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How to Turn a Panel into a Quilt - Vincent van Gogh

Project by Michelle Roberts AKA Creative Blonde

Fabric: Chair - Vincent van Gogh - The National Gallery (2960-03)


Follow my tutorial to turn that panel piece of fabric you love, into a quilt. The panel I'm using is ‘The Chair’ a copy of the famous painting by Van Gogh, this panel is a collaboration with The National Gallery for Make and Believe Fabrics.


With most panels, you find they aren't big enough for a lap quilt, so I'll show you two different ways of adding a border. First you need to trim your panel, mine measured 34 ¾” x 42 ½” once trimmed.


With this in mind I cut two pieces of fabric with a width of 4 ½” and a length of 35”. I used Island Batik Almond fabric.


If you don't have a piece of fabric with a length of 35”, I will show you how to join two pieces - see photos below.


Begin by laying your two pieces RST at a right angle and draw a line where the two pieces meet, as shown in the left photo below, trim away excess, leaving ¼” and press seam open. This is now ready to be joined to your panel, as show below.



With RST join these pieces to the top and bottom of your panel, press seams towards the outer edge. Trim excess to match panel.


We can no go ahead and cut two further lengths measuring the length of the panel plus 2 x 4 ½” (the extra we added to the height).


I cut two pieces measuring 51 ½” (this will be slightly more than you need, as we lost some of the height in the seam allowance).


Join your panel with RST, press seams towards outer edge and trim to match panel.



If you wanted to, you could now go ahead a quilt and bind your panel.



However, I'm going to show you how to make a mitred edge border, which can be added as well as or as an alternative to the straight edge border.


Cut two 2” strips (I used a dark green solid fabric) the width of your new panel piece PLUS 5”, use the same method as before if your lengths aren't long enough.


Fold your piece in half, lengthways and finger press to mark the middle, do the same with your panel. Sew your strip with RST, leaving an equal amount of excess fabric at each end.


Repeat this process for the bottom strip.


Now go ahead and cut two further 2” strips (I used a dark green solid fabric) the length of your new panel piece PLUS 10”, use the same method as before if your lengths aren't long enough.


Press joining seam open, to achieve a flush neat finish on the front of your panel.



Join using the same method, stopping when you reach the end of the panel (not the green strips). Photos below show top and back view.



See photos below to create our mitred edges.


Begin by laying your excess fabric flat, and draw a right angle from the inner corner of your panel to where the two strips join.


Fold this along the diagonal and sew along the line, joining the two strips pieces together.



Trim away excess, leaving ¼”, press seam open. Repeat for the 3 remaining corners.


The photos below show the top and backing.


We are now ready to quilt, I recommend Bosal Heritage wadding, cut a piece measuring 2” bigger in each direction to your new panel size.


Repeat the process for the backing.


Baste both the top and back of the quilt to the wadding, this can either be achieved with basting pins or temporary adhesive spray.



Free motion quilting is a really fun way to get to know your machine, attached a darning foot or free motion quilting foot, drop the feed dogs on your machine, and simple draw with your machine needle, keeping your quilt the same way round, and just move it from side to side and up and down.


I stitched around all the lines on the painting, it really is so much fun and there are no mistakes, as it is just like sketching but with thread.


I also quilted a row of stitching ¼” around the main panel - see photos below.


Once you're happy with your quilt, trim away excess wadding and backing fabric, and attach your binding.



To see more from Michelle, follow her on Instagram/Facebook @creativeblondegifts and don't forget to check out her website!


Made by Michelle Roberts for The Craft Cotton Co 2022.

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