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From Panel to Fashion: Sewing Runway-Ready Garments from a Fabric Panel.

Sewing Creatively Challenge - Using Fabric Panels in Fashion.

The Challenge- to turn this bold panel print into a skirt!

My next project of my "Be Creative Challenge, Recession Proof your Wardrobe".

This month is all about “What can I sew with a fabric panel?" Or “Can you use fabric panels in fashion design?”

My goal this year is to use what I have, try new creative techniques and make fashion art. (Although I still buy fabric if I love it, especially if I am on one of my Sew on the Road fabric trips). In last month’s creative challenge, I transformed my old raincoat with spray dye and a circle stencil design.

Looking thru my fabric stash, I came across this fun panel.

Fabric Panels used for fashion sewing
Fabric Panel from a quilting store

I had bought it a few years ago from Missouri Quilt Star (I was looking for something else, the blinders didn’t work).

I am not a quilter and always wondered what fabric panels are used for and how do you cut fabric panels. I thought quilts were made from sewing fabric pieces together? How do quilters make a quilt from a fabric panel? All I know is it is fabric and fabrics are used for clothes!

Since I bought this piece, I have been hoping for a creative idea to pop into my mind but it just was not coming. This bold panel is just not made for a fashion piece. Making it even more of a challenge. I also wanted to make it for my friend Linda who is a director, I thought it would be fun for all her film festivals.

So finally, the idea came. Using my go to pattern, The Rosie, a square-circle skirt. A simple pattern where you don’t need to interrupt the print design with seams. I will add black borders to add to the length and width, having it blend into the print.
The Rosie Skirt Pattern - link to the pattern

First, I mapped it all out...

I’ll just add my favorite supima cotton sateen to the sides and back, get the right dimensions for the pattern and then cut the circle out in the middle.

cutting a fabric panel

Then make the yoke out of same supima cotton.

Also, adding a trim between the yoke and skirt helps blend them together. I can use the borders of the panel as trim.

Next add some fold over elastic to the waist.

And, whalla, I have a skirt!

using fabric panels to sew fashion
Fabric Panel into a new skirt!

Now for some fun. Add a bit more fun and embellish the fabric panel with stencils and fabric paint. The panel has little stars throughout but could use some more. To really make the black contrast blend in and be part of the panel I will paint some stars on it too. The panel had stars so they will look like all parts of the panel.

I practiced this first and found it easier in my mind than the actual outcome. 😏

I had some left-over star stickers and used the negative side to create an easy stencil. Worked great, just needed to use spray glue to make them stick better to fabric.

Last month’s challenge was also using stencils, and this project is using 2 of the creative ideas (panels and stencils). Maybe at the end of this challenge I can use all the projects rolled into one!

So now to paint the stars onto my skirt. If they don’t turn out well the paint does not wash off 🤔 I could always replace the black borders though.

Well, the first star did not turn out at all. It was more of a moon shape. I’m guessing the glue didn’t stick to well. And I need to use less paint in a lighter coat.

I continued on and the stars came out much better. I also painted them on the panel itself to help blend the look and then did a cluster on the yoke, on my left hip area.

Paint in quarter sections and let it dry...

Wow, this skirt came out better than I was envisioning. Love when that happens. What a fun skirt I have now. A perfect skirt to wear to my Costume Designers Guild union meeting in Los Angeles.

using fabric panels to sew garments

So now hopefully I’ve inspired you to see panels differently. Instead of saying "oh wow, so pretty but what to make with it?" You can now be thinking of creative ways to turn panel art into a fun fashion piece.

Okay, now do I give it to Linda?

I have so many skirts I guess I can’t wear them all.

Here are some other skirts I have made using panels

And here are some other ideas for sewing with panels

  • Use the print in pocket designs

  • Adding borders to contrast the fabrics, bring out the colors.

  • Use as patches for a patchwork garment.

  • Use them as side panels in pants or skirts

  • Use for collars, front bands and cuffs.

  • Use for shoulder yokes or skirt yokes

I hope I have inspired you to give panels a try.

Search fabric panels or quilt panels on Google and over at Missouri Star Quilts.

Find a print that speaks to you, (the ones that made you take a second look).

Study the pattern design, check the measurements and buy it!

That's your first step.

Print out the image and be thinking of ideas while it is route to your mailbox!

If you want to use the Rosie Pattern, click here and you can download it!

Here is the video about the making of this skirt! :

Some samples of Panels:

Fold-over elastic I love:

See you in the next challenge!


(704) 799-3553



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