Checkered Dresden Quilt Tutorial


Jenny demonstrates how to make a stunning Checkered Dresden quilt using MSQC’s Large Dresden Plate Template for 10″ Squares and 2.5 inch strips of precut fabric. We used Oak Haven Jelly Roll by Kansas Troubles for Moda Fabrics. Learn how to sew with strip sets!

Get the supplies needed here:

Video Transcript (Downloadable PDF):

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. You guys know I love a beautiful dresden. And I’ve got  a beautiful one for you today. And we’re going to show you how to make this. Let’s take a look at this quilt behind me. Isn’t this beautiful? I love the patchy look. Love the fabric of course. Even love the nice wide border. So we’re calling this Checkered Dresdens because it has such a cool checkered look for it. And I can hardly wait to show you how to do this.

So to make this quilt what you’re going to need is one roll of 2 ½ inch strips and we have used Oak Haven by Kansas Troubles for Moda. Beautiful roll. You’re going to need 5 ¾ of background fabrics. These are nice big squares back here like 22 inch squares. And, and so you’re going to need 5 ¾ yards for that. For your outer border over here you’re going to need 2 yards of fabric because we’ve put a nice big eight inch border. And if you want to back this quilt with, with regular, you know 45 inch wide fabric you’re going to need 7 ½ yards. And look how beautiful this is. Is that not beautiful? I love the blues. I love the oak leaves. I hope you can really see how pretty this is because this is a gorgeous piece of fabric. Alright let me get the threads off of here. There we go. Always, always drives us crazy when we have a thread here and there.

So, so what we’re going to do first is we’re going to open our pre cut and it’s going to have strips. And we’re going to chose four of them to put together. You want to chose four different ones. And you’re just going to sew them just from end to end together. Now when you’re sewing strips and when you’re sewing a bunch of strips, you know, like four, you want to sew down this way and then come back this way. If you sew them all going the same direction, if all go this way, it has a bow to it, a slight bow, which doesn’t really matter on this project too much but that’s just good information to know and, so that we can do that. So basically what you’re going to do is you’re going to put these together like this, right sides. And sew a quarter of an inch right down the side. You’re going to open this, you’re going to add the next strip and sew a quarter of an inch right down that side. And add the final strip.

So once you get your four strips sewn together like this, then you want to iron them. And when I iron these you just want to make sure, it’s not going to really matter on this for placement but you just want to make sure your, your piece is nice and flat. So we want to iron from the top like this. So that, so that your strip set stays the full width that it can be. And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to flip this over and we’re going to iron these first two out and then this next one out as well. So it puts every other one, in, out, in, out like that. If you do that, it will nest together and it will make, it will make it really nice how it comes together. Alright so you are actually going to want to do this to all your strips, your whole strip set. And then you’re going to want to cut all your pieces.

Now the cutting of this is really fun. You’re going to need this layer cake dresden template. And it’s going to stretch from almost the whole length of the thing. Now one of the things you need to remember on this, when doing this is you’re going to have to always put your bottom at the bottom of the strip set. So you’re not going to get this top little piece up here. Just always put bottom at the bottom of the strip set. So when you start, we’re going to start right down here on the end. And we’re going to make sure our bottom is lined up right with the bottom of the strip set. And we’re going to cut this. And I’m going to cut on both sides of this. Just like that. Now you have a piece that you take off and what you’re going to do is just flip your, your template around, make sure the bottom is still on the edge and then all you’re doing is just cutting that one side. Flip it around, make sure the bottom of your dresden is on the edge of that. And you just keep cutting these. So you’re going to, going to flip them, just keep flipping them like that and cut all of your strip sets.

So it’s going to give you pieces like this and you want to mix all of these up so that we have, you know, really a good mixture of, of blades. So that when you’re ready to sew them together they’re just all mixed up. So I have some over here. I want to make sure I have enough so that it will, it will actually show the patch worky effect. I do have some, ok.

