How would you like to put together a Dresden Plate quilt in just a few hours with a lot less work than you might think? I just did. Unlike most of the Dresden Plate patterns that use a template to cut each plate wedge individually, the Easy Dresden ruler cuts wedges from strips of fabric to make a 20-wedge Dresden Plate block quickly and easily.
In a 20-wedge plate, I could use 2, 4, 5, 10 or 20 different fabrics for the wedges. I selected a border fabric, then I chose five fabrics to match the border. The five fabrics would repeat within the plate four times.
The Easy Dresden ruler comes with a large sheet of instructions, diagrams, and charts. I wanted 12-inch finished blocks, so I looked that up on a chart which told me I would have to cut 4-inch wedges.
I cut a 4-inch strip across the width of my fabric. Then I used a rotary cutter and the Easy Dresden ruler to cut the strip into wedges, flipping the ruler after each cut. Each strip of 4-inch fabric gave me enough wedges to make four repeats in six Dresden Plate blocks.
Darlene Zimmerman, the designer of the Easy Dresden ruler, gives three different treatments for handling the top of the wedges. The treatment I like best is Dresden Spokes, which have points on the ends. And to my surprise, that was the easiest treatment to do.
Putting the spokes together was easier than I expected, too. Needing nothing fancy, I just sewed the entire length of the wedge. Within minutes, I had rings of wedges that lay perfectly flat on my ironing board.
I traced the center circle that was drawn in the instructions onto a piece of heat resistant mylar to use as a pattern. I traced around the mylar onto the wrong side of the fabric I’d chosen for the center of my Dresden Plates. Then I cut out the circles with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
I applied spray starch to the circle fabric, placed the mylar on the wrong side of circle, and pressed the seam allowance onto the top of the mylar. Ironing fabric around a template works well for making perfectly round circles, eliminating all the pointy bits.
Applique The Plates To The Background
I chose machine applique to apply the plates to the background. I used an invisible thread in the top and thread to match the background in the bobbin. I sewed the pointed edges of the wedges to attach the plate to the background. Then I sewed around the edge of the circle which attached the circle and the plate to the background at the center of the block.
But that’s not all. The instructions also tell you how to make the Dresden Plate with a round edge, or make round-ended wedges by using an additional mylar template to shape the ends of the wedges. And I can make Grandmother’s Fans from the Easy Dresden ruler using separate included instructions.
Darlene also shows wedges sewn together in a Tumbler pattern, though I think the example looks more like soda-fountain glasses than tumblers. By shortening the wedges used, I could come up with something that looks more like a Tumbler. The proportions aren’t exactly correct, but they’re passable.
The Easy Dresden Quilt Tool Set not only makes creating Dresden Plate quilts fun and easy, it also helps with fans and tumblers too. But it’s no surprise that the Easy Dresden is a great tool. The whole family of Easy rulers take so much work out of making quilts for such a little price that any of them are a good investment.
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