be used as a separate part of any design. The central piece, with some or all the 6 panels could make a quilted playmat.
Going full tilt.
Any of these options above could use advanced sewing techniques. With this in mind, a form of quilting that was used from before the 14thC called Italian Trapunto[i]. This could add a historical context to the work. It could also enable the use of other techniques such as using hand embroidery stitching to highlight individual features. The flames from the fire breathing dragons could be embellished. The same techniques could be used on the knight’s shield and more.
Hand or machine sewing.
Fabric panels can also help people who still prefer to do hand sewing. As we age, with aches and pains in hands and necks, making a huge quilt is beyond many including myself. Panels help hand sewers to enjoy their art form. They also end up with a beautiful work of art by sewing a little piece each time.