Pop of Color – Timeless Treasures Sunset Poppies Collection

Bedazzled Butterflies – Timeless Treasures Butterfly Magic Collection

Panels quilts are all the rage. Goodness knows, I have designed so many of them. The panels are for sale for a short period of time, then they are gone. So why buy a pattern with a panel, especially if you can only use it once?

Other quilt patterns can be used over again, just modify the fabric. Why not try that trick with panel patterns? If you are adventurous and keep in mind these few tricks, it might just work for you.

First, make sure the panels are the same size. Panels come in a variety of sizes; the most common size is 24″ x 43″. Some patterns trim panels a little more than others, so ensure the usable sizes are similar. Coping strips can be used to make up the difference if your new panel is slightly smaller than the original one. If the coping strips are similar to the background colors and they are small, they shouldn’t be noticeable.

Next, use similar color schemes to achieve the same effect. To do this, we need to dive into a little color theory and understand the differences between hue, value, and saturation.

  • Hue is the pure color as you would see it in a prism or rainbow. This are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROY G BIV) and all the colors between them.
  • Value is how pure the color is.  Think of Fire Engine Red as a pure red. Whereas Carnation Pink or Maroon are less pure versions of red because they have white or black added to them.
  • Saturation or Chroma is the amount of black, grey or white added to the hue to change the value. There are specific terms for value as well: tint, tone, and shade.
    • Tint is when you add white to a hue. The whiter it is, the more “pastel” is. Sticking to our red hue we can go from Carnation Pink to Cotton Candy Pink to Pastel Pink. Each is whiter or lighter than the one before it. It can also be called less saturated.
    • Tone is when you add grey, a mixture of white and black, to a hue. Tones are often considered “muddy” an example for our red is Dusty Rose.
    • Shade is when just black is added to the hue. Again, using our red example, we can go from Fire Engine Red to Maroon to Ox Blood Red as black is added.

All lighter values

Dark frame with lighter values

The same pattern can have similar results with a different panel, if you keep the color values similar. Let’s look at two of my patterns. They are identical – Bedazzled Butterflies and Pop of Color. The pieces cut for the pattern and the way they are assemble is the same. The hues are different – red vs blue. However, the values are about the same. They are both relatively pure versions of the colors. They don’t have a lot of saturation – not very light or very dark. Which is why the pattern works for both fabric collections.

Could this pattern work for another panel with “lighter” colors? Sure, but you would want to maintain the same comparative values. If the panel is has a lot of pastel blue, then the border would use light grey and pastel blues to have the same effect. Keeping the black with the lighter colors would change the value and make it look totally different. See these four examples where the saturation and values vary, but the color is the same. Do they look different? Which looks most similar to the original images above? Which do you like best?


Dark frame with medium values

Varying values throughout

I will be introducing a color theory course this year, that will hopefully help explain this in detail. In the course, we will use some patterns like this to show how changing hues, values and saturations work with lots of different patterns. So stay tuned!

Happy Quilting