Created by Nikki Johnson of fabric.com
We always need a little reminder to look on the bright side, right?
Today we’re going to show you how to make a super easy panel quilt that’s perfect for adding a spot of color to your favorite room. This would make a perfect holiday gift, too!
- 1 Bright Side Panel (or browse all of our quilt panels and tweak these instructions slightly depending on the size)
- 1 package throw sized batting
- 1 yard white background fabric for borders
- ¼ yard yellow background fabric for corners
- ½ yard light green fabric for binding
- (4) 1 yard cuts of 4 different fabrics for pieced back.
I used these four, but any four will do. You can also use 3 yards of a non-directional fabric or 4 yards of a directional fabric for the back if you’d prefer a 1-fabric backing. I wanted to do a back that was a little more interesting, since the front is so simple:
Bright Side Doily Light Yellow
Bright Side Meadow Yellow
Bright Side Meadow Pine Green
Bright Side Floral Pistachio
Shop the whole Bright Side Collection here.
You will also need standard quilting supplies:
- Fabric Shears
- 6.5” x 24” acrylic ruler
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat: The bigger the better. this one is a good size and has nice markings.
- Materials for basting: We love this one or this one or even this one .
- And of course, you’ll need a high quality thread for quilting and piecing. Aurifil is my favorite, and gives a superb finish every time.
The minute I saw this bright and happy collection, I knew that a quilt was in its future. It may be fall, but this optimistic little panel adds a spot of brightness that is evergreen.
The finished size of this quilt is approximately 52” x 60”, a nice throw size. Use a ¼” seam allowance throughout.
For the front of the quilt:
Prepare your fabrics
- Cut (4) 8.5” x WOF (width of fabric) strips from your border fabric.
- Sub-cut two of these into 8.5” x 36.5” strips. 36.5” is the panel measurement, so these will match those sides.
- Cut the selvedges off the other two strips
Cut the selvedges off the panel. The panel’s sides and the two strips that the selvedges were removed from should now be the same length.
Make sure your panel edges are straight, if they aren’t, straighten them.
With the panel folded (selvedge edges together), place your acrylic ruler on the fold as close to the edge as possible, and cut off any excess. It should be a minute amount.
Cut your yellow corner fabric into one 8.5”x WOF strip. Sub-cut into (4) 8.5” squares.
Assemble your quilt top
Stitch the two 8.5”xWOF border strips onto each side of the panel (the WOF sides) with right sides together. Press the seam allowances towards the panel.
For each 8.5”x36.5” strip, sew two of your yellow corner pieces onto the short side, right sides together, so they match. Press the seam allowances towards the yellow side.
Now sew these assembled strips (right sides together) onto the top and bottom of your panel.
With the way we pressed the seams, they should nest when sewing, like so:
See how the borders on the side are pressed towards the panel, and the top border is pressed towards the yellow square? This means that the seam will almost click into place for a perfect seam at the corners.
Now that your quilt top is assembled, press your remaining seams open. Pressing this way, with the borders so they nest, and the rest open, will reduce the bulkiness of the seams and make for easier quilting.
Assemble your backing
I used a pieced backing to this quilt; you can do this many different ways, as long as your back is a bit longer and wider on each side than your top.
Cut each of your four fabrics into 30” x 34” rectangles (or you can just sew them all together without cutting and trim later when you’re basting your quilt).
Sew them in pairs, sewing one rectangle to the other, short ends and right sides together. Press these seams in opposite directions so they nest, and then sew the long sides together. Press this seam open.
Baste your quilt
I won’t go into all the specifics of basting a quilt, there are many methods. My favorite is spray basting, which you can get on Amazon . It’s a little pricey, but it will last for a few quilts, and it’s so much faster.
You can also pin baste with curved basting pins. This is a rather slow method, but it’s a bit more stable and very tried and true. However, you have to stop as you quilt to remove them.
Or, tack baste with a special tacking gun. They’re like the tacks you find on your clothes when you buy them that attach the price tags. A very handy tool and relatively inexpensive for how long it will last you.
The important part when basting is to make sure your batting is larger than your quilt top, and your back is larger than your batting. This will give you some wiggle room when quilting. The quilt “sandwich”, as it’s called goes quilt top, batting, and then backing. Make sure that the wrong sides of your back and top are facing the batting.
You can see here that the batting is larger than the top, and the back is larger than the batting, even though this is after quilting. See how the top has warped a little with the quilting? That’s why it’s important for the batting to be larger.
Quilt as desired
You can quilt this however you want. I used some random free motion quilting to go around the pretty words and flowers in the center of the panel and then used loopy free motion flowers around the rest of it.
You can also hand quilt, or use straight line quilting. Free motion quilting takes some special tools and a LOT of practice to get good at it, but its SUPER fast.
Square up your corners
Using a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler, trim the excess batting and backing.
Square up your corners, using the corner of your ruler and a rotary cutter.
Bind your quilt
I decided to use a straight binding instead of a bias binding for this one. It’s faster and easier, and I haven’t had a problem with using a straight binding in terms of durability. If you prefer a bias binding, then make your bias binding as desired.
For a straight binding, cut (6) 2.5”xWOF strips from your light green binding fabric. Sew these together at the ends, right sides together, so that you have one very long 2.5” strip.
Bind your quilt in your favorite method.
I machine bound it by sewing it to the back with a ¼” seam allowance, and folding it over to the front to topstitch along the edges.
And you have a completed quilt! It’s so cheerful, and a nice size for curling up on the couch. It’s a constant source of optimism, and a reminder to always look on the bright side of life.