Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dresden Plate Tutorial

This is my new favorite quilt block. It's called a Dresden Plate. Don't you just love the SCRAPPINESS of it? It just makes me HAPPY to look at it and touch all of those wonderful fabrics. My friend Rae Ann and I are making a lot more than one block but, we haven't decided how many quite yet, but maybe 100 blocks for a king-size quilt. We'll see how ambitious we are as we start cutting fabric. Between the both of us we could probably do it with not too many repeats.

Some of my friends and I are taking a Block of the Month Class at American Quilting and each year for the past 5 years Amy (the owner and resident designer) has designed and taught her Block of the Month Quilt. In past years we have done a Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall Quilt and this year it's a Patriotic theme. The patterns for Amy's (past years) BOM Quilts can be purchased on her website "Under the Garden Moon" she also has more great patterns that she and her daughter have created. Make sure to check them out, you won't be sorry that you took the time to visit.

I'll keep you updated on our progress but, in the mean time I thought I'd get you all started with where to buy your ruler and a little tutorial to show you how to make the block. . . just in case you want to make a Dresden Plate Quilt along with us.

The ruler can be purchased from Connecting Threads or you can go into American Quilting and buy one if you live in or near Orem, Utah. The Dresden plate block as seen below was the BOM for January.

This is the Dresden Plate Block.
The block will finish at 9 inches square when sewn into a quilt.

This is the 18 degree fan ruler that also comes with a pattern.

Tutorial for Making a Dresden Plate Block

Begin by looking through your fabric. You will need a variety of fabrics in an assortment of colors and patterns. One thing you'll want to remember is the fabric you pick for the Dresden Plate wedges should be a good contrast to what you pick for the background fabric. In other words, you can use any variety of light to dark fabrics just remember you don't want your light fabric to blend in with the background or it will look like you have missing wedges. What a great way to use up what you have laying around the house.

Next, you'll want to decide on a background fabric and purchase what you might need. You will get four 10"x10" squares out of every 10 inch cut of fabric (a generous 1/4 yd. cut).

You'll need 20 rectangles for each Dresden Plate.
Each rectangle measures 2 1/4" x 3 3/4"

Line up the ruler as shown above.

Trim off both sides to create a wedge or spoke in a wheel. Take a single wedge, fold the wider edges with right sides together, and sew using a 1/4" seam making sure to leave a long tail in between the wedges (that way your stitches won't unravel). Now pick up another wedge repeating the process, continue chain-stitching until you've completed 20 wedges. Cut your chain apart. Trim the seam at the tip, press seam open and fold to the back (wrong sides to wrong sides). Center the seam and press.

Here are all the spokes ready to be sewn into a Dresden Plate block.

You can arrange the spokes in a pleasing manner or randomly pick them up. You can sew them into sets of pairs or sew them one by one like I did.

Make sure to leave long tails so they can be tucked under the seams in the back of the block. Continue sewing until you've sewn all 20 spokes together. Then sew the last seam to connect the wedges into a circle.

Please note: If you sew narrow (scant 1/4") seams you will end up with a bigger Dresden Plate. If you sew larger (fat 1/4") seams you will end up with a much smaller Dresden Plate. Which ever way you sew will determine how big of a center circle you will need to cover the opening and finish the block. Big or small be consistent!!

The seams between each spoke can be pressed open or pressed in one direction. I personally liked the spokes pressed in one direction it gave it a sense of movement and dimension. The seams pressed open will make it lay very flat but it creates a depression in between the seams. Both will work it's just a matter of preference.

Here's a look at the pressed seams in the back.

My handy dandy pressing tool was very useful. It saved me a lot of trips to the ironing board and is very effective in pressing the seams open without any distortion.

Here's the back of the completed Dresden Plate.

Here's the front of the Dresden Plate.

I cut my background fabric at 10 inches square which will allow for any trimming up after you applique your Dresden Plate. I like a nice clean edge when I sew my blocks together. Fold your background fabric in half and then in half again. Pinch and finger press the fold. This will give a centering mark to align your Dresden Plate.

Align your Dresden Plate with 5 spokes in each quarter section of your 10" background square.

Attach to the 10" background square with applique pins and baste the center hole.

This is one of six blocks I'm making for a Valentine Table Runner for next year. I had good intentions but this month has gone by so quickly. After Christmas this holiday just sneaks up on you. I'm going to call it "Love Makes the World Go Round." The blocks with be surrounded with a checkerboard pattern using 1" (finished) blocks. It looks really cute in my head and when I get it done I will try to remember to blog about it.

