Dresden Blooms Quilt Tutorial

Jenny Doan

Dresden Blooms Quilt Tutorial

Quilt Size: 83" x 82"
Jenny Doan demonstrates how to make a stunning Dresden Blooms quilt using the Missouri Star Large Dresden Plate Template for 10" Squares, Heat N Bond, solid yardage, and 2.5 inch strips of precut fabric. For this project, Jenny chose "Bloom Bloom Butterfly" Pixie Strips by RJR Studio for RJR Fabrics. This quilt comes together quick and easy with strip sets.
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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. And I’ve got a fun project for you today. We’re talking about dresdens. Let’s take a look at this quilt behind me. Isn’t it beautiful? Now this is just a gorgeous quilt and there are so many things, I can hardly wait to tell you about this. So to make this quilt you’re going to need one roll of 2 ½ inch strips. And we have used this Bloom, Bloom Butterfly by RJR. And it’s just a beautiful fabric. You’re going to need ¾ of a yard of each one of these colors. These are great big squares and you’re going to need ¾ of a yard of all the colors that you choose. You’re going to need some of this background, this white background that’s on every dresden. You’re going to need 2 ½ yards of that. Your outer border out here, you’re going to need 1 ½ yards and it’s a nice big six inch border. Your backing, isn’t that cute, I love bird fabric. I like birdies anyway. But you’re going to need 7 ½ yards of fabric for that back. You’re going to need a dresden template. You’re also going to need some Heat N Bond, about a half a yard of Heat N Bond. So there’s a lot of little things that we need to make this. But the end result is so cool and so much easier than it looks that I think you’re just going to love it. So let me show you how to make this and it’s much easier than it looks.

So you’re going to take your background fabric or the white fabric that we used with our dresden, that’s this right here. And we’re going to sew a strip to either side of our two strips. So the first thing we want to do is go to our jelly roll and pick two strips that we just love. And there’s a lot to love in this group right here. So I’m going to pick, I think from the green and I’m going to pick from this bird one. I love little birds, my kids say you’re to the bird watching age, mom. I am, it’s true. Alright so we’re going to sew these together a quarter of an inch right down the sides. And I’m going to teach you my trick for long sewing here. So I’m going to lay these together, come under and sew a couple of stitches to anchor it. And then I take a hold of these strips and I’m going to line them up exactly. And I’m going to lean back, this is all part of the process, lean back in your chair. And then you can just sew along until it gets up to where they start coming apart again and then you just take it and lean back. Now you can solve this lean problem if you just pin but I’m not a pinner so we’re just going to lean back and hold on and sew along. And whenever they look like they start separating I’m going to stop and reline them up and sew again. Alright, now let’s press these open. And I’m going to lay my dark side to the top like this. And then just iron it back. That way my seam will lay to the dark side hopefully and it will lay nice and flat.

Alright so now the fun comes in and we’re going to take this background fabric right here and cut a few pieces off that. So you’re literally going to sew your whole 24 set of strips into two strips. So you will have 12 sets. And then we’re going to take this background fabric and we’re going to cut it in some different pieces. We’re going to cut a two inch strip, a three inch strip, a four inch strip and a five inch strip. So I’ve already got my, I’ve got a couple of them cut right there. I’m just going to go ahead and cut these. And you’re going to cut six of each. So six twos, six threes, six fours, six fives. So there’s my two, my three, there’s my four right here. And here’s my five. Now the fours and the threes are going to stay together as a pair. And the twos and the fives are going to stay together as a pair.

So what we’re going to do now is we’re going to take our two strip sets and we’re going to sew and I’m going to sew the two on one side and the five on the other. And we’re going to sew it right down the side like this and we’re just, it doesn’t matter what side you add them to because we’re going to be flipping our dresden back and forth. But we’re going to start here and sew a quarter of an inch right down the side. And you just kind of want to do the same thing where you just line them up, you know, lean back in your chair. I have this vision of the whole sewing world just leaning back. We’re leaning back. You’re sewing a quarter of an inch. You just come forward and then we’re just going to lean back again. Get another big long sew ahead of us. Make sure it’s still lined up. Alright now I’m going to flip this around so I can sew down the other way. And I’m going to add my five. Now what this is going to do by sewing these different size strips on, it’s going to make our dresdens random cuts. And so I’ll show you that this is just a really fun one. Alright just a little bit more. Alright now let’s press this open. And I’m just going to lay this on here we’re going to start with pressing the five inch piece back and I’m just going to roll it back like that. And when I press that back that little seam will stay on that same side. And that’s what I want. I want a nice flat piece. Now I’m going to roll the other side back and just scoot this the other direction. Make sure there’s no pleats or no folds. You know that’s not working for me at all because I’m a left hander so I like to go this way. So we’re going to flip that right around and finish this job up. You know sometimes you think you can do these fancy things when you’re filming and you just can’t. You’ve just got to do it how you do it.

