Panels of Remembrance
We invite you to commemorate the life of a loved one by creating a fabric panel memorializing that person. Our purpose is to create community awareness about losing a loved one, whether it be from AIDS, suicide, cancer, etc. and the effects on our families. Making a panel for a loved one can become a part of healing during the grieving process. Many people created the memorial panels that make up the AIDS Panels of Remembrance in all kinds of colors, fabrics, and styles. You do not have to be an artist to create a moving personal tribute. It doesn't matter if you use paint or fine needle work; every Remembrance is appropriate.
You may choose to create a panel privately, as a personal memorial to someone you've loved, but we encourage you to follow the traditions of old-fashioned sewing and quilting bees—include your friends, family, and co-workers in the project.
Stonewall Alliance Center's Panels of Remembrance is not a chapter of the Names AIDS Memorial Quilt Project nor is this project affiliated with them in any way. However, anyone interested in making a quilt panel for the Names Project is welcome to join us at our sewing sessions. Please call the center or check the calendar for more information on sewing sessions.
How to Make a Panel
The following guidelines apply to panels that will remain with Stonewall Alliance Center and that will be displayed throughout Northern California. If the panel you are creating will become a part of the Names AIDS Memorial Quilt Project, please create the panel following their instructions.
Design for the Panel
The completed panel can be any size greater than three feet by three feet. Include the name of your friend or loved one. Ordinarily, we limit each memorial quilt panel to one individual. Feel free to include additional information such as the dates of birth and death and a hometown.
Choose Your Materials
Remember that the panels are folded and unfolded many times, so durability is crucial. A medium-weight, non-stretch fabric such as cotton works best. When you cut the fabric, remember to leave an extra two to three inches on each side for a hem. Backing and batting for the panels is not necessary.
Construct Your Panel
Here are some techniques you may want to use:
- Appliqué: Sew fabric letters and small moments onto the background fabric. Please do not glue these letters; the panel will not last.
- Collage: A variety of materials can be added to panels, but please make sure they won't tear the fabric (avoid glass and sequins for this reason). Please avoid very bulky objects. The best way to include photographs or letters is to copy them onto iron-on transfers, iron them onto 100% cotton fabric, and sew the fabric to the panel. You may also put the photograph in clear plastic vinyl and sew it to the panel (off-center so that it avoids the fold).
- Paint: Brush textile paint or colorfast dye onto fabric or use an indelible ink pen. Do not use "puffy" paint; it is too sticky.
- Stencil: Trace your design onto the fabric with a pencil, lift the stencil, then use a brush to apply textile paint.
Completing the Panel
When your panel is finished, fold back the hem and secure it with a temporary stitch. If you can't hem it yourself, leave two or three inches on each side for the hem, and we'll complete it for you.
Examples of Panels