Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dresden Plate

I rarely plan out what I'm going to make next, relying instead on inspiration to strike.  My quilt guild (NLCQG) has a table that everyone can bring old issues of magazines they no longer want and share with others - one woman's trash is another's inspiration!!  In a McCall's August 2003 issue, I found a pattern for a Dresden Plate called "Antiquity," and in my goal to try different things this year, I decided it was time to tackle this oldie but goodie!! 

Everyone knows how much I don't like doing hand applique (carpal tunnel makes it difficult), but this one called to me with how I could do to all on the machine.  The instructions were pretty sparce so I decided to share how I tackled (and won!) this project and to give you some tips if you should decided to try it yourself.  I used the pattern provided in the issue, but you could also use this acrylic template and instructions.  I bought it so I could do this one again - someday!

The pieces were easy to cut the pieces by rotary cutter (a must for me).  The only curve was at the bottom and I used a pencil to draw that on the fabric and cut with scissors. 

The first step is to fold your pieces with wrong sides together and sew 1/4 inch from the top .

Put your fingers inside the pocket you made along the seam and turn the seam inside out.  I used a large pair of scissors to push the point out, but I had to be very careful so I would not push the tips through the point.


Press the point flat.  You need to be careful to get the seam in the center of this piece or you will get lopsided points.  Making a plastic template with the center lines to help with this step would be a good idea, but I'm too pumped to take that time now!! 

I was making only four blocks so I cut all my pieces at once, then sewed them all, then pressed.  It went very quickly, which is how I like my projects.

Once you have your points made, you get to sew them together.  Hint:  take a few back stitches at the top to lock the top folded edges together.  This helps keep your pieces from pulling apart when you press them.  I also didn't skimp on my 1/4 inch seam.  This is one block where less is not more, especially if you are using provided patterns!  I pressed all my pieces the same direction, but you can also press toward the dark side.


I made units of two, then units of four since I was making a four color plate.  My pattern called for 20 pieces to make one plate, so I used five units of four to make my plate. 

Next, I traced a circle to place over my hole.  I cut it 1/2 inch larger than the pattern and I'm glad I did!  I stitched 1/8 - 1/4 inch away from drawn line with a longer stitch length.  Place your pattern piece in the center (I used cardboard) and pull the ends of the thread until the edges curl in around the template.  Then press to make a nice crisp line.  Remove the template.

Pin this circle over the hole of your plate, using lots of pins to stablize it, and sew in place using your favorite method.  I used a small zig zag  stitch, taking one bite off the circle and the other on.

 Once all your plates are done, it's time to put them on your backing fabric.  I cut mine 16" x 16" because I'm making a wall hanging.   Fold your backing in quarters and press.

Place your plate on your backing and chose a point or seam to line up with the pressed marks.  I used a seam.  Pin in place using lots of pins to stablize.  Then sew using your favorite method.  Again I used the small zig zag. 

Now you can put them together however you like!  I used a simple 3 1/2" sashing between the blocks and as the border, but you can be as creative as you'd like.

This one is going to Kelly for her birthday.  She wants a new spring quilt.  Do you think she'll stop hinting she wants my Tulip Time?

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