Category Archives: patchwork & quilting

Yet Another Dresden with a Difference

Next weekend I will be teaching a variation of the Dresden Plate block. Yesterday I did the final preparation for the workbook to accompany the class. This involved making up the project and taking photographs step-by-step.

As we are fast heading towards Christmas I used some seasonal fabrics from my stash. The result is this very jolly cushion.

Once again I am pleased with the design and it has inspired me to research more block designs based on this old favourite. I came across a Missouri Star video that featured a variation called ‘The Beach Ball Dresden’ by ‘My Sister and Me’.

Check it out now or wait and see what I make next week!

12 Blade Dresden Plate Cushion Cover

I am in the home straight of preparation for classes. I have completed the final sample being the above 12 Blade Dresden Plate block. I have chosen these ‘chunky’ blades and only 12 of them so that students can achieve a patchwork block quickly. If like me, they find themselves ‘hooked’ on this block there will be time to try more intricate blocks with many more blades.

For this cushion I again visited my Green-themed scraps. I am particularly pleased that once again I ‘fussy cut’ the butterfly motif on the centre. The patchwork was appliqued onto Natural-coloured calico and backed with some 2 oz polyester wadding. I echo quilted around the block before adding some coordinating narrow piping. I used a 16 inch polyester-filled pad for the cushion cover which has an envelope closure and measures 15 inches square.

Dresden Plate Decorated Peg Bag

Apart from last week, it is a long time since I made peg bags. Here is the latest version which is the result of some research and the desire to make things simple enough for the project to take no more than 1 hour to complete. I still wanted to incorporate some form of decoration in the form of a patchwork block or applique but the construction needed to be easy and by using the ‘envelope’ method I have achieved this.

For this ‘trial’ version I used yet more ‘re-cycled’ calico (previous toile of dressmaking) and a selection of cotton print scraps for a half-dresden plate block. The child-sized hanger was Green and I co-ordinated the patchwork in this colour. The binding was a strip of poly-cotton sheeting left over from making a duvet cover.

The peg bag did take just an hour to complete. More versions may well find themselves wrapped as gifts, meantime I will be using this design when teaching a class at New Threads Quilt Shop.

Plans for October 2017

Despite going ‘off plan’ with several projects in September I did manage to complete some of the items on my list.

The Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan was completed and with the remnant of fabric I made a co-ordinating tee shirt. The Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend was also completed and again another tee shirt for me from the remnant of fabric. I did not get to the Cobra corsage lawn dress but I have today washed the plain Black lawn that I will use for a lining so maybe that project will finally make it to completion. The other dress using a Lewis & Irene cotton print, ‘Our friends in the garden’, was started in September but was not completed until earlier this week. But still with tights and a cardigan it should get some airings until the really cold weather sets in.

Whilst I have made several samples for the classes to be taught in the Autumn and Winter terms, there are still a few outstanding plus the workbooks to be prepared. The final outstanding item from September is the Sewing print linen-look seat covering. That should not take too long as is basically a shape with elasticated hem so hopefully that will also make it to completion in October.

Now, let’s think about sewing plans for the coming month, the list looks like this:-

  1. Cover for sewing room chair in sewing theme linen-look
  2. Samples for classes – Coat hanger peg bag, Scissors Case, Dresden Plate Blocks (2) and Zip top Window Project Bags.
  3. Cobra and Corsage print cotton lawn dress. Style as yet undecided.
  4. Cobra and Corsage print luxury scuba top with asymmetrical hem & cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from Sewisfaction. Absolutely yummy!

    5. Paisley print jersey trapeze tunic with cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from         eBay. Fine weight with a good drape.

  5. Coat with waterfall collar.                                                                                                                                         This is probably too much considering that we are already 7 days into the month but still it is good to have targets!

Strip Patchwork Storage Bin

Whilst surfing the worldwide web I came across instructions for this charming and useful storage bag made from scraps of cotton fabric. The scraps are cut into strips measuring 1½ inches x 5 inches. The base of the bag is a single rectangle and then the lining is cut from a co-ordinating fat quarter. I needed only a small piece of wadding and the end result is a charming storage bag measuring 5 inches high x 5 inches wide x 3 inches deep. The bag is an ideal size for storing a variety of items or as a gift. For the next version I intend to increase the size. As I had originally intended to make window project bags for my friends for their Christmas gifts but with time passing at an alarming rate, they may eventually end up with versions of this storage bag.

20-Blade ‘Christmas’ Dresden Plate

OK, I promise this is the last Dresden Plate block for a while. However, I have scheduled in to teach a class for this lovely patchwork block so there will be a few more appearing next month as I prepare the class materials!

None of these patchwork projects were in my September Sewing Plans and now I have only a few days left to complete what I should have been sewing! Outstanding are 2 dresses and covers for the chair in my sewing room. So far I have only managed to cut out one dress which will take a couple of afternoons of sewing therefore I will have to be philosophical and accept that none of my plans were set in concrete and it is of no great importance that the plans have changed.


On to tell you a little about this particular version of Dresden Plate. I found a picture on Pinterest of a similar 20-blade block worked in shades of Green and finished with a dramatic Red Bow. It looked like a Christmas wreath. As I could not decide on fabric for the large bow I have opted for a smaller version set on a well-padded centre.

The cushion is piped with some ready-made Ruby Red satin piping and has an envelope closure on the reverse. The cover measures 15 inches square and is well-‘plumped’ with a 16 inch pad.

