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by Margo September 06, 2018 3 Comments

Most Creative - Winner: Linda Semmen

Dream Big Opal plus Tidepool and Wildrose

I wanted to share with you a little about Linda Semmen and how she made her wonderful chenille Dream Big Panels. She had a lot of information to share. I  think I'm going to try to make one. It seems so much fan but I'm a big fan of rag quilts and raw edge applique. Besides I have one of those Chenille cutters I have never used... I have to have those new tools.

Linda tell me a little bit about yourself?

I started quilting about 10 years ago, taking classes and making several sampler quilts. I have been sewing since grade school and had no idea how much I would love quilting. I am retired and moved to the country 8 years ago. I designed our house to be quilter friendly! Quilting is my favorite past time and continually wake up at 4 am with a new idea or a solution to a quilting problem or design that I experienced the previous day. Besides quilting, I love teaching Bagel classes or having friends out for special treats or projects.

Winning Dream Big Opal Panel quilt by Linda Semmen

How did you know the Chenille technique would work with this panel?

Last winter I was searching to purchase cotton chenille for the back of a lap blanket, but then I saw a video on making my own chenille... I found a great panel to use to make my first one. It was this snowman panel. I followed the YouTube video "How to turn 4 quilt panels into a chenille quilt". Here is the result:


When I first saw the Dream Big Panel I knew it would be perfect for this technique. My granddaughter had an upcoming birthday so I told her I would make it for her she chose the Dream Big Opal Panel. I loved it.

Can you share how you made your chenille panel?

After looking at the panel and it being a square I knew I wanted the lines to radiate out. So I chose this design to make it do that.


  • Sew on the diagonal - mark it with chalk or FriXion pen.
  • Sew on the other diagonal to make an X.
  • Sew ½” inside the sewn lines.
  • Sew ½” inside the sewn lines.

I added an erasable line vertically and horizontally so I could follow an accurate pivot point when sewing the additional channels.

All lines must be on the diagonal.

How I got the panels ready to quilt

  1. Lay out your batting - I use a lightweight cotton.
  2. Spray it with adhesive spray.
  3. Lay the first panel on the adhesive, blocking it as a good base.
  4. Carefully lay each additional panel on top-I stick several thumb tacks through the bottom layer facing up so I can align each additional panel. 
  5. Repeat until all 5 layers are in place.
  6. Pin with quilting safety pins, remove thumbtacks.
  7. Mark your pattern on your top layer.  (see above info)
  8. Quilt the design, cut the channels. It's easiest to use a chenille cutter.
  9. Trim your outside edge and stitch around the perimeter.
  10. Add your backing-either as a pillowcase edge or as a bound edge.
  11. After the quilt is bound, I pin it again along the center X and stitch on the two lines.
  12. Wash, brush, dry, brush, enjoy. 

This is the Wild Rose Dream Big Panel I did for a friend who has cancer

... and here's Tidepool Dream Big Panel


3 Responses

Linda Semmen
Linda Semmen

November 16, 2018

Karen and Louise
I often use an additional panel for the backer after it is quilted and chenilled.
As for number of layers, the minimum number is 4 panels, one for the base and 3 to chenille.
I have used as many as 6 panels.
The standard channel width is 1/2" but I started going to 3/8" and feel like the design is more distinct but not as soft.
Try experimenting on 5" or 6" squares to use as coasters, or 10"-12" ones for hot pads; you will get the feel of it before investing in large panels. Nothing but nothing beats the Dream Big Panels.

Louise Brogan
Louise Brogan

September 08, 2018

I LOVE the chenille effect that Linda used!! I think I may have to try it! How many panels did she layer on top of her batting ?

Karen W
Karen W

September 08, 2018

Linda, Thank you for your instructions. I had originally thought to do the Dream Big as a 3-Dimensional wallhanging & you have achieved one version that gives more than just quilted texture. I couldn’t figure out how to make it so the back would have the print (like looking at the underside of a leaf), so I put it on the ‘back burner’ to ruminate…. The chenille effect also softens/ diffuses the print.

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