Dresden Plate Quilt Tutorial – Beginner


Welcome to the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s beginner block series. Today, we have a really special treat for you. We’re going to do a tutorial on the Dresden Plate. This is a new ruler, as seen here. And as seen here, it’s called “Easy Dresden,” by Darlene Zimmerman – really a fun Dresden. Never in my life did I dream I’d do a Dresden Plate, but here’s the proof right here! This is a really fun block, so let’s get started.

First, we’re going to use a charm pack because everything blends, as you know, and everything goes together. This is a Hello Betty charm pack. It is a lot bigger than most charm packs. The line of fabrics has 60 fabrics in it and so there are 60 squares in here. You need 20 blades to make a Dresden, and out of each 5-inch square you can make two blades, and I’ll show you how. So follow me to the mat and we’ll cut these charm squares into blades.

So we put our 5 inches – because the charm pack square is 5 inches tall – and we put out ruler right on the 5 inch line and we cut around here. And we’re going to flip our ruler and we’re going to do one more blade, so you can get two blades from one square. And what you end up with is this right here.

So now we have this little Dresden Plate blade, and you’ll need 20 of these. What you’re going to do – and this is the magical part – you’re going to fold this over onto itself and you’re going to stich straight across here. So what you end up with is this right here. Now this is hand-stitched, but if you chain them together on the sewing machine, I’m telling you, you can whip these out like crazy.

Then we’re going to flip this and – look at this little present! It makes its own casing so there’s no turning under. Then what you’re going to do is attach these together. First, we should press these.

So when you go to press these make sure that this seam is lined up in the middle. Put your iron right down on top and press it. Press both of those. And then when you attach them together you’re just going to line them up like this and sew your ¼-inch seam right along here. What you end up with as you’re putting them together is this. So you see how this is seamed right here at ¼ inch, and it just lays over. You can press the entire thing and you have a lovely Dresden Plate. So we need to add a couple more in here to finish this, and I think we’ll do that right now.

OK, here we are with our pieces right side together and we’re going to place this right under the sewing machine. We’re going to sew from top to bottom, so if there’s any difference in height – which there should be very minimal, if any – will be at the bottom. Alright, so we’re going to sew from this top ½ inch in, straight down. That gives us one more Dresden on our blade, and we need 20, so… let’s see. I believe we need one more. And we have this lovely little pink one we’ll pop in here. Line up your points, sew ¼ inch in, and then we will sew them together to complete the plate, making sure that your right sides are facing each other. We’ll sew our last little seam and there we go.
And we have our complete Dresden Plate except for the center circle, for which I’m going to show you some tricks right now.

OK, we’re going to press this nice and flat, and what I’ve done here is cut a 14-inch square of muslin. You can actually use any square. This will become your block if you’re making a quilt. And I’ve had a couple of other ideas of things to do. If you’re making a long block you can put a stem on here, and wouldn’t this make a darling flower for a wall hanging? You could also put together a table runner, but right now we’re going to concentrate on this middle square.

Inside this Dresden Plate pattern there’s a circle template for the center. Now this is a copy of the circle template that I cut out of the cardboard on the back of the Hello Betty pack. And so that’s really hand to make a little template for.

If by chance this didn’t fit, you could make a template out of a measuring cup or a bowl, as long as it’s something bigger at whatever size you want your circle to be. So let’s make that circle. Come over here.

So for the center square we’ll pick a charm square, and we’re going tio put our cardboard template that we cut out on it. And we’re going to lightly trace a line around it. And when we cut that out we’re going to cut it out just a bit bigger – a quarter of an inch or three-eighths of an inch bigger. And so we cut all around…. There you go. Alright, now we’ve got to get a needle and thread.

Now we’re going to take our needle and thread, and it doesn’t matter what color, because basically what we’re doing is the same running stitch that you’d do if you were going to make a yo-yo. So we’re going around our fabric, around our circle; just that in and out running stitch that’s so familiar, because we’re going to gather it up.

