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  • Writer's pictureCraft Cotton Co

Thomas the Tank Engine Quilted Panel

Project by Sarah Holliman

This Thomas The Tank Engine Panel can be used in so many ways. A perfect project for hand or machine quilting. The beautiful panel can be easily quilted for use as a play mat or wall hanging as desired. Add backing fabric in contrasting colours for a stimulating accessory for any child who loves Thomas and Friends.

You will need;

  • Craft Cotton Co. Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends Panel

  • 1 metre co-ordinating backing fabric

  • (1 metre co-ordinating fabric for ruffle - optional).

  • 1 metre of wadding (I used 2oz wadding) or preferred quilting fibre for the interior of the panel

  • Pins/Scissors

  • Quilting safety pins for holding the panel layers together

  • Thread for quilting the panel (either neutral or contrasting colour of choice)


1. Iron the panel flat.

2. Lay out your wadding piece onto a large flat surface.

3. Lay the panel piece over the top of the wadding fabric and smooth your hands over the fabric, gently making sure the fabric is as flat as possible.

Leave about an inch of the wadding all around the panel, allowing for a little bit of movement. The excess can be trimmed away later.

4. Using quilting safety pins or large pins, pin your two fabrics together to hold them in place.

I like to tack my fabrics in place at this point, with large hand tacking stitches and smoothing and straightening the fabric as you go - it takes a little longer but it ensures a smoother and more professional appearance.

Take your time at this stage, the smoother the layout, the better the finished result.

5. You are now ready to quilt.

If you have time and are looking for a relaxing project you could hand quilt the panel details with small back stitches, but for this tutorial I have decided to machine quilt. It can be a little tricky to quilt around some of the details but take your time.

You do not have to quilt all of the panel, you can decide which parts of the picture you want to quilt. The faces of the trains are perfect to quilt as they almost come to life when they become three dimensional.

I always start in the centre of the panel and this allows me to smooth out the whole panel as I quilt.

6. Work around the quilt panel, quilting the wadding in place. Try not to pull the quilt and wadding too much as this can distort the quilt.

7. When you have completely finished quilting the piece, machine sew all around the edges of the panel, as near to the edge as possible. This just gives some stability to the panel and secures everything in place. This line of stitching will eventually be hidden by the seam allowance on the finished project.

8. Trim the excess wadding so that it is exactly the same size as your quilted panel.

9. You are now ready to edge the panel. I have chosen to add a ruffle in

contrasting fabric.

10. To make the frill, I cut 6 metre lengths of fabric - 4 inches wide. Join the

lengths of fabric together to make one long continuous strip. Fold the

fabric strip in half so that it is now 2 inches wide and press with an iron.

11. Place the fabric strip with the raw edges matched to the raw edge of the panel with the frill facing inwards. Tack the ruffle piece into place.

12. Pleat the fabric as you go folding the fabric in small regular pleats. Take care at the corners of the panel - you may need to fold the fabric several times into the corners to give the ruffle some shape. Secure into place.

13. When you are happy the ruffle is perfectly in place, you can machine stitch all around the edge with a 1/4 seam allowance on the panel.

14. You are now ready to add the quilt backing.

15. Lay your contrast backing panel with the right side down facing the quilted panel. You now have a ‘sandwich’ of layers - the panel, the ruffle (facing inwards on the panel) and lastly the backing fabric.

16. Smooth the backing fabric out over the layers and tack into place.

Leave a large gap on one side for turning out the quilted panel later.

17. Stitch around all three layers - I found it easier to stitch over the wadding side of fabric as you can easily use the stitching lines of your other layers of fabric as a guide.

18. Turn the panel the right way out, push out the corners to ensure perfect shaping.

19. Sew up the gap in the side of the panel with small invisible running stitches.

20. Smooth out the panel, gently pull the quilting into shape, ensuring all the layers are flat.

21.Top stitch all around the panel to finally secure the layers into place.

22. Your quilted panel is now complete.

To see more from Sarah, visit her on Instagram @sjstitchery

Made by Sarah Holliman for The Craft Cotton Company 2021


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