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 Dresden Quilt




I got an order for a dresden quilt.  I always get excited about quilts I don’t get to make very often.

This quilt called for 500 dresden blades.  I made 25 blocks.

A little secret, I mistakenly cut them too large and had cut up 840 pieces.  I had to leave some of my blades out to account for my very large dresdens.


The colors my lovely customer chose was gray, red, and navy.




I decided to try the ‘quilt as you go’ method on this quilt.  My thinking was that I don’t like quilting on top of my dresdens, but I wanted more quilting than just in between the flowers.


So here is how that works.  Instead of stitching down the flowers, then putting my blocks together, basting and then quilting, I basted all the blocks separately (top, batting, and back), then stitched my flowers down, so that they became part of the quilting.  I also did a meander in the middle of the blooms.  Then I put the blocks together.


I’ve seen this method all over pinterest.  It did save me the step of sewing the flowers down since I made that part of the quilting, but it more than made up for it with getting the quilted blocks together.  That part was hard!

Next time, I’ll just make my quilt the regular old fashioned way.  Sometimes modern ways are not better.







a beautiful quilt is a beautiful quilt.  And I am THRILLED with this one.  I am certain I’ll be using this same pattern for a new quilt for my own bed.


and even though I wasn’t crazy about the ‘quilt as you go’ method, it came with an extra special backing.

So here is my pros and cons to the QAYG method:

CONS – while putting the blocks together the effort is much more difficult with having to match seams, having to cut a little batting off every time you put blocks together is a big pain (and this was VERY necessary), the seams on the back I am not a huge fan of.

PROS – the whole step of sewing down each dresden was eliminated since I incorporated it in the quilting, basting was easier since instead of basting one large quilts I was able to baste 25 mini quilts, quilting was easier since since I basted each block one at a time, backing can be more scrappy with less time.

So there it is.

Make a quilt the method you love best.  The most important thing is that you are making a quilt and no matter which method you use or however you put it together, a quilt is a special thing indeed.