Thursday, May 18, 2023

How Do You Feel About Panels?


Good morning!

I've been wondering how you feel about quilt panels.

I personally have a love/hate relationship with them.  For newer quilters, a panel is a fairly large pre-printed textile, usually with a picture on it.  Here are two quilts I made using panels:

I think I'm down to two panels left in my stash.  I know I made more quilts using them but I may have forgotten to photograph them.  Often, I use vintage textiles like panels to make a mini quilt to hang in the house:

I've been wondering about the history of quilt panels.  I'm just musing but I think they were an innovation that was introduced in the 20th century.  Perhaps they were the next step beyond pre-printed patchwork (sometimes referred to as cheater fabric).

Quilt kits were sold in the early 20th century and Marie Webster was known for marketing them.  As printing techniques improved, it seems like panels were made, often for baby quilts:

In the 1920s and 30s, I found a lot of panels marketed for pillow covers like this one from 1935:

Here's a pillow cover that I think is from the early 20th century that I made into a wall hanging:

It made sense to me that in the 1970s, a lot more panels were introduced.  Often they were for babies and the similarities of the two quilt revivals of the 20th century were similar.  Making quilts for babies was a perfect way to get people engaged in quilting.



What are your thoughts on panels?  Do you like/use them?

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and if you have photos to share, please email me at

Have a safe and happy day!  


  1. I went through a panel phase and think I've used most of them. I still have a couple "full-size" panels that I don't know what to do with. And two sets of 7 that I bought for stack and whack ...

  2. I like panels but I really hate it when they aren't straight. I know most of the time it's because the fabric stretches as it is wrapped on the bolt. Really aggravating to try to straighten out to use them.

  3. I have purposely bought one panel. I've acquired others in de-stashes. Our guild has had a couple of programs about them with interesting quilts but I haven't felt compelled to go out and purchase any more. But I like the idea of a "picture" as an element -- cf. my recent tote bag project. Other textiles can be used as panels -- tea towels and hankies, for example.

  4. I rarely buy them except for children. I love some of the alphabet panel and they are fun to make for church fairs and my son's friends who are having babies. Most of the others I am not really interested in.

  5. I like panels. I haven't used them a lot but the ones I have sewed up make me happy. I have a full length door panel with a Santa on it I'm trying to figure out how to use. It's from the 80's or 90's I think. I can't think of a way to use it and I can't get rid of it. That's usually the way with most panels for me - unless I buy them in a kit.

  6. What a wonderful post. I guess I'd not thought of panels being kind of vintage too so they have quite a history. I've noticed some of the newer fabric lines are including panels again but ones you can cut up and rework too. So many usages for them.