I snapped a few photos of the construction method I refer to in my improvisational workshops as ‘paneling.’  My Skewed Symmetry quilt is just one example of what students can do with the cast off blocks from my strip piecing workshop Psychedelic Baby and finish with paneling.

I’m missing some of the basic photos, but I think you’ll get the idea. When designing improvisationally a design wall is a must (see my tutorial here).  If you’re lacking design wall space this one is for you.

1) Complete Blocks & Trim | The first step is sewing together the cast off blocks along their angled edge to create the mitered log cabins.  Trim to their largest square or rectangular size.

2) Construct 2 Columns with Blocks | Play with the layout of your blocks by stacking them on the design wall into two columns of blocks.  Each of my columns has 4 mitered log cabin blocks.

In the photo above I’ve already sewn some background fabric to the top and side of block in the right upper corner and to the side of the bottom block, but the vertical continuous straight line you see above is where the two columns of blocks come together.

3) Panel Out Blocks |  If you have a certain quilt size in mind then create yourself some margins to stay within by taping out the size of the finished quilt on the design wall next.  I just used pins for this one.

Now that you have your quilt size marked, choose a background fabric and measure out with a tape measure from the top of the block to the tape/pins marking the top of the quilt.  Cut your fabric and sew to the top of the upper block.  I usually go a little larger so I can trim down in the end and don’t have to fuss with seams.  

Trim the background fabric you’ve added so that it is square with the side of the block.  Now we add background fabric to the side of this block and bring it to the width we’ve taped/pinned out. Take a measurement for the background fabric again adding for seams.

sew katie did | Seattle Modern Quilting & Sewing Studio | Improv Paneling Tutorial

Continue adding background fabric to the side of the blocks by measuring out from the block to your quilt’s margins and trim the background fabric square to the blocks.  Finish the column by adding background fabric to the bottom of the last block in the column just as you did with the first block.

sew katie did | Seattle Modern Quilting & Sewing Studio | Quilt Paneling Tutorial

Now I repeat the paneling on the left with black as my background fabric.  Follow the directions above.

I didn’t talk about the little bits of vertical ‘strata’ at the top and bottom, but those are just added to the side of the background fabric prior to adding them to the blocks on the bottom right and top left.

sew katie did | Seattle Modern Quilting & Sewing Studio | Improv Quilt Paneling Tutorial

Sew Blocks into Columns | Now that all my blocks have background fabric I sew them together into the two columns and trim a straight edge on both sides as needed.

sew katie did | Seattle Modern Quilting & Sewing Studio | Strata

Sew Columns Together | I usually pin the columns if I want something to match and sew them together.  I like to use (2) huge square templates and a 36″ ruler or two to square it to size.

sew katie did | Seattle Modern Quilting & Sewing Studio | Strata

One of my No/Know Quilts is constructed in a very similar manner with the exception of rows AND columns.

I’m currently binding another quilt that is an example of what you can do with the cast off blocks that isn’t improvisational in design.  Hope to show you all that one soon.

If you want to learn more about improvisational quilt design we have a whole chapter in Quilting Modern about it!  If you’re interested in these blocks I’m teaching it at Quiltcon and there are some spaces left;)

Happy Week Peeps!

Share this: