If you have ever been to a quilt shop or even a big box craft store that sells quilting fabric, you have probably seen a section labeled “quilt panels.”
A quilt panel is a piece of fabric usually measuring 24”- 36” wide and 36”- 42” height.
These panels will have one large image on them or several smaller coordinating squares and rectangles that you can use for large blocks on a quilt.
Today, we’ll go over the basics of using fabric panels in a quilt design.
We will also show you a large selection of panel quilt pattern ideas.
What Is a Panel Quilt?
A panel quilt is simply any quilt that utilizes a quilt panel. It can be a quilt made up entirely of just a panel or a quilt pattern that uses the panel for part of the design.
For example, if you have a beautiful panel that measures 36”x42”, it could be used as a whole cloth baby quilt. On the other hand, you could use that same panel as a centerpiece for a much larger quilt if you added borders and more design around the panel.
How Do I Make a Quilt Out of Panels?
Panel quilt patterns are easy to find and give in-depth instructions on creating an entire quilt top using a panel. Here are the simple steps you can follow to create a basic panel quilt.
- Choose a panel. For this example, let’s say we are using a 36”x36” panel.
- Add vertical borders. To figure out what length to cut the borders, you will need to measure the left and right sides of the panel. For our example, the sides measure 36” long. You then take the width you would like the border to be. For this example, we will use 4” wide borders. You will need to add ½” to the width for seam allowance. Cut 2- 4 ½”x36” strips and sew them to the sides of the panel like the image below.
- Add horizontal borders. Next, measure the length of the top edge of the panel, including both borders’ width. Our example measures 44”, and we want 4” wide borders for the top and bottom. Don’t forget to add ½” to the width for seam allowance. Cut 2- 4 ½”x44” strips and sew them to the top and bottom of the panel like the image below.
- To make the quilt top larger, you can follow the steps described to add as many borders as you would like.
17 Panel Quilt Patterns You’ll Love
We’ve gathered 17 paid and free panel quilt patterns to inspire you to make your own panel quilt. Quilt panels are a versatile textile that are sometimes overlooked, and I hope these examples show you how beautiful they are.
Whispering Pines is a free downloadable quilt pattern. This pattern will show you how to make a 59”x72” throw size quilt. It shows you how to add borders and create beautiful mountain-like peak borders and a mitered border. You will need a 28”x44” panel to follow this pattern.
2. Snowy Wishes
This winter wonderland-inspired quilt pattern is another free option and has well-written instructions on creating a 45 ½”x 59 ½” quilt. The pattern includes fabric requirements and suggestions, and layout for all the pieces.
3. Beach Walk
Modern and simple, this quilt pattern gives the illusion of a frame around the panel, which is the perfect choice for this specific panel. This pattern would be an excellent choice for beginners who are still learning the basics. You will need a panel that measures 33”x43” to make this 56”x68” quilt top.
Here is another free and comprehensive panel pattern. This pattern is for a small quilt measuring 41 ½”x 48 ½”. The panel you choose will need to be at least 26 ½”x 40 ½”, so be mindful of that while searching. This pattern shows you how to create the 8-point stars and add borders.
If you find a panel comprised of several coordinating images, this pattern is perfect for highlighting those different pieces. The designer chose to use a Dr. Suess panel and chose coordinating fabrics to match. This pattern includes two different sizes to choose from.
The 3D look of this pattern is captivating, and you can make it using a wide variety of different “view” image panels. The designer uses sashing between the cut blocks to mimic a window, and this pattern does that beautifully. The finished size of this pattern is 56 ½”x 62 ½”.
This pattern is for either a wall hanging or a small baby quilt measuring 32”x36”. With simple patchwork borders, you could easily keep adding borders to make it larger if you desired that.
Similar to #5, this pattern gives instructions on using a panel with several smaller coordinating panels on it. This pattern, however, is free and includes Irish Chain blocks in the design. The finished quilt will measure 62”x74”.
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If modern art is more your thing, this pattern is for you! This designer shows you how to cut and combine different panels to create a unique piece of art to hang on your wall and display on a quilt.
You can find quilt panels to match any style, and with this free pattern, you can create a fun and whimsical quilt top. The finished size is 56”x66”. This pattern goes into great detail, so if you are a beginner, this may be the perfect pattern.
This pattern offers two sizes to choose from when making a quilt: 47”x55” and 60”x68”. This pattern works best if you can find coordinating fabrics for all the borders and blocks used in the quilt top.
Ladders is a pattern that uses a panel as the centerpiece and strips for the borders. The pattern shows you how to make a 55 ½”x 79 ½” quilt top with well-written instructions and fabric requirements.
This quilt panel is eye-catching, don’t you think? It’s an excellent choice to feature in a panel quilt. This pattern shows you step-by-step how to make a quilt top just like this one measuring in at 55”x73”.
This pattern helps you create these beautiful patchwork borders to add dimension to an already gorgeous quilt panel. The designer offers two different sizes: baby and throw size. You can use this pattern with any quilt panel.
15. Secret Window
If you are searching for a free pattern to help you make a small wall hanging quilt for your home, this pattern has your name on it! The pattern shows you how to make a dainty 25”x38” mini quilt. The designer has included links to video tutorials to help you.
16. Pine Needles
The borders of this quilt pattern genuinely shine and look like pine needles which go along perfectly with the center panel the designer chose to use. The finished size of this quilt is 38”x50”.
17. Scattered Leaves
Aren’t these falling leaves a genius addition to a seemingly simple design? This pattern shows you how to add these fun leaves to your design with two different sizes to choose from. Any 24” quilt panel will work for this pattern.
I don’t know about you, but all these examples make me want to create a new panel quilt. The wonderful part about panel quilts is that they take less time and look gorgeous and complete. You can also use that extra time to do some custom free motion quilting on the quilt to show off your skills.