Alright so now we have these strip sets. And I have this one here that has my five and my two and I have another one that I’ve made earlier that has the three and the four.. So you can see here these strips are in different places on the strip set. And when we cut them that will even be more apparent to you. So we’re going to, we’re going to find our dresden, where is it, oh here, there we go. And what we’re going to do is we’re going to lay our dresden on here like this. You want to make sure that you don’t catch any of the selvedge edge in here. And I’m going to go ahead and cut this. Now my dresden right here is lined up on the very edge. And I’m just going to make a cut and make a cut. And then I’m going to cut this edge off right here. Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to flip this around and now I’m going to line it up on the top edge like this. And cut that off. And you can see I only have to cut one side at a time now. And so these as we lay them out, these are going to be, look at that completely different places. And so we do have about a half an inch of play on here. And so if I wanted to like, you know, be wild and move it like right, cut this one from the top so that it’s even deeper in that cut, you can do anything. Now to be fair when I made this I actually had like two five inch strips on either side of my two strips. And this is just part of the design process. And so I really could move my dresden wherever I wanted it to go within that realm. But it was so much more yardage than cutting the strip way. So, you know, feel free to do whatever you want but know that if you put two five inches you’re going to need at least a yard more fabric. Alright.

So now let me cut a few from this other strip set and so I’m just going to pull it as far from the side as I can without hitting that selvedge edge. Come up and I’m going to come across here. And I’ve got it right on the bottom, smack on the bottom. And I’m going to just slice this up the other side. Alright so here’s this piece. And you can see as I lay this one next to these, again it’s going to be in a completely different place. Now if I, I’m going to flip this one around this time and do it this way. Make my cut. And then I’m just going to trim off this little top edge right here. Make sure it’s still ten inches. You want your blades always to be the same length. So we’re cutting on the ten inch mark of all of these. And so this one will be just a little different. And this one will be much different. You see how these are coming together? Let me show you here right where you can see them. So here you can see I’ve got these lined up together and you can see how different they stagger. Just by flipping your blade, one side to the other and changing the size of your strip they just move all over the place and it just makes a really fun pattern.

Alright so to make a dresden, you’ve cut out your shape and now all we do right here is we’re going to fold this in half and sew straight across the top. And so let’s do that, let me show you, fold it in half and sew straight across the top. Now for your big round plate you’re going to need 20 of these. So I’m going to sew a few of these together. And we’re just, again fold them in half, sew straight across the top. And I’m going to do that to four of these like this and one more. Alright now I know you’re probably thinking it, if you’ve never made a dresden you’re thinking what is she doing. And that’s the fun and the beauty of a dresden for me so. You take your straight edge, you fold it in half, you sew straight across the top. And then when we flip these it peaks. So just like that you have these cool pointed dresden. And I like to push out this, let me see, where’s my, let me grab a scissor. There’s all kinds of cool tools for, you know, making your points come right out. I just tend to grab a pencil or a scissor or whatever is handy. And so again when I go to flip these, now there’s a couple of things you can do if you want to reduce bulk. You can clip this little edge right here. But don’t clip into the seam. But what I generally do is just kind of fold it over with my finger and then push it through. And it makes a nice sharp point. And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to go over to the iron and we’re going to press these down. Alright, so now, oh my goodness, I’m a mess. Alright so now what we’re going to do is we’re going to take this little seam right here in the middle and we’re just going to eyeball it and make sure it’s centered, mostly centered. So I”m not measuring, it’s not perfect but it’s going to be mostly centered. And honestly it’s pretty close, I’m pretty accurate. And you’ll want to make sure you are, pretty close anyway. These are pretty forgiving.

Alright so now we have these cool pieces that are all, they’re all pressed down. They’ve been sewn straight across the top. And we get to put them together as a dresden. You’re going to sew 20 of these together to make a circle. And you and I together, right now, we are going to sew, we are going to sew four of these. And I’m actually going to move them around a little bit because I’ve got a lot of the same fabric right here. But honestly you can’t even tell because of the stagger, so that’s kind of fun. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to lay these right sides together and I’m going to start here at the top. This matters, this seam matters. This seam down here does not. We’re covering that with a circle. It’s not going to matter. So we’re going to sew four of these together like this. And I’m going to backstitch on that very top. And then I’m just going to come down the side. And when I’m sewing my whole plate together I will sew two, two, two, then four, four, four. And then I start putting them together in groups of four and five groups of four makes a plate. So we’ve got a little backstitch. And backstitch is just where you go back and forth when you start so that your seam doesn’t come out. Alright now what I’m going to do, I’ve sewn two, two and two like this. And we’re going to sew these together as four. And I’m going to look at them. I probably want to, yep we’re going to do it this way. And those are going to be just a little off, that will be so fun to look at. Alright we’re going to do this. Now normally on quilts we don’t backstitch. And the reason we don’t is because every seam, on a quilt, every seam is enclosed in another seam so the backstitch doesn’t really matter. But this right here, you want this part to hold together because you’re going to be sewing this down, you’re going to be messing with it, you’re going to be sewing with it and these are not going to be enclosed in another seam.

