There are few quilt blocks I love more than the Dresden plate. You might have noticed, I make them quite often. To fuel this obsession even more I’ve decided to dedicate a whole page to them. On this page you will find how to make them from beginning to end, different styles, and lots more helpful tips. If you are looking to learn to make Dresdens or just need a bit of inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.
- Dresden ruler – this is extremely helpful. My patterns usually come with a template if you don’t want to purchase a ruler, but that ruler is gold. It will make cutting your Dresden blades SO. MUCH. EASIER.
- Circle templates – I don’t use these. I prefer to get my circles from things around my house like: bowls, cups, saucers, or anything round. However, you may prefer an actual template.
- Fusible Adhesive – You only need fusible adhesive if you are going to be doing a raw edge applique for your Dresden center, the easiest way.
- Hand sewing needles – You only need these if you are going to needle turn applique your Dresden center. These are the self threading needles, and they are wonderful.
- Cereal box and aluminum foil – You only need this item if you are going to be doing hand applique.
How to Cut blades with ruler or template
- Cut a strip of fabric to the height you want your blades.
- While cutting blades, alternate the direction of your ruler so that you can get the most Dresdens from your fabric strip. Stash the ones you don’t need in a box labeled “dresdens”. Save these for a future scrappy quilt.
- Moving that fabric strip just a little from the Dresden you just cut, helps to get the ruler flush with the fabric on the opposite side you are cutting from.
These snips! I will eventually write a review on these. I knew I wanted them the moment I saw them. It was love I tell you.
These are the most perfect pair of snips / scissors every made for chain piecing. YES! Chain piecing specifically is what I use them for.
They are small, fit in my hand, crazy sharp and pointy, making them perfect for getting the little thread chaining your patchwork together.
Making the Plate
Step 1: Getting the blades ready
- Fold each blade in half along the length. Sew 1/4″ from the edge of the ‘longest’ short side.
- When putting the blades in your machine, put them in folded side first. This way the frayed edges won’t get caught up in your needle and cause you sewing machine distress.
- Turn blades inside out. Use a blunt point to push the corner out.
- Press, making sure that the seam on the back of each blade is centered.
Step 2: Sewing the blades together to form the plate
- Sew blades together. There will be 20 blades per Dresden plate when using the ruler I mentioned above.
- Turn Dresden plate upside down, and press all seams to one side. Tug the plate just a little as you press so that your seams won’t get pressed with a fold. Turn the plate right side up and press again.
Adding the plate to your quilt block
- Center plate on your background square.
- Top stitch around perimeter. Be sure to back stitch when you start and when you finish to secure your stitches.
Adding the center to your Dresden plate
The options are endless. Make your Dresden plate extra creative and think outside the box.
I have been exploring different options for this in the ‘Explorations in Dresden Plates’ series. This series is all about different centers and how to be more creative.
Find exactly the right post for the center you are wanting with the following center ideas (posts will become clickable as they become available):
- Raw edge applique – the easiest and most simplest method
- Sashiko stitches – using a basic running stitch and fusible adhesive
- Needle turn applique – the cleanest, most traditional method
- Double pointed ( no center ) – in this method the Dresden plate looks the same in the center as it does on the outside
- Embroidered edges –
- Hand embroiderey –
- Vintage finds –
- Crochet doilies –
- Fussy cuts –
- Fabric flowers –
- Crochet lace trim ( no center ) –
Charts, Sizes & Other Details
Looking for more Dresden inspiration?
- Find my own Dresden quilts here.
- Join the Bari J quilt along, focused on Dresden making here.
- Visit my Pinterest board dedicated to Dresden quilts here.