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


A yellow and mint orange peel quilt

I feel like I make orange peel quilts on a pretty regular basis.  But this one…

…hurts to part with.

This quilt was a custom order from a very lovely lady who asked for her ‘peels’ to be low volume fabrics and her background to me mint or yellow.

I decided to do both.

Technically, it was because I did not have enough mint 6.5″ squares, BUT as soon as I started sliding the yellow in as well I got all googly eyed.

See all my other orange peel quilts here.

The last several orange peel quilts I’ve made, I have used prints for the backgrounds instead of solids.  I find it makes the quilts SO much more interesting.  Not to mention as vast amount of different fabrics being used in a single quilt.

I am not completely out of mint green fabrics (except for scraps).

This quilt also cut my low volume scrap basket by 2/3s.  I was pretty happy about that since it was toppling over and I had been giving it the stank eye for over a month wondering what I was going to do with those scraps.

I tend to complain mostly when I make this style quilt.  There is a LOT of cutting in preparation, those peels do not cut quickly.  And that’s with me using a rotary cutter and folding my interfaced fabric over, cutting multiple peels at once (I usually cut 6 at once).

Also, it’s a ton of applique work.  SO this time I did it a little differently.

I cut all my squares beforehand.  Then cut about 50 peels, then sat down and appliqued them.  Got up and cut 50 more and then sat down and so on and so on until all 224 of them were done.

This way my feet didn’t hurt too much and neither did my rear from sitting.  Not sure why I’ve only just thought of this, it seems pretty obvious to me now.

But this made the whole process so much more enjoyable.

Also, working with these soft whispery colored fabrics didn’t hurt matters either.

If you might be interested in having me make you a custom orange peel quilt for yourself or someone you love, please have a look at all the details here.

Orange Peel Quilt in Sweet as Honey fabrics

I was very excited to make this quilt when my super sweet customer purchased it. I had been eyeballing these fabrics for months and Bonnie Christine, the fabric designer, is my current favorite designer right now as well. Also, peach and brown, are some of my favorite colors.

You probably wouldn’t believe me, but we raked all these leaves up last week and yet here they are back again. I guess that’s what I get for living next to the woods.

The fabric collection is called Sweet as Honey and this is the autumn harvest palette featuring some terrific shades of brown, peach, gray violet, a funky green and gold. My favorite fabric in the collection is this one. These are from Art Gallery Fabrics.

All the peels are raw edge appliqued.

I used the honey house in peach for the back and binding. And then quilted with a meandering stitch (my usual).

It took me two hours to quilt this, it is a king size, so it was a little difficult and of course my neck and arms were killing me by the time I get done, but I guess that goes with the territory.

I really like this quilt design. I also have another one in this design coming up soon with some different fabrics, luckily it will be quite a bit smaller. This king size took several days. One day which was just spent on the appliqueing.

I hope it finds a lot of love in its new home all the way in Texas.

Just a quick run down of the pattern….

I used 7 inch blocks of background fabric and then my peels are all 6 inches long. I just drew them out on paper and then traced them onto cardboard and cut that out. Then I lay the cardboard pattern on top of my ‘peel’ fabric and just trace out. Then, applique peels onto the 7 inch block and then stitch the 7 inch blocks together. Voila! Orange Peel happiness.