Alright now I have a big piece right here that’s just started. And this is my, I have 16 blades on here. Isn’t that fun? And we’re going to add these last four in here like this and that’s going to make our big plate. So right here I’m going to put this on here, line up this edge right here. Again we’re going to backstitch. We want that to stay together and not pull apart. And we are going to line them up and sew a quarter of an inch right down the side. And then I’m ready to close my circle. So actually, you know what, this is a really good tip right here. Count before you close. So you’re going to count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve closed something and gone, why isn’t this laying nice, you know. And it’s been because I’m off. So count and then stitch together. So I am going to start right here and do my little backstitch. And lay my seam down and just sew right along there. Now one of the things that’s interesting about these dresdens is that depending upon your seam, you know, we all have our own seam allowance, but depending upon yours is whether or not, this is based on a perfect quarter of an inch. If your quarter of an inch isn’t perfect you may have to coax that center to lay down a little bit. And I generally do, my quarter of an inch is pretty skinny and so I generally have to kind of coax this down or take my seam a little deeper toward the middle, pay attention to that. And so what you get now is this big, beautiful plate right here. And then we’re going to mount it on the square.

Now the square, this is a little bit of work for some people because sometimes it’s hard to know how to cut a square. We’ve got ¾ of a yard and we want to cut it down to a 24 inch square. And so I’m going to line this up here on my mat and use my mat as my ruler for my 24 inches. And I have to adjust a few things. Now you’ll notice right here, so this is my ¾ of a yard of fabric. I am folding it in half. I would much rather cut a shorter piece, you know, when I tend to cut a long piece, you know, my ruler will slide or it’s harder on my shoulder, not sure what’s going on. But I like to cut from a small area. And so make sure that you’re lined up, you know, your two edges are lined up and straight all the way across. Now a lot of times when people say cut this way they’ll get an elbow in their cut. And that means that it’s not folded straight. If it’s folded straight you should get a perfect, a perfect straight line. And so just know that if you’re not, if it’s not straight, you know, or you cut it and it has a little bit of a bow to it that, you know, you want to check your fold. Alright so now we’re cutting this at 24 and here’s my 24 line right here. And so I’m going to put my ruler on here to the 24. Make sure that I’m lined up. It’s not any smaller or you know, that everything is just so. And so you’re going to cut off a piece about this big. Now we’re ready to cut it the other way. And the other way it’s going to be much wider than 24, it’s going to be almost 40. And so I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to open this up and I’m going to fold it in half. And I’ll match up my little centers there. And they have a nice creased center for us and don’t forget you have to cut off your selvedge edge right here. And I’m going to cut that off. And then I’m going to slide this all the way to the edge of my mat and then come over 24 right here. Make sure that your line is straight on here. And you know if you’re worried about it at all, like if you feel real insecure cutting, what you’re going to want to do is cut it a little bigger. Give yourself some room to play with. You can always cut it down. You can’t actually make it larger. That’s a bit of a problem. So what we’re going to do now is we are going to cut that at 24. Whew, I had to look again. I was like, wait I just cut that without thinking. Don’t do that, that’s not a good plan. Alright I’m going to press this little fold line out of here like this. Make sure that it lays nice and flat. And you might have to use some steam or some starch or something so that this, whoops, so that this just lays nice and flat. Alright.

Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to fold this in half like this, my square. Let me move this out of the way. I’m going to move, fold this in half and I’m going to fold it in half again. And then I’m going to press these edges. So we’re going to fold, press this part down right here. We’re going to press this part up here. What that’s going to do is it’s going to give us a center of the block. And it’s going to give us edges to line up our dresden on. Alright, so right here is our square, we’re going to put our plate on here. Look how beautiful this is. Alright now line up. So I’m noticing that I have, my pieces are, and my little X in the middle is like right in the center. My edges are lining up fairly nicely. And I’m going to put some pins in here just to hold this on. The next thing we’re going to talk about is this circle right here. Now when we make a dresden, most of us who are dresden makers, and honestly once you see that cutting a wedge, folding it in half and sewing the top together is all there is to a dresden, you become a little addicted to them. I became a little addicted to dresdens and still am. Anyway I’ve got four little pins in here.

