I have started joining the bands with 2.5 inch strips. I attach the front and back strip to one side, and the front only to the next band adjoining. Then I pad with batting and hand stitch the back strip closed. Then I carefully squiggle stitch along the length of the joining strip.
Close up shows a loopy stitch pattern running the length of the 2 inch strip. It is a bit hard to see over the feathery print of the strip, but the stitches tie in nicely with the quilting in the bands of masks and animals right next to it.
I will continue with 2.5 inch strips between all five bands of critters and masks. Then wider strips frame the whole center bit, and it is easy enough to top quilt these as they are on the outside edges only.... This quilt has been lots of fun, and I can't help starting to plan my next one.... hmmmmm.