As you may have read in Dear Dresden, I have recently fallen in love with the Dresden Plate. But being in love with a quilt block is complicated. I expect the block to make changes based on my desires, and to do it quickly. I require flexibility, and very little complaining about it. Not too much to ask.
And so, I thought I’d make a couple of small bets- bets that I could actually get what was in my brain on fabric. And they paid off.
Bet you’ll love them.
Dear Dresden: Small Bets
Mini- 18 1/2″ x 24 1/2″
Snack Mat- 9″ square
(48) 3 1/2″ background squares
(16) Mini blades, cut from 3 1/2″ strips or squares
(32) Tiny blades, cut from 2″ strips or squares
7″ x wof binding fabric (binding cut 2 1/2″, 3/8″ seam)
Batting and backing to fit
Great opportunity to use up some scraps! I used some tidbits of Lecein Fabrics that I picked up at Quilt Market (Spring 2015) for the blades, and a collection of low volume fabrics from my scraps for the background squares.
Begin by creating the blades. I used the Mini and Tiny Dresden Plate Templates from Suzn Quilts, but it would be possible to make your own templates.
Follow the directions that come with the templates to make each blade. (There are also plenty of tutorials online, including a very brief discussion on Dear Dresden.)
Aligning bottom of blade to bottom of blade, sew two Tiny blades to either side of a Mini blade. Press seam allowances to center of Mini blade.
Carefully pin blade unit to a 3 1/2″ square of background fabric. Top stitch blade unit.
Carefully trim away excess background, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance. I prefer to use serrated scissors for this process, and be careful to only cut the background fabric, leaving the Dresden blades in tact. Check the partial Dresden block to verify that it is 3 1/2″. Repeat this process for 16 blocks.
Arrange the 3 1/2″ background blocks and the 3 1/2″ partial Dresden blocks in a pleasing manner, as shown. Anticipate holes in the Dresden sections. Sew blocks together in groups of four, and then by rows.
Raw-edge applique circles over the holes in the Dresden plate blocks. Use a whole circle, even for the half Dresden sections. I used a shot glass to trace circles onto fusible web, which is the only use I have for a shot glass! After the applique circles are in place, trim the excess from the half Dresden sections. (A hexagon or any number of other shapes could also work. Use your imagination!)
Layer quilt top with batting and backing and quilt as desired. Cut binding 2 1/4″. Fold and press binding in half lengthwise. Machine stitch to the front of the mini using a 3/8″ seam. Turn binding to the back and hand stitch.
Dear Dresden: Small Bets Snack Mat
(12) Mini blades, cut from 3 1/2″ strips or squares
9 1/2″ square background fabric
1 1/2″ x wof binding fabric (binding cut 1 1/2″, 1/4″ seam)
Batting and backing to fit
I love the effect of a double-ended Dresden Plate, and I had a few of those Lecein fabrics left over, so this begged to be made.
I used the Mini Dresden Template by Suzn Quilts for this one, but you could make your own template.
Create Dresden blades in the traditional manner with a seam at the top, or larger, end of the blade. Do the same process to the bottom, or smaller, end of the blade, creating a point at both ends of the blade. Repeat 12 times. Sew blades together, aligning points and pressing seams consistently in one direction. *Tip- When sewing blades together, begin seams about 1/8″ down, back stitch, stitch to end, back stitch.
Find the center of the 9 1/2″ square background fabric by folding in half twice and pressing. Center the Dresden Plate by using the pressing lines. Pin in place and top stitch to the background. Layer with batting and backing, then quilt as desired. Trim to 9″ square.
Cut binding 1 1/2″ x width of fabric. Fold binding in half lengthwise. Machine stitch to the front of the snack mat using a 1/4″ seam. Turn binding to the back and hand stitch.