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Tips for Choosing Fabrics for the A Dresden Plate Quilt

A Dresden Quilt

A Dresden Quilt is one of my most popular patterns. I’ve made it 9 times! And am currently working on my 10th version. 🙂 A bit obsessive, but lol, I don’t care. I do love this quilt so much.

See all of past versions of A Dresden Quilt here.

Get the A Dresden Quilt pattern here. It’s a free one!

About Dresden Quilts

Dresden plates are appliques. You make the flower piece first, topstitch it onto a background, then add your center. They aren’t difficult, but they are very time consuming.

Dresden Plate Tutorials


In A Dresden Quilt pattern, you make your background with four squares, all different fabrics. It’s a great way to use up some stash. I always use low volume, but you could definitely do your own thing. My tips, however, relate to a low volume background.

Tip #1: Use almost exclusively saturated fabrics. Your background is probably a busy cluster of low volume prints. This is very pretty, but it also is busy! Saturated prints will help you keep your background your background and keep your Dresden’s from getting lost.

Tip #2: I always use two fabrics for my plates, though you could definitely go scrappy. When using two fabrics though, you’ll want to make sure that they have some contrast. Pair a tonal or solid with some of your more busy prints. Busy prints also look nice together (pic above), but I usually try to have a non busy with a busy for the majority of my plates.

Tip #3: You don’t have to be all matchy matchy. I like to broaden my color palettes for A Dresden quilts. I’ll allow more colors in than I normally do on other quilt patterns. It doesn’t seem to matter as much either if two fabrics don’t look great together. This is pretty rare in quilt patterns in my experience. Also, I’ve found that this a great pattern to hide some of your ugly fabrics that you don’t mind getting rid of. Ha! They kind of get hidden and still look pretty nice.

I should be getting this one finished up very soon! It’s a birthday present for somebody. I’ve added a touch of gray to the background this time along with all the low volume. Can’t wait to show you! 🙂


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  1. Ever since you posted that top picture on IG I’ve been hoping there would be more. I’m just loving this. Thanks for the free pattern. An excellent motivator to practice some Dresdens.

  2. I love this pattern, I have had great fun making it several times. The low tonal back ground keeps it unique and interesting. Thank you so much for sharing and your tips sure give insights for more future projects!

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