Here are some of the fabrics we bought at American Quilting on Valentine's Day. We are going to use civil war fabrics and fabrics that compliment them. The background fabrics are also shown. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to use just one background fabric or a variety of background fabrics. If you know me, you know I love all things scrappy so, I'll probably end up using several different background fabrics.

Here's some of my civil war & shirting fabrics that I'm going to use in my big quilt. Maybe I'll make a king-size for my bed. We'll see if I get discouraged and just make a smaller one to hang over my couch or lay on my table.


Thimbleanna said...

Oh, Ms. Bitty Bit! Those blocks are adorable. You know I love the Valentine one -- too, too cute! I have a dresden plate that my mother made -- one of her first quilts and she made it out of fabrics from our clothes when we were little.

Trisha said...

I have a dresden plate ruler that I have yet to use. Love your tutorial! Makes me want to get mine out.

Kathy said...

Great Tutorial! Thanks for sharing with us. I love your blocks!

Material Mary said...

Kim, I loved the tutorial on Dresden Plates. I love the block and am excited to one day make one. Thanks for sharing.

Deanna said...

This looks adorable in your red and pink colors!!

Small House said...

That is a wonderful quilt top. And a lot of work. But, it's a lot of fun when you can do it with a friend.
Have a great day.

Days and colors said...

I like the Dersden plate too, it is a nicea way to use scraps. The quilt will turn out beautiful, I'm sure! Thanks for this great tutorial!

Betsy said...

wow Kim, you have outdone yourself again. Wonderful tutorial and I love your civil war fabrics.
I presently have a dresden plate quilt I am designing.

Pat said...

Very nice tutorial....thanks!

Shari said...

Thanks for such a great tutorial. Love the little pressy wheel thing - haven't seen one before. I do have one of those rulers but haven't used it yet...

Cindy said...

Kim, thank you for the time and effort you took to share this great tutorial with us. Dresdens remind me of "grandmother" days gone by. YIKES - but now I'm that grandmother (or as the kids call me, "Mimi")..LOL

I can imagine this tablerunner already completed- just beautiful.

Susie Q said...

How do you get the points? I missed that part -

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

that is a wonderful easy way to do that pattern - I can see doing them in miniature though and have them be flowers for applique.

Comfort Cove Designs said...

I just loooooove your red fabrics in the dresdan plate!!! I agree it's a fun block to make. You got me thinking of making one myself now!!!

Quiltingly Yours


amy smart said...

I am going to put together mine TODAY so I can take the applique part with me on a little trip. Thanks for the motivation. :) (Some of those fabrics look vaguely familiar. . .)

Yarn Devil said...

Thank you! Now if I only had the time and patience.... :D

Yarn Devil said...

Thank you! Now if I only had the time and patience.... :D

Dawn said...

I love your Valentine dresdan block!! I want to make one now!! Thanks for a great tutorial.

Jodi Nelson said...

Great tutorial Kim! Love both the blocks you've shown, but the valentine's one is really cute. ;o) ooxx`jodi

CJ said...

Your Dresden Plate quilt is going to be beautiful in the reds and whites! I do hope you remember to show it all finished. Love the look but I would not commit to that sort of work on a quilt. I have to many I want to get done to spend that much time on one. I will appreciate YOURS!

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh thank you so much for sharing, it looks wonderful and you make it look like I might even be able to do it, also love your basket of goodies!!

pam said...

Great tutorial. Thanks so much.
Where on earth did you get that great pressing tool? I want one pam

Anonymous said...

Pam, I tried to email you but you left no email address or a way to contact you. I have the information on the pressing tool if you want it. Just let me know how to get a hold of you.

The guy who makes them is located here in Utah. I have a phone number and address for him.

Kim Walus said...

Sorry, McKenna, my daughter was signed into to her google account, that was me who left a comment.

Anina said...

So lovely! So do you applique the plate to the background square?

Anonymous said...

You made that look easy and painless! Thanks for the tutorial. Also....the fabrics in the tubs....oooooooo love those!

pam said...

Sorry about that. My email is sydneybeanpug@gmail.com
That is just the cutest pressing tool ever. Thanks so much for the info.

sewtakeahike said...

It's so beautiful! Thank-you so much for the tutorial. It made me run out and buy one of those acrylic fan rulers, I must make some of these!

Nanette Merrill said...

Fabulous job Kim. You are such a good teacher.

Mama Deb said...

Kim, thanks for the great blog. I too am making a dresden plate quilt from the January BOM at American Quilting. Thanks for the pointers in your tutorial.

Sheri Howard said...

Oh my gtoodness I love that red dressden....I know I can't even start one because I will have to make an entire quilt.