Whilst awaiting the arrival of a backing fabric for my current work in progress I decided to whip up (what I thought would be a quick project) a Dresden Plate block. I have never made a Dresden Plate block and my only wedge ruler has been sitting idle since 2008, although on several occasions I have read the instructions but have always promptly resumed my usual sewing schedule.
I have used a 9 degree Circle Wedge Ruler by Marilyn Doheny to make my Giant Dresden Plate Block (the two pieces on the left lock together to make a 15.5" wedge, measured from top to bottom through the center). I have seen quilts made with this wedge ruler with amazing spiraling circles and dazzling movement - which prompted the purchase of this ruler - but I decided that perhaps I should start at the beginning with a very simple pieced circle.
You can use any Wedge or Dresden Plate ruler and apply the following instructions. The wider the wedge the less wedges you will need to make. My wedge ruler is a 9 degree wedge and therefore a total of 40 wedges are required to make a full circle. A 10 degree wedge ruler will require 36 wedges to make a full circle, etc.
- Sew 8 strips together measuring 2.5 inches x 4 inches (or strips to suit the size of your wedge/ruler). Press all seams in the one direction. To ensure that these horizontal seams lock with the adjoining wedge you will need to alternate the direction of the seams. For half of your wedges press seams in one direction and for the other half of wedges press seams in the opposing direction. For example, if you are making 40 wedges, press all seams up for 20 wedges and press all seams down for 20 wedges.
- Place wedge ruler on top of fabric strip. My wedge ruler has horizontal lines at 1 inch intervals which make placement easy as you can match seam lines with lines on the ruler; helpful but not necessary to complete this project.
- Trim away excess fabric.
Turn the wedge right side out and press. If needed use a sharp tool to shape and sharpen the point.
Make 40 wedges and sew wedges with opposing seams together to make a full circle. I pieced four 1/4 circles first and then joined them to make a full circle.
320 pieces of scrap fabric rescued from my scrap bin.
Circle Diameter: 36 inches.
My next dilemma is how to best applique a center circle, and/or even how best to applique this entire (large ~ 36 inch diameter) block onto a background fabric. Applique is not one of my strengths and a machine technique would be preferred. All suggestions are very welcome!