This 16” x 16” block looks great alone, for instance as a pillow cover or doll quilt, but it can also be combined with other blocks to create a quilt top with a big impact.
Because the components of the Dresden Plate are made separately and then attached to a background fabric, you can have fun playing with their placement. Line completed blocks up in a more traditional side-by-side arrangement, of place them randomly on a whole cloth background.
To complete this block, you’ll need two templates, one for the wedges and one for the center. You can print the templates onto cardstock and then cut them out, or print them on regular copy paper and trace them onto translucent template plastic.
If you plan to make a lot of these blocks, you may want to invest in an acrylic wedge ruler made specifically for Dresden Plates. (I recommend Darlene Zimmerman’s Easy Dresden ruler, which includes markings for making the wedges in a range of different sizes.)
Start by cutting 20 wedge shapes. (You’ll need a scrap that’s approximately 2” x 5” for each.)
Note: If you’re cutting multiple wedge shapes from each fabric, cut 5” strips and then cut the wedges from that strip, rotating the template or ruler 180 degrees after each wedge is cut.
Fold one of your wedges in half vertically, bringing the shorter sides together and matching right sides. Using a quarter inch seam allowance, sew the top/widest end of the wedge together, as shown in the above photo.
Finger press the seam you’ve just sewn open. Turn the wedge right-side-out so that the seam allowance is hidden and the end of your wedge has a finished, pointed shape. Repeat with the rest of your wedge shapes, making 20 total pointed wedges
One you’ve made 20 wedges, arrange them in a circular/starburst pattern on your work surface. Sew the wedges into four quadrants (five wedges in each quadrant) using a quarter inch seam allowance and pressing seams open.
The finished points will extend beyond your seams. However, you’ll want to pay attention as you’re sewing to how the widest part of these points are lining up. I suggest that, when you’re joining wedges, you match start by matching the points of the two adjacent pieces.
Sew your four quadrants into two halves and then sew your two halves together to create a complete circle.
Fold a 16.5” x 16.5” background fabric square into quarters. Use the tip of a hot iron to press the folded corner at the center of the square. When you open up the square, this will have created a mark right in the center. Use this mark as a guide to center the circle of wedges on top of your background fabric.
Pin securely in place (I suggest one pin per wedge) and sew the outside edges down to your background fabric using some variation of a zigzag stitch. This can be a regular, wide zigzag, a buttonhole stitch, or a satin stitch. The idea is just to enclose the edges and secure the block to the background.
Note: Alternately, you could hand sew your blocks to the background fabric.
For the center circle, you’ll need an approximately 8” x 8” square of fabric and a similarly-sized square of muslin, neutral scrap fabric or sew-in interfacing.
Trace your circle template onto the wrong side of the fabric. Place the fabric, right side down, on your scrap fabric or interfacing and sew the two pieces together along the marked, circular line.
Trim both layers to within about a quarter inch of your stitches, pinking or notching the edges. Cut an opening in the scrap fabric side, as shown above, and turn the circle right-side-out, using your fingers or a turning tool to push out the corners and make a nice circle shape. Press. Reduce bulk by trimming the scrap fabric to within about a half inch from the edge.
Place the circle in desired location at the center of the block, pin in place and secure to the block using some form of zigzag stitch. As with the other part of the block, this can be a wider zigzag, buttonhole stitch or satin stitch.
Note: There are lots of ways you could do this step, including needle-turn appliqué, raw edge machine appliqué using fusible web, etc.
And that’s it! Enjoy your lovely, finished Dresden Plate.