So with a dresden, to make the dresden so that it peaks anytime you have a straight edge like this if you fold it together like this and sew straight across the top, that’s going to make the top of your template peak. The top of your, your wedge, right here your dresden wedge. It’s going to make that peak. So let’s go to the sewing machine and sew that together. I’m going to fold this right in half like this. I don’t need a pin because I’m just going to sew a quarter of an inch right along the top. I’m going to take these pieces as well because this is a great time, once you get all your pieces cut out, this is a great way to really to just sail across the top of these and chain piece them. So I’m going to, hang on a minute. I have a, I was trying out a different stitch and I still had that on my machine. Alright so here we go. We’re ready with our nice straight stitch. And we’re going to sew that. Now the next one I’m just going to fold it in half and slide it under those feet like this and sew straight across the top. And I’m going to keep doing this with my whole pile of dresdens. This is a great way to get all your blades done as quick as you can. I mean it’s a pretty, pretty fast way to do them. You’ll end up with a whole line of these things, you know, hanging off. You’ll have a big long line. Then what you’re going to do is you’re going to cut them apart and we’re going to flip them. Now right here, I want you to watch this carefully. What I try to do is I try to lay this to the side and then push it back with my finger. And it makes this perfect little point. See how that happens. So we’re going to do the same thing over here. Now if you have any trouble with this point at all you can trim that little corner fabric off, easy as that. It’s not going to matter. I just kind of push mine to the side like that and flip it back through. Just like that. Then you’re going to, you’re going to come over and you’re going to press those little points. We want to make sure those lay down really nice. And so you’re going to line it up in the center. Make sure your seam is centered. And you can eyeball that. So you have this one and then you have this one. Now you’ll remember that these two, these two pieces came from the same strip but they’re different. See how they’ve checker boarded. Because I cut one, you know, as we’re cutting along, I cut one this way and then one this way. Different fabrics are on the top of each one so they’re going to checkerboard and, and be really fun.

So I found a light and a dark. I’m going to put them together. We want to start with sewing sets of two. What you’re going to do is you’re going to watch this edge up here. We don’t care what’s happening down here because the circle is going to cover that. But what you want to do is you want to line up these corners. Make sure these corners line up really nice. And then we’re just going to sew down the side. And so we want to do that. So here we go. And I am going to just start right here at the edge and sew a quarter of an inch. And I’m going to sew twos, a whole bunch of these together in twos. Two, two, two like that because I’m an assembly line sewer. I like to make my, I like to do all of the same thing over and over again. Because I tend to get a little lost in what I’m doing, it helps me so that I don’t, you know I do the same thing. I kind of do the same thing right a hundred times or I do it wrong a hundred times. And with any luck I do it right. So here’s our twos. And then we’re going to sew two sets of twos together to make four. So I’m going to press this open right here. There we go. So there’s two sets of twos. Here’s another set of twos I have together. And we’re going to sew those together to make four. And so it’s basically the same thing. Now right here, see how this one is a little bit lower than this one where the seam is, this is the part you want to match. So if you need to like roll this corner back a little bit to make sure that your edges line up. You’ll want to do that. So we’re going to line them up on here and make sure those line up really nice. And see right here, so if I line up the seam this guy is going to stick out a little bit so I just want to kind of curve him under because that’s just a pressing error. And then make sure that fits. So then we’re going to do sew right down the side of that, quarter of an inch.

Once you get your fours, you’re going to start putting your, your, your big giant dresden together. So now I’ve pressed that. And you’ll sew sets of four. And you’ll sew five sets of four to make 20. So I have one here that’s almost done except for my last set. And then we’re just going to stick one of these in here like this. Make sure it kind of lines up dark lightish. And we’ll sew both sides here. And we’ll do the same thing a quarter of an inch straight down watching, watching that top edge. And then while I’m right here, I’m just going to bring it together here and do the last seam to make this all come together in a big full plate. It takes 20 blades to make a plate. So you’re going to need to make sure you sew 20 together. And that will make your nice big full dresden. Alright now you’re ready to press it open which we’re going to go over here and do. Just like this. And I kind of press as I go around. And you just kind of want to gently, you know, ease that in and make sure that circle lays down really nice. And you’re going to get your plate like this. Once, now it’s time to put it on, you’re going to put it on your background square.

