A whimsical Dresden quilt – the making


a little history about dresdens

 So the Dresden Plate quilt block is named after the city Dresden in Germany.  A place known for it’s romantic embellishments during the Victorian era.

Porcelain plates were created there with lovely floral designs.  Here is some of them.

The Dresden Plate was a popular quilt during the 20s and 30s and still remains popular today.  It’s obvious why too.  They make up some amazing quilts.

Look at this one.  And oh my goodness this one!  And another favorite of mine, this one.

We are not only still making them after all these years, they’ve even gotten BETTER!

the Dresden quilt I’m working on

For the past few days I have been working on a dresden quilt for a quilt order I have.  This will be my fourth dresden quilt that I have completed.  Here is the last one I did.  And here is the very first one I made that I was madly in love with.

I learned much with both of those quilts.

The biggest thing I learned is that I am a fan of making dresdens, but I am not a fan of quilting dresdens.

It’s irritating to quilt them down after you baste.  The quilt is heavy.  It needs turning this way and that to properly sew them down.  It’s a thousand times easier to just sew them down onto a square.  And that sounds nice doesnt it?  However, then you still have to quilt them and you are again left with having to maneuver your machine and quilt to these frustrating positions.

Last time I made this quilt I knew this, so I prepared and decided to quilt as you go.  But I chose a tutorial that didn’t live up to my expectations that consisted of quilting all three layers by blocks one at a time.  Sounded easy enough, until I had to piece the blocks together and made it incredibly hard to get a quilt that I was pleased with.

This time I will again use the quilt as you go method, but I’m using this one.  Here is why:

with this method I will sew/quilt each dresden down onto the top fabric and the batting, getting the top of the fabric quilted and the middle of the flower quilted in a cute design, like swirlies.  Each block will still be small enough for me to maneuver my home machine.

Then I’ll add the backing and I plan on doing a meander quilting design at that point all around the dresdens, but not on them.  This should give me enough quilting on the quilt to be happy and on all three layers and not lose my mind while doing it.

I feel like it’s a good plan.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

On to the fabrics:

My buyer chose the fabric collection Anu by Hawthorn Threads.  It’s lovely isn’t it?  I’m pretty smitten.  The colors are great, and it’s got all these scenes of nature.

These are fabrics that Hawthorne Threads prints themselves, so they are a little stiff to work with, but they wash up nicely.

My quilt buyer gave me some creative freedom with this one, something I’m always grateful for.

So this is the color palette that needs to be used, but I can add in fabrics to give it more depth.

I ordered the full collection and it came with these lovely panels.  I was going to keep them for myself and use them for pillows, but kept thinking how lovely they would look in the quilt surrounded by the dresdens.  I’m hoping my vision is correct.

The four smaller blocks are the same size as the dresdens, 12.5″ unfinished.  The larger panel will be in place of four blocks and measures 24.5″.

And this is what cutting 1,460 dresden blades did to my space.  yes!  YOu read that number correct.

I’m making a king size quilt that should measure about 108″ square.  I’ll have 77 dresden plate blocks, the four small panels and the one large panel.

Doesn’t look too many when piled up here though.

a few of my favorites.

So I sewed them all, then punched them right side out, then pressed them and now I’m sorting them and grouping them into groups of ten.

Most of my dresdens will be using only two fabrics, but there will be others that are mixed and scrappy looking.  This will be something different from the other dresden quilts I made.

That’s it so far.  I’m still piecing the dresdens.  After this step, I’ll move onto sewing them down onto the top fabric and batting.

More info on sizes of my pattern later.

Help Links

dresden ruler (exact same one I use)

a great dresden tutorial (its how I learned to make them)

xo, Melanie


Migration quilt

The  Migration quilt was my last quilt of 2016.

It was also a quilt I first made back in 2014, before I even had started free motion quilting.

Here is the original quilt:

and here is the block:

You can see that I turned it a different way from he original.  Same difference though.

This is a super easy quilt and made exactly the same way as those two scrapbuster quilts I made a few weeks ago.

The only difference is that in those two quilts the corner blocks were the same size 2″.  In the Migration quilt, the corner blocks are different sizes ranging from 2-4″

and altogether.  The look kinda like a hundred butterflies.

