Playing With Panel Prints — It’s All In the Cut

Playing With Panel Prints — It’s All In the Cut - Marcy Tilton Fabrics
Panel prints have become a darling of the fashion world, so more and more are available to sewists. The obvious and simple thing is to simply place the panel dead center on a garment and be done. Take a look at two creative variations using our French digitally printed panel knits. Panels are great fun to play with when you consider other layouts and design options. Start with a pattern that has simple lines, ideally one you have already made especially if you are just beginning to hone your design skills. Both tops use Butterick pattern B6633.

Katherine’s Tips

  • The simple asymmetrical lines of this tunic make it perfect for playing with panel print fabrics.
  • The two-piece front and back offer even more options. Know that you can always eliminate the front and/or back seam and cut each piece whole. To do this, overlap the seam allowance in the center and cut as one piece.
  • I used two (34” x 59”) ’Sam Francis’ double panels from
  • Rather than centering the ‘painted’ portion of the panel on the front or back, the pattern pieces were cut so that the design moves around the sides of the shirt, which creates a flattering solid vertical band down the middle of the front and back.
  • Be purposeful and consider all the possibilities of how the pattern pieces can be laid out. Then go for it!
  • The fronts and backs are placed so that the ‘painting’ parts come together at the side seams and a balanced amount of solid remains to form the vertical bands both in the front and back.
  • Before placement, move the split neckband pattern piece around and consider the band ends, which meet in the front, so they include some of the bright ‘painting’.
  • The sewing part is quick and straightforward — follow the pattern instructions and use the split neckband option that meets at the front seam. This is a subtle but important part of the design.

Be sure to:

  • Make all pattern adjustments before you layout the pattern: full bust adjustment, sleeve length, neckline finish, finished length, etc.
  • Move the pattern pieces around, contemplating design options, before you do your final layout. You are limited by panel size, pattern size and fabric stretch — whether it is 2-way or 4-way — color and design.

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