OK, here we are, finishing up. Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to put this cardboard in here. Just slide it in like this. Anytime you need a perfect circle for any type of project or applique you are doing or anything, you can use anything that is round. Now just pull that thread and do you see how it makes that just a perfectly round little square? And now we’ll just take this to the ironing board.

Here we are at the ironing board, and we’re just going to press this. Now, because that’s cardboard we can just press the heck out of this thing. Make it a nice, flat circle and then you’re just going to slide your cardboard out and you can lay that circle right on top of your Dresden, and you have a perfect little center. Isn’t that a nice little trick? You can do that with, uh, I do it when I need to make little circles. I do it on quarters, on nickels, on washers; they make all kinds of little things, but it needs to be something you can heat with that iron. So just press that on there and then it makes just a nice little circle in the center of your Dresden.

OK, so this is just a nice background square that we’re going to attach our Dresden plate to, and to make it fit and accurate what I do is fold my fabric in half and then I fold it in half again; and I just press this corner here so it makes a little “x” in the middle, which you’ll be able to perfectly center your Dresden Plate on. So come over here…

Now we’re going to center up this Dresden Plate. It gives you a good center spot. We’ll put our circle on top and we’re just going to pin this down so that it stays intact so we can stich it on. You’re going to use an applique stitch for this, which is the same type of stitch we use on the binding where you only see the little tip of it.

Because these all have their own facing on them, it makes perfect points and it’s perfect all the way around.

So we come up through the back and right out that fold. Do you see the fold right there? We come right out that fold – and I’m using thread that you can see – and then you go straight down and you come up about ¼ inch later through the fold. And you will do that all the way around. You don’t have to be real careful or real accurate, especially if you’re going to machine quilt on top of that.

So here we go, straight down, and come out right on that fold, right on that edge line. Go straight down and come right out on that fold. Third time’s the charm, right? So you’ll do that all the way around and then you’ll stitch it around here. And what you end up with is a stitch pattern kind of like this. It doesn’t have to be real tight and it doesn’t have to be real careful, but the results are quite impressive.

So there’s your little Dresden Plate!

Here’s an example of a finished Dresden Plate project. This is a table runner or wall hanging with three Dresden Platyes on it. Each one has 20 blades and a center circle. We’ve attached them by hand and then machine quilted over the whole thing to give it this finished, elegant look. It really is a pretty project – perfect for a beginner or intermediate sewer, and perfect for someone who likes to have hand things to do.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Happy Quilting!

posted: All, Basic Skills & Techniques, Beginner Quilting Tutorials, Quilt Charm Packs, Table Runners | tagged: , , , , , , , ,
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  • Mary

    thanks so much for this great video!  I bought the tool and fabric…now ready to begin.  I love all of your videos…you are clear and show details, perfect for beginners. 


    Hi, I bought the tool from you and have almost cut 5oo blades! ,in blues to go on  a white background ,i am hoping to do 25 plates to make up a quilt to mark my 25th wedding aniversary,i love all your videos they are fun and very clear perfect for the beginner.

    • Sarah

      Wow!!  That sounds beautiful!!

  • Tealovergirl

    I love your tutorials, Missouri Star Quilts! You have saved me so many times. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Suzanne 🙂

    • Sarah

      Oh Suzanne!  You are a sweetheart!  Thanks for your sweet comment!  We are so glad to hear that you love the tutorials!  Have a wonderful week!

  • Sheralbrew

    Just wanted to say thanks love your tutorials. I made my first dresden plate it turned out great thanks to you.


    • Sarah

      Awesome!  Great to hear!

  • Sarah

    After watching the tutorial I recently ordered and received the Dresden plate tool from Missouri Star quilt Co. However, it did not include the instructions or the circle template that is shown in your tutorial. How can I get this? I always enjoy watching your tutorials. Thanks.

  • Jess in Maine

    Love it. You do such a wonderful job w/ your tutorials!! Thanks.

    • JenM

      Thanks, Jess! Glad you are enjoying them.

  • marcycn

    My hole in the middle is way too big. What did I do wrong?

    • cindy

      you probably cut your pieces using the wide end of the ruler instead of the narrow end.