This is another great quilt for using up your scraps.  However, this particular quilt was for one of my quilt buyers.  She sent in her own fabrics, Fig Tree fabrics, and wanted everything on a solid white background.  The back of the quilt is white as well and so is the binding.  Please stay clean!

This one differs from the original migration quilt in another way by it having free motion quilting instead of the straight line quilting I was doing back in 2014.

Do you see my little heater pulled up close to my chair?  Thats because I’m in a basement and freezing to death.  I can’t get warm down here.  I live in Alabama and I like hot summers.  This 25 degree business needs to go back where it came from. 🙂

I really like this quilt.  It’s so fresh and clean looking.  I’ve gotten FAR away from using white backgrounds, but this quilt reminds me of how nice they do look.  And this particular quilt could probably fit seamlessly into any decor or color palette.

Last 2016 quilt label.  I’ve got new ones that I need to show off.  Soon.

white on white on white.  That’s a first for me.

The Block

Each background block measures 6.5″

Triangles on blocks started out as squares measuring 2-4″.  Anything in those sizes will do and the more different sizes the more varying your butterflies will look.

On each small square I drew a line diagonally.  Pinned it to two opposite corners diagonally and sewed directly on the drawn line.  Then cut 1/4″ on the outside of your line.  Press open.  I have a tutorial here, but note the changes that you will need for the Migration quilt.  The tutorial is for all four sides of the square.  Don’t let that confuse you.  You only need two corners for the Migration quilt.

The Quilt

This is a throw size quilt measuring 60×72″

You will need (120) 6.5″ background squares and (240) 2-4″ colorful squares to complete the quilt top.

Happy Sewing!

xo, Melanie

The scrapbuster quilts

The day before Christmas I gifted two quilts to my nieces, 11 & 13.  Sweet, thoughtful children these are and I am so pleased to get to give them quilts for Christmas.

Here is Emma with her quilt.

I blogged about working on these quilts here.

I have my scraps sorted several different ways.

One of my scrap baskets holds 7″ squares.  7″ squares sounds like a weird size, and it is.  When I first started quilting I discovered that I could (6) 7″ squares out of a 7″ strip of fabric perfectly, without any waste.  So this is the size I used in all my early quilts.

Still, I use them often.  I ended up with all of them because in my large throw rag quilt, I use 7″ blocks.  My wedding quilts use 7″ blocks.  They started piling up.

And now they still work out to be a great size for me.  When I need 6.5″ HSTs, what do you need?  7″ squares.

And they worked out perfectly for this quilt as well.  I pulled out (120) 7″ blocks from that basket and trimmed them down to 6.5″ for these two quilts.

They have 2″ squared corners that I pulled from a basket that just holds 2″ squares.

These were really great quilts to use up some of those squares.  For two quilts, I pulled 240 squares and looking at that basket you cannot even tell I did.  Why is it always that way?

How many squares could possibly be in that still overflowing basket?

I was careful to stay away from pink for this quilt, since it was not a loved color for Emma.

I could quite settle on a color palette for her, but I think it worked any way.

My husband, Wade, drew all the diagonal lines for stitching purposes on the 2″ squares.  He also trimmed the tails off of all the blocks after I sewed the corners on so technically he did help make these quilts.

For Alyssa’s quilt, I had a definite color palette chosen.  One that I have always wanted to use, seen several times in other quilter’s work and had plenty of the squares to pull off.

As always, I did an all over quilting design using a meander.  I find this step so therapeutic.

I recently heard someone ask why anyone would finish a quilt this way and I was a little surprised.

I know it’s simple quilting, but that’s one of the reasons I like it.  By the time I get to the quilting phase I’ve put in so many hours into this quilt.  I’m ready to zone out and just move that quilt here and there in twirly rounds until it’s done.

If I had a longarm machine I’d probably want to add even more creativity to the quilt.  I do understand that.  I wonder if it would give me that same relaxing feeling as the meander does on my standard sewing machine.

I love this simple quilt design.  It was easy to get done and it used up a lot of scraps.