The background square is 22 inch square. Let me check that to make sure. Yep 22 inches. And what I like to do with my square is I like to fold it in half like this and fold it in half again. And then iron those lines. I’m going to iron these lines and these lines. And that’s going to give me a way to line up my dresden. So now I’m going to open my square and it’s going to have those big ironed lines. So now I can center my plate on there like this. And I make sure that the, the lines come right in here between these blades. They come in here between these. There’s my circle is fairly uniform. It looks like a need to go this way just a hair. Just like that. And it looks pretty centered. And what we’re looking for on this is pretty good not perfect. You know we like to put it together. So then I’m going to put some pins in here. And I actually like to pin about every other one.

Ok so now we have to do the circle. And there’s lots of ways to do circles. Here’s a really easy way. What we’re going to is we’re going to take our circle and you decide on what size it is. And you’re going to cut that size out of your fabric. Now we used the same circle for all of our centers and it’s the same as the border. So right here you can see the circles are all the same and it matches this border fabric. So the amount of fabric I gave you for the border is the exact right amount for the border and includes the circles as well. So you’re going to make a circle out of fabric and a circle out of interfacing. This is a very light interfacing. We’re going to put them right sides together. That means the bumps to the inside of that fabric. Because what we’re going to do is we are going to sew all the way around this a quarter of an inch. And then we’re going to slit this and open it up and then we’ll be able to just iron that on the center of our square. So let’s go ahead and sew this a quarter of an inch. And I’ll show you how that works.

So now what we’re going to do is we are going to pull these apart like this. And you can take a scissor or your rotary cutter and I’m just going to cut a little divot out of here. And that’s going to give me an opening so then I’m going to be able to turn my whole little circle. Which I’m going to do really quickly. Just like that. I kind of run my finger around the inside of that seam. And because I put the bumps toward the right side on the fabric then those bumps are now in the perfect spot to be able to iron this on. Make sure your circle is pretty good and round. And then we’re going to add it to the center of our dresden. Just like this. Alright when you’re ready to add it to the center we’re going to go, we’re going to go over here and put this on here. This is going to, because the, our interfacing has the little glue bumps on it this is going to permanently attach it so make sure it’s where you want it. And make sure it’s on there just right before you press it with the iron. So then we’re going to press it down. And just let it sit for a second to let that glue attach itself. And look at that. This is it. You’ve got your perfect beautiful dresden. All you’re going to do now is stitch it on. You can do that with the sewing machine. I like to use a blanket stitch.
I have one that is already blanket stitched right here. And you can see. See how beautiful that looks, that little stitch right there. That’s just a little blanket stitch. And it just goes together so quickly and so easily. You never thought making a dresden like this would be so easy, did you? So let’s take a look at this quilt behind us. We are basically sewing these big squares together. So these giant 22 inch squares. Here’s our seam right here. We’re just going to sew those together. We’ve got three rows of three. That makes a quilt that’s about 80 by 80. And so we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Checkered Dresden from the MSQC.  

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  • my2loveboys

    Thank you Jenny. I think this is one of the most awesome tutorials you’ve done. I love the easy ones that look like they are so hard to do! You make everything seem so easy, and you explain everything perfectly. This is one I can’t wait to do. Thank you again.

  • Louise Dornewass

    Once again Jenny , you have inspired me! I started my Dresden quilt this past weekend and I must say , it is an obsession I can live with! I used Lizzie Legacy II Jelly Roll and its lovely! Thank you for sharing your talent.