29 August 2011

Delightful Dresdens! (A Wee Tutorial)

Thanks so much to all of you who commented or emailed me suggestions for my dresden dilemma. I thought about it, researched it & have managed to come up with an easy & cheap way to fix the dreaded curved dresden problem. 
Remember these?
They now look like this:

The dresden flower is completed, appliqued onto some linen & I'm in the process of hand quilting them now. 
I thought that some of you maybe would like to know how to do these, so here is a wee mini tutorial which I hope you will be of some use to you.... so here goes...

Step One: What you will need
As well as fabric & scissors - an iron, spray starch & two card templates: one for your fabric dresden petals (we will call this the petal template) and one approx 1/8" smaller than your dresden template (we will call this the finishing template)  
Step Two: Lets Cut
Cut your dresden petals using your petal template. Also, using the same petal template cut little top pieces (we will call them petal toppers) from any old material you have to hand (I used old curtain lining fabric)
For the petal toppers you will see that I just cut the curved part of the petal in my lining material so that when the curve stops, you just cut straight across to make a wee semi-circle (this is where this tutorial may differ from the method using interfacing).
Using your lovely spray starch, starch each piece so that they keep their shape.... it really will help you later on!
Step Three: Putting the Topper Onto the Petal 
Set your sewing machine to a small stitch, I used 1.5. This will help you do a neater curve

Place the wee petal topper on top of the right side of the fabric &, using a scant 1/4" seam (slightly less than 1/4"), slowly sew round the top of the curve. Start just before the petal topper & finish just after it. (If you do it this way you won't need to worry about your thread ends as they will be sewn in a seam a wee bit later on) 
Step Four: Admire Your Work!
OK you've just sewn as neatly as you can round a curve, so take it out of the machine & have a wee look at it to make sure you are happy with the curve. You can see here how I started sewing before the petal topper and finished after. 
Step Five: Trim Back 
Using a sharp pair of scissors, trim back both the dresden petal and the petal topper to help you get a smoother curve.
Step Six: Turn Through  
Do you remember the finishing template I mentioned at the beginning? This is where it comes in very handy! 

Turn your fabric right side out and use the finishing template to help you achieve a nice clean curve at the top. The point at the bottom of the template helps you centre the curve. If you are using cardboard you can iron this with the template in place, if you are using template plastic, take the template out & iron the curve carefully. 
Step Seven: Putting The Petals Together
OK you have the hard part done, its downhill all the way from here! Align carefully two petals right sides together and using a 1/4" seam sew straight down from the point where the curve of the top meets the straight of the sides. (This way you will sew over the tails of your curve sewing, so less finishing off work for you at the end). 
So we started off with three petals and three petal toppers & we have ended up with this:

This is how it should look at the back:

If you are making the whole circle flower thing, there should be 16 petals in your circle & it is good to sew them in sets of four, so that you keep things nice & neat ... but if you look closely at mine I have 17!!

So that's a wee tutorial for you... my very first one! I hope you will be able to follow it & it might be of some use you. If I can help clarify any of the steps do please get in touch & I'll do my best to help you out
I hope you all have a lovely "end of the summer weekend" & a great bank holiday Monday (to those of you in the UK)!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial, have bookmarked it for the future.

  2. that was clever, thanks for showing us how you fixed it!

  3. Thanks for the tutorial, looks great!

  4. Totally awesome tutorial! Thanks bunches for sharing!

  5. What perfect little petals.

  6. You make it look so easy! Maybe even I can make it! LOL! Thank you so much.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this - it's fantastic! BTW, I featured your link today :)

  8. I just found your blog via the SBM at Lily's Quilts. I'm so excited to see this tutorial! I'm not (yet) a quilter, but I am originally from New England and love all the traditional quilts from this part of the world. I've been mulling over trying to make just one handquilted square (to turn into a pillow cover) and was thinking of a Dresden square. Now I have no excuse. Thank you!

  9. Gonna have to find a Dresden petal template now...great tutorial...have pinned it in my Pinterest. Hugs Naomi

  10. Clever clogs - if I'm ever brave enough to try a dresden I'll be sure to follow this!

  11. If you can find a ruler and paper you can make your own templates. The template that has a pointed end is made like this . Make 2 marks about an inch and a quarter apart this is the bottom width. Measure up from one of the bottom marks about 4 and half inches and make a mark. Do the same for the other side. This will be the top Once the sides are done connect the top and bottom horizontal lines. Your template is complete. To make the petal , fold the fabric you have cut into the shape, fold it so that the sides line up . Then at the top you will sew a quarter inch seam. Trim the corner at an angle to reduce puckering when turned. The turn the top to the right side and you have a pretty pointed petal.

  12. Oh, bless your heart! You answered my question! I am starting to make a couple of Dresden Plate mug rugs to give friends when we meet at this year's Paducah Quilt Show in Kentucky, and I was puzzling over what to do about those curves. Thank you!
    P.S. My friends and I met for the first time at the International Quilt Show in Galway, June 2013! I am in Canada, as is one of the friends...the other lives in Tucson, Arizona.

  13. This is the best tutorial for roundet petals in dresden plate. Thank you very-very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. THANK YOU, for your "Wee Tutorial"....the Dresden is one of my favorites.
    I am newly retired in 2013 so now have time to indulge in quilting.
    Galveston Island, TX is just south of Houston so every year I enjoy the International Quilt Show there.
    Island Quilters Guild is now my fun place to enjoy like minded people...but your site also caught my eye.
    Thank you for your love of quilting + computer skills!! :-)

  15. thank you so much for the wonderful instruction WEE Tutorial.....

  16. Thank you for your nice tutorial!I tried last Sunday and I'm very happy with the result!

  17. how can i download the templates tried and nothing

  18. i cant download the flower dreston pattern