Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sleeping Porch Dresdens

Do you like dresdens?  For so many years, I thought I didn't.

Dresden plates are a traditional block made with many wedges arranged in a circle.  Typically you sew wedges to make pointed, turned-under edges.  Then you join those wedges to form a circle, applique the dresden on a background and cover the center of the dresden plate with a smaller applique circle.

vintage quilts on aqua and on white

When you begin quilting you start looking at quilts in a new way, often thinking, "Do I want to make that?"  Usually the answer was "no" for me with dresden plate quilts.  But from time to time I'd see one that was different.  Exactly how, I wasn't sure...  In 2015 I first attempted to capture the kind of dresdens I favor via an Inspiration post.  Finally, two years later I'm making my first dresden quilt.  And, I'm finding my way to love them!

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It doesn't hurt that I'm starting with a gorgeous fabric collection: Sleeping Porch by Heather Ross.  The dreamy, lightweight lawn fabrics should yield an applique quilt that is still supple despite multiple layers. 

If you're sewing with Sleeping Porch, try a Microtex Sharp size 10 needle, which easily pierces the tighter weave, and avoid steam since they seem to distort easier than quilting cottons.  Also, I suggest you don't mix heavier weight quilting cottons in your lawn patchwork.  Best to keep all fabrics the same weight (lawn, voile, muslin, etc.) so that the seams will not fray.  I know by experience that mixed-weight quilts, while lovely, don't hold up well to family use.

Sleeping Porch is in stock now at Fat Quarter Shop, Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory and Gotham Quilts.


Sleeping Porch dresdens

So, back to the dresdens!  First I found that I prefer dresdens with sixteen wedges rather than the more popular twenty.  The wedges are bigger this way.  Also I like a large circular center and even better if the center is the same fabric as the background.  This creates a dresden circle that seems to float on the background fabric.  I made three different dresdens over the last week to test my custom-designed template.  The green dresden was my first.  It has pointed edges and a slightly too-large center circle.  The pale peach dresden is my second.  It has curved edges, but not quite enough curve.  It's vaguely donut-like, right?

Sleeping Porch dresdens

Here is my third dresden.  Now the curve proportions and circle size are just right, and there is an ideal amount of contrast between my two dresden prints.  Yay!  Do you like?

Don't worry, I plan to use all of my dresdens.  I'm planning to have variety in the quilt with both curved and pointed-edge plates.  The more the merrier!

Sleeping Porch dresdens

At first I thought I'd consistently use the charcoal gray print or solid gray for my backgrounds, but now I am planning to use a variety of the darker Sleeping Porch prints.  This gray-purple moth print is dreamy with the pinks.  Also, I need more of the navy snails!

Sleeping Porch dresdens

For the center circles I'm actually using a reverse applique technique that's quick and saves fabric.  After going to all the trouble to develop the perfect (for me) dresden templates and figure out the reverse applique technique, I am considering creating a pattern.  Let me know if there is interest, OK?

Hmm... what do you think about a few multi-color, wild dresdens with lots of prints on the solid gray?  I can't quite decide if I want to go that way or keep things more dreamy and soft.

38 comments:

  1. Great post...I'm actually thinking of doing a smallish Quilt with three Dresdens in different sizes on a blue-grey background ...A throw quilt size....I've seen several on Pinterest as ideas 😊

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  2. Hi Rachel.I'm loving the. blue, yellow and orange dresden. Great colors that really pop. I need to do another Dresden project in the near future. I spent a year maing Dresden table toppers for all different seasons, about 85 of them, which were used as gifts for family and friends. That was about 8 years ago and at the time, I was sick of them. Now, my interest has peaked and I would love to do a couple of quilts for our great granddaughters. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I think we all go through that - getting tired of a project or shape and then feeling refreshed to come back to it when we give ourselves enough time. 85 is a HUGE number of toppers! Wow!

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  3. Hi Rachel,
    The Dresdens are beautiful! I'd be very interested if you did a pattern for the reverse appliqué.
    Love the choice of fabric. Thank you.

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  4. I've been playing with the idea of a dresden quilt for a couple of years. I would love to have you do a tutorial…l have these beautiful fabrics too…what a great idea. Yes, please.

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  5. Those are great! I have always wanted to do a dresden plate project (even bought a template), but I just haven't ever gotten around to starting it. Seeing your bold single-color dresdens is very motivating! And yes, I would be interested in learning the reverse-appliqué technique.

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  6. Hi Rachael: I've been researching dresden plates as I'm planning on making one for a friend of German descent. Did you know that the curved 'petal' dresdens are older than the pointed ones? Also, I'm planning on 20 'petals' as those are the more traditional ones. I've just finished making a template as I'm too cheap to buy one.
    From what I've seen on the internet and in books, your curved petal one actually has too much of a point.
    All that said, the dresden is like most other quilt blocks - variations abound and that's what makes things interesting.

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  7. I participated in a dresden class at my local quilt shop. My middle sister has a dresden plate our great grandmother made, we 3 each received one, mine was lost in one of my moves... It was fun to make, I was surprised at how easy it was, now the hard part, sewing them to the background .... and then the circle...not a fan of curves!

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  8. I agree with you - sometimes it takes time to see yourself reinterpreting an old fashioned quilt pattern! I too have been playing with wedges, but your's are far more adventurous and successful. Keep playing - whatever speaks to you. It's all good.

