Sewing with panels is great! Often when you buy a panel from a custom designer they are cheaper than the main print so if you’re on a budget they can be a great way to still get a piece of the fabric you like.
Some people still struggle knowing how to use them so here’s a few ways I have.
Tops are the most popular use for panels with a few patterns making this especially easy.
MBJM V tee is great pattern for panels especially if you are sewing bigger sizes and the panel isn’t quite big enough to cut a whole front out.
Another alternative when the child is bigger than the panel and you don’t want to piece it together is to use it as a sleeve. This works well for simple designs and ones that aren’t too large or you will loose the design.
The most common and easier way is to use it as the whole front this depends on the panel size and the size you are making. This is an age 4 top and the limit is around age 5 before adding bits to extend is needed.
Smaller panels you can fit baby tshirts on then buy a small amount of matching print to make trousers. The panel was £4 and the print was flawed so was also £4 from a custom pattern designer. Bargain!
Another great pattern perfectly designed for panels is the Duck Butt Designs PPT top. It is fiddly with lots of pieces but so worth it!
Other items of clothing are also great for panels.
These I didn’t make from scratch only hacked (read about it here) but these are a great example of how bigger panels could be used for part of a trouser leg or shorts. Alternatively just make tiny trousers.
Another store bought item but clearly shows how you could use a panel to make a romper or even dungarees.
Adult t-shirts can be tricky especially if you buy a one size panel. The receiver of this tee asked for it to be sewed on the front like a picture. It’s simple but works and he still has the option of a mostly black tshirt. I used Melly Sews free pattern. I did need to lower the neckline and use a smaller neck band but all in all it was a great pattern for one off make.
You could use panels in home furnishings too. This is a blind and I used it as the centrepiece. You could also make a blanket, quilt, cushion covers and pillow cases.
I used a second panel that was the exact same to make a baby coat. The main part of print made up the back with smaller sections making the sleeves. and plain sections making up front and hood. I only got an age 1 out of it but with extra fabric to compliment you could make bigger sizes.
Bags are great for panels. The Elmo bag is a woven panel and bag is my own design but you could use any shape. If you were feeling clever and needed extra room you could use big spaces like his mouth as a pocket.
Messenger bags are also great for showing off panels as for nappy bags. Tote bags, drawstring gym bags the possibilities are endless for panel bags.
The gnome panel is actually a nappy cut that was embroidered wrong for me so I got the correct version and the wrong one, which leads me to my next item. A nappy is a great platform for all sorts of panels including embroidered ones. You can also make briefs from panels and recently designers are designing special underwear panels so you don’t have to cut round your design.
You can use panels for skirts, dresses, as hoods, on the back of a top instead of the front. You could even make baskets, cover for you sewing machine the only limit is your imagination.