I always feel like patting myself on the back for using my scraps, like I’ve done something frugal and good.  It also always feels like a burden has been lifted and I’m not wasting fabric or cluttering up my space with the continued holding on to them.

If you like my labels I sell them in my shop here.

They can be completely customized to fit you, down to the font, the words, and even the clipart.

Quilt Details

Blocks measure: 6.5″

There are 120 blocks. 10 rows across and 12 rows down.

Use your scraps OR cut (120) 6.5″ strips of fabric from yardage.  Subcut each strip into (6) 6.5″ squares.

The corners are 2″ squares.  There are 240 of those in this quilt.  2 per each 6.5″ square.

I drew a line down the diagonally of each 2″ squares then sewed them on two corners of each 6.5″ square diagonally.

Very similar to my snow ball pattern shown here except that instead of doing all 4 corners, I only did 2.

These are easy and quick quilts.

I’d like to do them again, but instead of using low volume corners, I use a bold color like black, or something that stands out more than the low volume does.

Hope your January is off to a good start!

xo, Melanie

Scrap buster quilts #1 & #2

So…. amidst all the running around and present buying and menu planning that is this month I am making two quilts for two lovely nieces.

Last month I went on a camping trip with some family.  Two nieces of my husband that we don’t see very often and honestly don’t see much of besides family get togethers.

On this trip, we discovered what darling children they are.

One of them who is a particularly thoughtful child, asked me how much my quilts cost.  When I asked her why, she replied that she wanted to save up her money to buy one from me.

So of course that meant I would be gifting her a quilt for Christmas.  I adore people who adore quilts.  So this is a big surprise and one I am hoping she will love.

I cut up all my fabric and began piecing of the blocks in November.

I stopped working on the project to get Christmas orders out, and now that I have done all that I can on that front, I am working on her quilt.

I’m using the block above.  I’ve used only scraps.

I really, really, REALLY like making scrappy quilts.  I like including a crazy number of different fabrics in a single quilt.

This quilt is for Emma and for her I tried to be thoughtful of the fabrics I used.  On our camping trip together I learned that she does NOT like the color pink and that she loves unicorns.

There are lots of unicorns on this quilt.

I’ve also included a fabric with teepees on it to represent our camping trip since we slept in tents.  I used an owl print because one of the nights we kept hearing an owl hoot and it woke us up.  One morning she was up earlier than anyone else and we went for a walk and saw deer, so there are deer prints in her quilt.

I’ve used greens, blues, teals, grays and corals.

Emma has an older sister who is incredibly sweet and motherly and silly.  She’s just on the verge of becoming a teenager.  I wanted to make her a quilt too.

Instead of focusing on the fabric prints for her quilt, I focused on the colors.

Pinks, fuchsias, maroon, golds, and yellows.

I used LOTS of older Amy Butler fabrics that I’ve had for years, but also included any scrap I could find that was in the color palette.

I’ve finished both the quilt tops now.  Finally.  All that is left is quilt, bind, and wash.


Blocks measure 6.5″ unfinished.

There are 10 blocks across and 12 blocks down

Finished quilt measures 60×72″ (my favorite throw size).


I cut (120) 6.5″ blocks mostly from a basket of 7″ square scrap fabrics that I always seem to have.

If you are cutting from yardage, you would need to cut (20) 6.5″ strips of fabrics.  Then subcut each strip into (6) 6.5″ squares.

For the corners I cut (240) 2″ squares.  All of those came from my low volume scrap basket.

I assembled the block the same way as this block (bottom of post).  The only difference is the size of the squares I used and that I only did two corners of the squares instead of all four like in the snow ball block.

It always feels great using scrap fabrics.  It’s like they are no longer sitting there sighing at me, waiting to be used.

xo, Melanie

I finished my great grandmothers quilt

I’ve been excited about this for a while about this project.

If you remember this was my great grandmother’s quilt top gifted to me by my grandmother.  Read the whole story here.

Her work was just exquisite to me.  All her hand stitches were incredibly well done.  I could tell the great care she took with this quilt.

It was made completely with polyester clothing, so it’s heavy.  Like really heave.  Like I basted on the wall twice cause the first time it fell off while I was half way through the process.  I had to spray baste pretty generously to make this work.