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  9. Laughing as I decided your pale peach dresden looked like a donut and then I saw you thought the same. These are very pretty. I've never really wanted to make a dresden as I usually don't care for them. Leave it to you to come up with something I like. :D

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    1. It's totally a donut! Looks yummy.... I'll have to settle for banana bread. =)

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  10. I'll be watching this one with interest. I have a Dresden plate quilt that my grandmother made. There was always something about it I didn't care for, but I was a kid, so who knows what? I've recently seen some re-interpretations and started thinking I might want to give it a go.

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  11. Dresden was my first ever quilt made from clothing bought at garage sales, thrift and jumble sales. I don't know how momma Lou had the patience to teach an antsy 13 yo but she did. I have numerous books and patterns but have never revisited it perhaps now is the time.

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  12. Love your Dresden Plates but have never tried applique - pattern would be great. Jean R

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  13. I would be interested in a pattern! I am like you, I like the less traditional look that you've figured out with your dresdens. These look great! Thanks for sharing.

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  14. It wasn't until recently that I have felt the urge to make a dresden quilt. It is on my list ...one day!

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  15. Pattern? Yes, please. Dresden Plates are traditional, but your pattern gives them a modern twist. The background fabric for the center circle gives the Dresden a completely different look. Can't wait to follow your pattern. Thank you. Donna Weeks aka Momma Llama

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  16. Pattern sounds good, or at least a tutorial on the reverse method for the centers, please. :) Regarding the multicolored wedges on dark grey, I like it! It's bright, yes, but the fabrics and prints are of a dreamy quality (my bundle is just sitting pretty for the time being...), but if you used the curved edges versus the points, I think it would help to soften the brighness. I am loving this quilt so far; beautiful work as usual!

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    1. Oh, what a good idea to use the curved edges on a multicolored plate to soften the brightness. I think that would work!

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  17. I love the way the curved Dresden looks! I have some Dresden plates, as my mom called them, pieced by my grandmother that need to be in a quilt. You have given me an idea that might work to make them look more modern.

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  18. This is going to turn out pretty, Rachel.
    I made one dresden plate pillow years ago, encouraged by a sew along.
    I made two very stiff poofy dresden pincushions about 5.5 inches each, two months ago. I placed a weight (a rock actually) at the bottom of one of them and a tab at the top, and it hangs midway at the side of my design wall. I have lots of pin cushions but they are compact and I keep knocking them off the table.
    I do love how yours are turning out with these rich and delicate fabrics. Enjoy the warmish weather. It is good to get out. I take my dad for a long walk every day we can get out.

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  19. Gorgeous! I love that you're mixing curves and points-- it will be amazing!

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  20. Wow! Way to make Dresden's beautiful! I agree with you that Dresden are not my favorite. But I like that you have done them in the same color tones! That makes me like them!!! And on a contrasting fabric? That's just wonderful. I would be interested in your Dresden pattern should you choose to make one!

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  21. LOVE the idea of reverse applique for the centers ! I've always been a fan of the Dresden but in a more modern way. I think you've found it :) Will look forward to a tutorial for the R. A. THANK YOU !

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  22. I love dresdens but like you I love them more if they are cubbier (is that a word?). And sadly I always underestimate the time it takes to make them.

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  23. I like them all...but I might not use the solid gray...unless more solid backgrounds are mixed with the print backgrounds randomly throughout the quilt...I love the playfulness of mixing the non-solid backgrounds with the chubby dresdens...I'd be interested in the pattern!

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  24. Just like you I have never fully embraced the dresden. Ive made the occasional block, and I do like the look of some of the vintage quilts, but there's just something about them...maybe too vintage-y? You have gone and created a really lovely modern version. And I have my stash of Sleeping Porch just waiting for the perfect project. So if you do create a pattern, I'd give it a go for sure!

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  25. Your 'dresden plates' look wonderful on the floral backgrounds! I have just finshed putting my latest blocks on a floral too, really nice for a change!

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  26. I was thinking of the butter cookies my granny gave us as kids, the ones with a hole in the middle and ruffled edges. It's been ages since I thought of them so thank you :)
    You should make a mixed one just to see if you like it with the others and if not you can always put it on the back.

    I love this collection more each time I see it. This quilt is going to be so lush and with the patterns and color just a dream :)

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  27. A tutorial would be fabulous, reading through the previous comments I felt the same way until I saw a 'modern' Dresden, something else in the quilting world to love.

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  28. Oh, Sleeping Porch is perfect for a Dresden quilt! I've seen pictures of a lot of Dresdens and I think this is the most striking one I have ever seen! Can't wait to see it finished.

    xo Linda

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  29. The sleeping porch fabrics are lucious. I would love a pattern!
    Leslie

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  30. I love Dresdens but yours are beautiful. Mine are more conservative and I can't wait to try more colorful combos! I am currently working on a half Dresden design with Kaffe Fassett fabric that I can't wait to finish.. Enjoy your Dresdens. mary in Az

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  31. I've always had a love hate relationship with Dresdens. Yours are beautiful so maybe I will try them. thanks for sharing.

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  32. I love your dreamy dresdens! I would keep doing them that way and save the multi color idea for toss pillows to go with the quilt.

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  33. I sure love your eye for this type of experimenting.

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