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3 ways to use fabric panels for quilt blocks and borders

by Christine Baker

So many wonderful panels!!

The ColorWorks Concepts line of fabrics has seven amazing panels that coordinate with all of the other prints and ColorWorks solids. The panels are great to use on their own or with the other fabrics. If you need a baby quilt in a hurry, adding a simple border to a panel is often the way to go, but let’s look at 3 ways to use fabric panels for quilt blocks and borders.

Simple panel baby quilt

Simple panel baby quilt

ColorWorks Concepts by Northcott

ColorWorks Concepts is a completely innovative program featuring colorful panels and prints that coordinate with our ColorWorks Solids line. The panels are printed to look like complex piecing projects. Since there is no piecing you can move onto adding borders, quilting and embellishing, making this an ideal collection for quick sew projects. ColorWorks Concepts is divided into Phase I & II and there are 7 coordinating 24″ Panels for this collection. ColorWorks Concepts is also supported by a wide assortment of creative patterns shown in a Pattern Guide.

Make a bag – or two

In my QUILTsocial blog posts last month, I showed how to make a retreat bag using the Soho panel – a beautiful New York Beauty style fabric. Panels can be cut into sections to make a bag like my retreat tote or many other types of tote bags.

The front of my retreat tote bag with the Soho panel

The front of my retreat tote bag with the Soho panel

Chop it up – to make blocks

Many of the ColorWorks Concepts panels can be cut up to make an assortment of blocks. Adding sashing increases the complexity of the design so that the panel is hardly recognizable.

Prickly Heat pattern

Sue Harvey & Sandy Boobar of Pine Tree Country Quilts chopped up the Soho panel to make all of the blocks in their quit pattern “Prickly Heat”.

Adding different types of borders

A simple frame border is a fast and easy way to make a quick small quilt, but if you are looking for a bigger, more complex project, you can add more and more borders with different designs to make a statement!

Picture This pattern

Kari Nichols of Mountainpeek Creations used an off-set design to add extra interest (and size) to her panel in her pattern “Picture This”.

Happy Hour pattern

“Happy Hour” by Daphne Greig of Patchworks Studio uses the Cosmopolitan Panel along with wonderful borders to make a beautiful quilt.

Use them for borders

The panels can also be cut up to make borders for your quilt. Their large designs can be used to finish off a quilt beautifully.

Confetti Explosion pattern

Sue Harvey & Sandy Boobar of Pine Tree Country Quilts used the Fractures panel to make both the center star and the borders on their amazing quilt Confetti Explosion

Tomorrow we use our panel to make borders for our quilt

The ColorWorks Concepts panels can be used in so many amazing ways – I think I’ll just blockade myself in my sewing room and not come out for days!! Now that we explored all of the creative ways to use fabric panels, tomorrow we’re going to cut up the Mod Squad panel to make borders for our flying geese quilt.



Pam January 29, 2016 - 12:32 am

Thanks so much for this post! I have a couple beautiful panels and I’ve wondered how to use them in a way that that looks complex!

Chris January 25, 2016 - 2:15 am

I’m always at a loss as how to use panels so Thank-you very much.

Heather Porritt January 8, 2016 - 8:20 pm

So many ways to use panels……. this certainly fills ones mind with possibilities

Heather Porritt January 8, 2016 - 8:18 pm

So many ways to use panels…….. This certainly fills ones mind with possibilities………

Chris Walsh January 8, 2016 - 1:33 pm

Patti Carey did a talk and trunk show at my guild and it was inspiring to see all the ways she used panels, border fabrics, etc.

Christine Baker January 9, 2016 - 12:47 am

Patti is such a great presenter and she is so talented!

Allison January 8, 2016 - 10:56 am

Gorgeous quilt! Will look for the fabric!

Kathy E. January 8, 2016 - 7:53 am

This is an exciting concept to use panels in this way. I usually avoid considering buying panels because I don’t know what to do with them, but the ColorWorks panel gives many different options to a sewist! I love them all! Thanks for this article…it’s an eye-opener for me.

Christine Baker January 9, 2016 - 12:49 am

Thank you so much! The ColorWorks fabrics are really amazing to work with!

Nikki January 7, 2016 - 6:47 am

Hi Christine, is there a secret on how to press panels so they head up squared before cutting? I’ve always been frustrated using panels because points (like on the flying geese) always end up getting cut off and making the quilt look not so good…………..thanks,

Christine Baker January 7, 2016 - 8:50 pm

Hi Nikki,
The best thing to do when working with panels or fabric like the flying geese fabric is to NOT prewash. When you prewash, the fabric may shrink or become crooked and then it is so hard to work with it. If you have an ironing board with measurements on it, then try to iron it straight. I also try to trim the fabric with the design lined up with my ruler instead of trying to cut with the grain of the fabric as sometimes they are printed a little crooked. I am happy yo report that these ColorWorks fabrics are very nice and straight for trimming 🙂
Hope this helps!


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