And we’re going to talk about the circle. And so once you realize how easy it is to make you’ll make them. And when you do, the size of that circle changes the look of your dresden dramatically. If my circle was very large, it would look completely different than if it was very small. What we did on this quilt was we took our little leftover piece of our background square and mine is here. And we made the center circle out of that so that it matched the background square. Now when we go looking for that circle, let me just say most of us have that size in our head already. So we hit the cupboards, we look for the coffee cup, the saucer, the oatmeal container, whatever it is that’s the right size. It’s this size right here and so you can use that but we put in a paper for you, a PDF that has a five inch circle on it. I have also been known to use a roll of tape. And this is very close to what I wanted. However I have also been known to take some tape off to make it the right size. Now that was kind of a little wasteful. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to trace around this circle and make it just a little darker so that I can see it right through my heat N bond. And if you want to use, you know, again a cup, a saucer or anything that’s in there, that would be perfect. But we’re putting this in here for your convenience and there we go. I can’t actually draw and talk at the same time.

Alright so when we go to put this on our heat N bond, and you’re going to need about a half a yard of heat N bond. What we’re going to do is we’re going to lay this on here. And you can see that circle through the other circle so you’ll be able to trace it once you’ve kind of bolded it, you’ll be able to trace it like this. And then you’re just going to rough cut it and iron it onto your circle fabric. And I’m going to really rough cut mine. And I’m just going to iron on here. Now heat N bond has two sides. It has a paper side and it has kind of a sticky, bumpy side, that’s the glue. You’re going to lay your piece right on your fabric but not on your square. All of a sudden I had to look, is this my background square? You don’t want to cut that twice. Alright so we’re going to lay this on the edge of our fabric right there. And I’m just going to press this on. It literally just takes seconds, maybe three passes and you’re on there. So then you’re going to cut this out right here. And you’re just going to cut on the line like this. Trace it out. And you can tell I am not perfect but I’m pretty close. There’s a lot of concentration going on right now. And then you have your round circle. We’re going to peel this off. And you can score it with your scissors or you can score it with a pin. When you’re doing a raw edge you don’t actually want to like, because I used to roll it but kind of frays the edge of the fabric. So then we’re going to put our middle on there. You can see it. . I’ll move it over here so you can see it better right here. See that middle, how good it looks. And then I’m going to slide it over here and I’m going to iron that on. Now before you iron on your circle what you want to do is you want to fold it back like this, make sure it’s the same distance on both sides and then let it go. And fold it back this way and make sure it’s the same distance top and bottom. So that it’s in the center. That is the easiest way to do it. And then you’re just going to press this on like this.

So once you get your circle on now you get to sew it down. And to be honest I use all my leftover pieces in between my circles to kind of adhere my dresden down. And so even if they’re odd shapes, you know, like this I’m just going to lift this up and stick these under here and I’m going to iron it on there. Let me show you how I do that. And so just iron it just like this. And then I’m going to lift it up and I’m going to peel that paper off and then when we press this down literally it will hold itself in place. So all my little scraps, I would just tuck under there, iron them, peel the paper off, press it down and do that, you know. I mean it’s an easy way to like, especially if you don’t love using pins or, but it just kind of adheres it to the thing so it’s like stuck on there so when you take it to the machine it’s not going to move around a lot.

Alright so at the machine what I did with my dresdens on the wall is I did the tiniest little straight stitch. And so I am bringing my presser foot and my needle right to the edge. Alright so what we’re going to do is we are going to start, start in the valley and then we’re going to sew right along that edge. And you’re going to want to go nice and slow. Right to the edge. And you’ll want to have your needle down so that when you pivot it it doesn’t come off. So then we’re going to pivot and come down this side like this. And I’m just staying right close to the edge and pivot and come back up. Now you can sew these on by hand. You can. And I have. I love to sew dresdens on by hand. But if you’re in a hurry, you know, or if you are not comfortable hand sewing this is such a great option because it’s just so clean. It looks so nice and it holds everything right in place. And you will get faster and faster as you go along. But start slow so you can get it nice and straight.

So when you get this all finished on we’re going to put this together as blocks. And you can see here we’ve got three across, three big blocks, three big blocks down. That makes a quilt that’s about 81 by 81. And again we’ve only used half of our jelly roll. So if you want to make a giant quilt or two of these even you could.

So the other thing I wanted to play with on this was this is our dresden blade and what would it look like if I didn’t sew the peak. If I didn’t fold it in half and sew straight across what would it look like. And so I made this little one right here. And it is just the straight wedges. And look how fun that is. It’s a completely different look. You know when you look at this one and you glance at the ones behind me, it’s a completely different look and it just is, I mean it’s just fun and beautiful. But again something completely different. So I hope you have fun with this. It’s a little freeing to be able to move your template wherever you want to go. And we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Dresden Bloom quilt from the MSQC.

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