Valentine Heart Dresden Cushion


Free Pattern from

I did say that I was hooked on the Dresden Plate block design!
After a browse on the internet I found the pattern for this delightful 'Valentine' Dresden block free on the website.
I knew that I wanted to use stripes to radiate from the centre of the design and the only narrow striped fabric I could find in my stash was this 100% cotton which has been overprinted with some 'crazy' chickens. In the finished result I quite like the 'picasso-esque' nature of how the design has come out.
The block is easy to make providing that you ensure you keep to a ¼ inch seam allowance. Once the blades had been stitched together I backed the block with some plain White cotton and with right sides together, stitched around the outside. I turned through using the centre before applying the central heart motif. The block was then appliqued onto some plain Pink polyester cotton fabric. 
I used some bias binding to make the piping which I prefer to plain cushions. This cover has an envelope closure on the reverse.
The finished cover is 15 inches square and has a 16 inch polyester-filled pad.

In the Pink – Catherine’s Dresden Plate Block

I did say that I was hooked on this block. My sister, Catherine visited over the weekend and I took the opportunity to show her how to make this delightful design. We chose a selection of Pink/Red cotton prints together with some plain White from my stash and got stitching!

A couple of hours later we had a completed cushion cover with envelope back. Unfortunately, time was running short and we did not have sufficient time to insert a pad but Catherine has returned home with a set of templates and inspired to have a go herself.

Next step is to make the heart-shaped Dresden, the pattern for which I found as a free download on the website.

Sprat & Winkle Quilters Group Raffle Quilt

At the Summer Social meeting of Sprat & Winkle Quilters we completed the final draw for the block raffle.

An explanation: Each member was given a pack containing full instructions for a particular 12½ inch block together with a fair-sized piece of ‘accent’ fabric. To complete the block construction the members added fabric from their own stash. For each completed block a ticket was placed in the raffle. There were 39 completed blocks which meant that four lucky ladies won nine blocks each plus a fifth member won three blocks. It was entirely up to the individual what they made using their blocks. I was one of the lucky winners.

Virtually the next day I laid out the blocks and decided that I would use a contrast sashing in Dark Lavender (fabric from my stash) plus cornerstones in some of the scraps of the accent fabric that came with my winning selection.

original block placement

Once I had settled on the arrangement of blocks I cut sashing 2½ inches wide with cornerstones also 2½ inches square. I joined each section in rows of three blocks and finally joined the rows together to form the entire quilt top. I used some 2oz polyester wadding from my stash plus some pretty Sage Green print from Lewis & Irene (also loitering in my stash!) for the backing.

I quilted the ‘sandwich’ together with 5-point stars in the centre of each block plus some outline quilting of the block design, it was only then that I noticed a ‘not-deliberate’ mistake – oops!

Oops – spot the error!

Having completed all the quilting I declined to unpick the work, the error will remain with a note to self to be more attentive when stitching blocks together.

I needed to decide on the binding so hot-footed it to New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fairground, Andover. I was fortunate that I found the bolt of the accent fabric was still available and purchased ½ metre which would be combined with some more of the backing fabric to make a co-ordinated binding.

Sometime ago, the flange method for quilt binding was demonstrated at our meetings and after a quick review on Missouri Star Quilt you tube, I made the binding by using the backing fabric as the flange and the accent fabric for the binding.

close up of the flange binding

This technique is very quick and easy. It also means that no hand-sewing was involved in the making of this quilt, other than a little hem stitching for the labels on the reverse! My kind of patchwork and quilting!

Label of original block makers

My personal label

The finished size of the quilt is approximately 44 inches square so a good size lap-quilt or table topper for our dining table.

The completed quilt

I have enjoyed making this quilt – now it is back to dressmaking as I have some pretty fabric gifted for my birthday that is calling to be made up into a Kitty blouse.

Rookwood Retreat Day

When the month of May comes around, the Sprat & Winkle Quilters enjoy a ‘Retreat day at Rookwood’ when we get together and make a project. On previous occasions we have made jelly roll quilts and reversible bags. This year the project was a ‘Twisted Pole Table Runner’.

The day starts as we unload our cars with ‘stuff’. The fabrics, sewing machine, mini iron and essential sewing tool kit, crockery and cutlery – not forgetting a large mug for the endless cups of tea(!) and a contribution for the lunch and afternoon tea.

We set up our workstations and then Lizzie ‘Head Girl’ introduced the programme for the day and the project(s) that we will undertake.

The table runner is made from a vertically repeated basic block which is then outlined with 2 borders. The block is a simple one made entirely from half-square triangles.

We were shown 3 different ways to work the half square triangles which are the main block for the table runner. I opted for the simplest method:-

2 x 5” squares with a diagonal line drawn across the middle. Stitch ¼ “each side of the line, then cut apart down the centre of the stitching. Press towards the dark side (sic).

After the introduction we scattered to our workstations to get cutting and stitching. At lunch time we downed tools and enjoyed a chance not only to enjoy the fabulous food supplied by the ladies, but also to socialise, to view the various quilts on display, to have a go at the Tombola and to browse the items for sale.

Back from lunch, we were set a new challenge. A pack of fabric and instructions was supplied for each of us to make a disappearing 4-patch block. The blocks were then ‘raffled’ and the winner received all the blocks to make up into a quilt, we don’t expect to see it next week so you have some time to put it together.

Back to work and by the end of the afternoon I had completed the runner top including the two borders of contrasting fabrics.

The end of a lovely self-indulgent day and home for a rest!

I have now completed the runner with a poly/cotton wadding and calico backing. There is some simple straight line quilting, now all it needs is an embroidered label for the reverse.

I think this block design will make a great lap quilt if repeated in columns- watch this space.