Friday, June 8, 2018


Yesterday I finished off the last two Dresden Blocks out of the 30 I have made over the last few months.  They can be a bit tricky and while making them I have learned a number of tips and tricks that has made them very easy to accomplish, which I would love to share.
This seam at the top of the blade is sewn with a very very small stitch.  I learned that you could then poke a lot when turning it to get that nice point without making it through the seam.  I also found that the above cut worked better than the normal diagonal cut  I usually used on a seam I planned to turn.  
I have several tools for tuning points, but this really sharp point worked the best.  
So you can see that this gave me a really nice point on the blade.
When sewing my blades together I did not start at the top.  I started a short distance down on the seam, took a stitch or two forward, then backed up over the end.  Then I cut cut off the thread it would not show at the top of the blades and I could leave a bit of a thread tail.  I also used a smaller stitch on the seams.
This is a normal stitch plate on most machines.  Notice the large oval opening for the needle.  This does not work well with making these little guys.  They are small and can get sucked down into that opening.
I used my single opening plate.  By the way this plate is wonderful for piecing.  It improves your stitch and seam accuracy.  Just do not try to do a zig zag with it.  However, I have learned I can move my needle over just one or two degrees for a wider or narrower quarter inch seam.  Every machine is different so be careful when experimenting with that.
When pinning your plate onto you background fold your background in half and again in the opposite directions and finger press. Then line up each blade on the pressed line equally on all four sides.  Use either the point or the seam between two blades all the way around the four sides and it will be be placed perfectly on your background.  My backgrounds were made with four different fabrics so I had a seam to line up my blades.
I sewed my blades down by machine with thread that matched or blended well given what fabrics I used in my blades.  They can be hand appliquéd down as well, but 30 Dresden blocks was more than I was interested in doing hand appliqué on.  I think they looks just fine with this method.  
I hope this little tutorial helps some of you think about maybe giving Dresden Plates a try.  I pretty much threw in the towel a couple years ago making them.  When I got involved in making the Anthologie Southern Charm quilt along a while back I had to jump in and figure them out.  Since then I have sort of become addicted to them, and will soon show you my 24 Dresden with 24 Flying Geese quilt. 



  1. Thanks for your tips. Your dresden work is so pretty. I needed your trips when I made by very first quilt which was a checkered dresden. It was about too much for me but I did finish it. A pic of it is in the right hand column of my blog.

  2. Helpful tips, thank you! One day I'll get around to one of these too. ☺

  3. What great tips. I like that you machine appliqued the plates. I think they look wonderful that way.

  4. Thanks for sharing some very useful tips.

  5. I hope to stitch a dresden quilt this year...and these tips will be helpful! Thank you! I'll have to check and see if I can get a straight stitch plate for my Janome. I'm also on the lookout for one of those rulers...

    1. I purchased my Janome stitch plate through a dealer, but you can get them on line. The ruler is available at most JoAnn's stores. I have them for years. I love that you can keep the measurement with the little slide so you do not have to remember the exact measure when using it.

  6. Great tips! I have fabric set aside for a dresdon quilt so this is helpful.

  7. These are great Dresden tips and yes, your machine stitching looks just fine! It's perfectly straight and evenly spaced from the edge of the dresden blade. Very nicely done.

  8. I appreciate these tips. I've been thinking about making a Dresden for several years, and this post might just be the impetus I need! Can't wait to see your finished quilt. I'm sure it will be stunning.

  9. Donna, those tips were very helpful and well explained. Thank you so much.

  10. Thank you all for the nice compliments, since Blogger is not working I can not thank you individually by e-mail. I understand that they are fixing it this week. One can hope. Happy to know my tips are a helpful.
    Happy Dresden Sewing. DonnaleeQ

  11. Hi Donnalee,
    What great tips and suggestions you've shared today!! I have one of those small-hole plates for my sewing machine that I've never used. Hmm, maybe I should give it a try. I rarely use the zigzag stitch, but I would certainly forget about the plate.
    Happy Tuesday! ~smile~ Roseanne

  12. Thank you so much for all of your tips on working with Dresdens! These are fantastic!

  13. Great tips! I'll have to try cutting my seam that way.