I was torn on the edges of this quilt.  I wanted to preserve them, notice in my first, TOP picture that they are hexagon shaped on the edges.

I debated and debated and eventually I straightened everything up.

I knew this was going to be hard to quilt, polyester is thick and it doesn’t iron well so I had some bulk in my seams.

And last time I had to make bias binding, it was not a work of art.  And this was my great grandmother’s quilt.  I didn’t want anything to be wrong with it, so that was my reasoning for straightening up the edges.

I backed it with my favorite Tanya Whelan print of all time.  Plus, the fabric has a vintage-ish feel to it.  And it has roses on it, which I know my grandmother loves.

I quilted in a meander.  Probably not the very best choice for polyester, but I was kinda stuck on what to do.  It couldn’t have had dense quilting no matter what.  There was just too much bulk, so I did a meander that was very large and spacious.

And this is where it lives now.  Brightening up my living room with it’s bright happiness.

It was made in my great grandparent’s house and after they passed away, it lived in a bag in my grandmother’s closet and now it lives here with me.

A cheerful reminder of loved ones.

I will cherish it like no other quilt I have.

And I am completely smitten and madly in love with it.

If you have a quilt top by one of your family members or maybe you just found a quilt top in a thrift store or flea market and are in need of having it finished, I would be happy to do that for you.  You can read the details of it here.

Sky quilt

I’m still working on this sky quilt.  A single block every day, or here lately, when I’m out of town or something comes up I take my daily sky picture, log the details about the weather and then make a few blocks a few days later.

It’s been harder than I imagined to keep up doing just a single block a day.  Keeping up the cobalt blue (mostly) stash has also been a bit of chore.

I’ve had several friends swap scraps with me so that I can have more cobalts, but nothing seems to be enough.  This quilt is constantly needing more.

I’ve used almost all scraps to do these blocks.  Thankful to have something to use them for.  They constantly pile up and then I have to find a whole quilt to use them in. It’s a never ending circle.  Though, it does feel nice to use them when I do.

and here they all are together…

I’ve actually got a many more done than this picture shows (I took this a week or so ago).

And if you remember from previous posts, I take a picture of the sky and make my block based on what it looks like for that day.  There have not been too many gray or white days.  It’s almost constantly blue around these parts.

My sewing machine faces all the blocks on the wall so that I am constantly staring at them (which is great for not getting sidetracked on other quilt projects, keeps up the inspiration), and I am always trying to decide my favorite block.  And that is impossible, because the blocks are all so great in their own way.

My plan is to lay the blocks out 10 rows by 10 with 2.5″ sashing and then a border around the whole thing.  Pretty standard stuff.  But it will showcase all the blocks nicely.

It should end up being a square queen size quilt.

I’m excited to be finished.

Navy blue wobbly quilt

As I’ve worked on my sky quilt, I’ve been using all scraps.  Trying to stay away from any of my yardage, and I have.  Mostly.

Cobalt (the color of the sky most of the time), is not a color that my blue stash basket is full of.  Navy however is.

My blue basket of scraps is FULL of navy.  And I got a little tired of constantly moving them aside.  Especially when they were all so pretty.

There was many of them and they were in my way during the hunt for cobalt.  So I pulled all the feminine girliest ones and started a new wobbly quilt.

Navy blue is my favorite of colors.  I have more of it than any other color in my stash and yardage AND I wear it all the time.

I’ve been wanting to make this quilt again (see the very last wobbly quilt I made here), and I wanted to make it using only one color.  And so it was perfect for the navy blue scraps.

This quilt busts scraps out the wazoo, so if you are like me and have an overwhelming scrap basket, you can find my pattern here.

It is easy to cut, and it is incredibly easy to chain piece.  Plus as you can see, I also got to use up just as many low volume scraps, which is my only scrap basket fuller than the blues.

It was full of little surprises.  Like the bunny.

or the butterfly.

and many more.

I bound it with a navy floral print.  This is probably my favorite scrap quilt to make.  I should probably make more.  My green stash is also out of control.

This quilt has already been sold, but if you are interested in having one made with colors of your choosing, have a look here in my shop for more details.  I’d be more than happy to make you one.