Sewing With Panels

Panels! Have you ever found an adorable panel, but thought “I don’t know what I would make with it, I want more than a basic T”, or maybe you find a sale on panels, but the one you love is only available in a size too small? Today I’ll show you how I responded to these problems myself!
Hello all, Tara here, back with a bit of sewing fun and hopefully a bit of inspiration! I love seeing adorable panels from the fabric groups flood my social media feeds, but I’m often unsure what I would make. I know I want to make more than a plain t-shirt, but can’t think past that. Well, a few months back I found these adorable panels on sale, and couldn’t resist getting them! A redheaded mermaid panel for my mermaid-loving redhead, and a Tiki Room inspired panel for my Disney loving four year old! The birds panel was available in the correct (child) size, but the mermaid was only available in newborn. I couldn’t resist, I ordered both, and decided I would figure out what they would become later on!
Let’s start with the Mermaid panel. It was small, so small, knowing I needed to create something for a girls size 6! What an intriguing problem to have, though! This would be a fun project and puzzle in one. Color blocking a dress bodice was an option, but Jaimesyn kept jumping out at me. The center panel, and adorable flutters would be such a cute way to showcase this panel. I cut my pieces, but left extra room on the bottom incase I needed extra room to fit the entire design. Just as I thought, the curved bodice took off just a bit of the mermaid and seahorse. To fix this problem I took my front bodice lining piece and brought the curve down to become a straight bodice, drawing a straight line starting from the side edge. Next, I laid my main bodice pieces over the lining and brought the curve down to match.
It was important to double, triple, quadruple check the modified center bodice piece against my panel before cutting, because there was only the one! Following the “measure twice (or 17) cut once” rule, I cut my bodice piece out. It worked perfectly!! Jaimesyn allowed me to get the design centered, while also showing detail of the glitter.
An important thing to note, is making sure your side bodice pieces also are brought down at the curve to match your center, otherwise they won’t line up. It is easy to focus on bringing down the center bodice piece for the panel, and to forget your side bodice pieces. Once all of your pattern pieces line up, you can cut all remaining fabrics!
Sew up your bodice following the pattern tutorial. Look at how lovely it all came together! A newborn sized panel, into a size 6 knit Jaimesyn bodice!
Finish sewing on your skirt, and you will have a gorgeous Jaimesyn that you and your girlie are so proud of!
Next up: the Birdies panel. This one I had ordered in Child size. It was plenty big enough to work with. I knew it could become a basic tee, dress bodice, maybe even a hoodie, but the colors were so bright, and the design so fun, that I didn’t want it to be something “basic”! Autumn is a newer SLPCo pattern, but it’s a “classic” to me! I pulled up my Autumn pattern, grabbed fabrics, and set to work. I did not have to modify the pattern or panel, so it was just cut and go! Though, I did take care to find the exact middle of the design so it would be centered properly when sewn.
I followed the tutorial in Autumn, and in no time had this adorable Tiki Room inspired top ready to go for a day at preschool or a day at the Magic Kingdom!
I had so much fun sewing up these panels! They both pushed my creativity and made me think out of the box. The Mermaid panel by adjusting a bodice piece to fit and showcase my small panel, and the Birdies by combining fun fabrics and the classic, but not “basic” Autumn in top (tshirt) length! I hope these sews help you with panels you’ve been eyeing! SLPCo has so many patterns that lend to perfectly showcasing panels. I cannot wait to see what you come up with!
Please be sure to share your panel creations in the Simple Life Patterns Fan Group on facebook, too!
Thank you for following along with me,
*Panels from Wonderground Fabrics
Mermaid dress made using cotton lycra from Purpleseamstress fabrics, and Art Gallery Fabrics
Birdies top made using jersey knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics