Persimon Dreams · May 21, 2014

Dresden Neighborhood Block Tutorial: 52 Twisted Tradition Block Quilt Along

I twisted the traditional Dresden plates for our next block. I’ll explain my method to making these into houses but on this block - feel free to use your creativity to make it as whimsical as you want!
My tutorial is using a Dresden Plate Ruler. I’ve done a few dresden plate blocks in the past. I’ve enjoyed them but they’ve never turned out perfectly since I was using paper templates I printed off the web. The paper templates are just fine…I’m just not that picky to be accurate enough with them. This block was my first time using the ruler and I’m very HAPPY with the results!

You can print out free templates online if you don’t have the ruler and still make this blocks. I recommend getting it from the 2012 Craftsy FREE BOM class. We did Dresden plates in July. If your print out the class materials from that month you’ll also get the dresden templates.

Dresden Neighborhood Block Tutorial for

52 Twisted Traditional Block Quilt Along

Finished Block Size – 24” x 24”

Cutting Instructions

20 – 4” x 9” scraps (houses)

1 – 24.5” square (green)

2 – 5” squares (green)

20 – 2.5” x 4.5” scraps (blacks, browns, greys for roofs)
20 – 2.5” x 4.5” Heat N Bond Lite fusible (or comparable)
20 – 1” x 3” scraps (doors)
20 – 1” x 3” Heat N Bond Ultra Hold Fusible (or comparable)
20 - 1.5” x 2.5” scraps (windows)
20 – 1.5” x 2.5” Heat N Bond Ultra Hold Fusible (or comparable)

TOOLS: Dresden plate ruler


Cut out 20 Dresden plates out of the 20 different scrap fabrics you pulled from your stash. Cut your plate out the full size of the ruler.
These are going to be houses so I would recommend fabrics that read ‘solid’ – but of course – it’s completely up to you!

I want you to cut all your Dresden plates out fully first. Then lay them up on your design wall in the order you plan to sew them together.

Next, take every other Dresden plate and trim some off the wider end of the plate.

You can vary this for each of the 10 plates…or trim the wedges all the same amount – it’s up to you.

So now you’ll have 20 (sorry the picture only shows 16…) Dresden plate wedges in all different lengths.

It’s time to sew them together! Line up two adjacent wedges right side together with the shorter sides matched up.

You only have to stitch as long as the shortest wedge.

Iron toward the longer side. Make sure to iron a ¼” seam all the way to the top of the longest wedge even though you haven’t stitched that far.

Here you can see how I made sure to iron all the longer wedges all the way to the top.

Continue to do this all the way around. Once all 20 wedges are sewn together join the 1st and 20th wedge to complete the Dresden circle.

Now, let’s make our center circle. I used two five inch squares of green fabric for this.

For the circle, I looked around my sewing table for around object that’s diameter was at least a ¼” smaller than the 5” square. It could be more than a ¼” smaller but not too much more… I found this great pincushion/button jar made by my friend Kristina of Upcycled Funk.

Trace around your round object with a washable fabric marker on the wrong side of one of your squares.

Place the two 5” squares right sides together. Stitch right along the line you just drew.

Go all the way around the circle.

Using a small diameter rotary cutter…or just a scissors, cut a ¼” OUTSIDE the circle you just stitched.

Now for a nifty circle trick. Pull the two fabrics apart so that they’re puffed out and not touching each other in the center.

While the fabrics are puffed out, cut a line in the circle that will not show in your final piece. Also, cut little notches that don’t quite go to your stitches all around the diameter of the circle.

The slit you just cut, allows you to flip your circle right sides out with a nice finished edge.

Push all the seams out as smoothly as you can so you have a nice finished circle. Press the circle flat.

Here you can see that the circle you just made covers the center of your Dresden wedges just perfectly! Don’t stitch it down yet just yet though.

Let’s take our background fabric square (24.5”) and find the center. I did this by folding the fabric in half, both ways, and ironing it so I could see the center.

Lay out your Dresden wedge circle so that it’s centered. Pin it in place.

Now, stitch an 1/8” along the inner circle of the Dresden wedges. This will help to keep your plates in place as you work on the next sections.

Next, I used a decorative stitch to stitch along the seam of each of the Dresden plates. There are a few options for this. You could simply stitch in the ditch, stitch a quarter inch off the edge, blanket stitch in both directions, or…if you have some fun decorative stitches, find one that looks like a blanket stitch in both directions.

I found that as the stitch in mode 2, stitch 66 on my Janome 6600.

When I got to the portions of the Dresden wedge that didn’t a blanket stitch in both directions I simply switched to the regular blanket stitch. Mode 2, stitch 36.
You don’t need to stitch along the wider outward edge of the Dresden plate. These will be covered up later with roofs.

Once you have all your seams secured down it’s time to make our roof pieces. I did not include templates for this as all the roofs may be slightly different depending on how you trimmed up your initial wedges. Instead, I’m going to show you how I figured out how to draw mine up. First, I measured my widest ‘house top’ – approximately 3 inches.

My shortest ‘house top’ is just under 1.75 inches.

On the paper side of my light fusible (I used Heat N Bond Light) I drew a line at 3.5” (.5” bigger than the longest house top).

From there I drew the rest of the triangle. I did the same for the smaller house tops.

I drew out 10 bigger triangles and 10 smaller triangles. My entire neighborhood is whimsical so I made the roofs a bit wonky. I then cut these roughly out of the bigger piece of fusible.

I pulled out various scraps of black, browns and grays and I fused the triangles to them. Once they were fused I trimmed them down to the proper size.

Next pull off the paper and fuse them down to my Dresden plate house tops. Since I used a light fusible, I needed to blanket stitch all around the roof tops to secure them.
Next up – doors and windows.

Draw an approximate door shape. I found that by keeping it at about ¼” at the bottom of the door, going up 2” and having it about ½” wide at the top worked pretty well. This was just my sketch though. I modified most of the 20 doors slightly so they would be all wonky and cool looking. I drew these on the Heat N Bond Ultra Hold Fusible and fused them to colorful fabric scraps. This way, once you iron them to your quilt, you’re done. No need to blanket stitch around them.

I wanted colorful doors so I used a variety of different colored fabric scraps.

Once the doors were fused down, I blanket stitched the middle circle down that I made earlier on. I waited to put the doors on, so the bottom of the doors are covered by the circle.

Next up – windows! This time I made my windows approximately ½” x ¼” but kept them very wonky and different. I made two windows for each house. Again, I used the Ultra Hold Fusible so I wouldn’t have to secure them in place with stitches.

Once you’ve fused all your windows down - you’re Dresden Neighbor hood block is complete!
Thanks for following along and I hope you enjoyed this block tutorial!
Get your FREE printable PDF of this block by heading to my craftsy store. Don’t wait too long…after a month (6/21), the PDF will be $2.

Source: Dresden Neighborhood Block Tutorial via PersimonDreams on Craftsy
I can’t wait to see what all your blocks look like! Be sure to share you blocks and any projects you make using your blocks onto our flickr group: 52 Blocks Quilt Along
Instagram/Twitter Hashtag: #52bTT
Previous Blocks
Stop back next Wednesday for another twisted traditional block tutorial!
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