Dresden Sunburst Quilt Tutorial

sunburst block

Jenny brings us the Dresden Sunburst Quilt Tutorial, where she teaches us how to make a quick and easy Dresden Sunburst Quilt using 10 inch squares of precut fabric, the Layer Cake Dresden Plate Template, the Small Simple Wedge Charm Pack Template, and yardage.

Find all the materials and details here: http://land.missouriquiltco.com/dresden-sunburst/

Video Transcript (Downloadable PDF):

Hi! It’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, and I guess I need to up my game. Did you

guys see that darling video that my grandson did on this quilt behind me? Oh, it’s so cute. If you

want to see it, there’s a link below, but he is just adorable.

Anyway, I want to show you how to make this quilt. Let’s take a look at it. So, this is the

Sunburst Dresden quilt and it’s just beautiful and so simple. I love how big they are. I love the

sunbursts. And it’s just a technique you’ll be able to use in a lot of things. So to make this quilt,

what you’re going to need is one packet of 10 inch pre­cuts. We’ve used “Lime Twist” by the

Henley Studio for Makeover Fabric. I mean…it’s… you can see by the lime behind me, it’s


We have used about 3/4 of a yard for our Sunburst Middles and the little pokey, pointy things

that stick out, and then this first border is about 3/4 of a yard of background fabric. For the piece

that you set your Dresden on, you can do two things: First, you can buy regular yardage. It’s

going to take you about 3 yards because these are like 27 inch squares. However big your plate

ends up, you want to measure 2 more inches bigger than the plate is. So that, you know, if your

plate ends up 25″ you’re going to want it 27″ block. So that’s a big block of fabric and it’s going

to take about 3 yards of regular fabric. I actually used backing fabric. Now, backing fabric is 108″

wide, and so I only needed a yard and a half of that to make my big blocks out of that. And I felt

like it used, it was a little more efficient. But you guys can do whatever you want. The other

things you’re going to need: you’re going to need a Dresden tool. We also use the small, simple

wedge for our little rays of the sun in the middle. And then, just the normal, regular things. So,

let me show you how we do this!

So I want to show you how to make this quilt from start to finish. You’re going to need to make a

lot of Dresden blades. There’s 20 in each plate so we’re going to have 80 of those. I have

several videos on Dresdens and, you know, they’re just really fun to look at. You guys know I’m

a little obsessed with the Dresden plate! And there’s just all kinds of things you can do with

them, and this is just another fun idea.

So, one of my favorite things about this is that our ruler goes actually from top to bottom, so

there’s very little waste. So on this, on this 10 inch square you can get 3 cuts. So, let me show

you how we do that. We’re just going to go ahead and we’re going to cut up one side, and if you

have a nice rotary mat, you can flip it or just turn it like I did. And then we’re going to go down

the other side. And you’ve got your, your blade. And you’re going to need 20 of those for each

plate. So here’s our blade. And to make this Dresden, it’s so easy. What you’re going to do is,

you’re going to fold this straight in half­­like this. So, right sides together, straight in half. And

you’re going to sew right across the top. So let’s go to the sewing machine and do that.

Alright, stitching down the middle. And you do a quarter of an inch, right across the top. Now

you’re going to…what I would suggest doing is going ahead and cutting out all your blades and

then just sewing them one after another after another. I like that assembly line kind of sewing

because then when you’re ready to get into the meat of the project everything’s done. So now

what we’re going to do, is we’re going to take this blade and we’re going to flip it. Now I kind of

like to… You can trim off this corner but it’s just as easy to kind of fold it over with your finger

and push it through. It makes a nice, clean point . And then we’re going to press that down. And

just put it down. You want your seam to line up on the middle of the Dresden. And you want it to

lay nice and flat like that. Now what you’re going to do is, you’re going to set those aside

because now we have to make the sunbursts…the part that makes the sunbursts.

And to do that, we’ve used the simple wedge tool right here. And…we just need to cut out a row

of these. And you’re going to…you’re also going to need 20 of these for each plate. And so as

we cut them out you’re just going, you’re just going to rotate them . You can lay them, set them

on the bottom edge of your fabric like this. And so you’ll cut one here and the next one will line

up right alongside it. So you only have to cut one side after you cut that first one. So let me

show you how we did that. And I think, yeah, my fabric isn’t quite even, so you need a nice

straight edge to start with. Let’s start that.

Alright, now we have a straight edge. And we’re going to lay our little template on here, like this.

And we’re going to cut up one side and down the other. And then we’re going to come and we’re

going to lay this template right here by the line. You can see it lays right up on that line so now

we’re only cutting, we’re only cutting that one side and across here and if you cut out your strips

so it’s exactly the size of your, your simple wedge, then you, you don’t even have to cut across

the top. So very quickly, you’re going to get lots of these little, little triangles. And it just goes

together really quick.

Alright, so now that you have your little wedges, this is going to make your sunburst. And what

we’re going to do with these is we’re going to go to the ironing board, and we’re going to fold

them right in half, like this. Now one of fun things about these solids is that there really is no

front or back so we’re just going to iron them in half. And we’re going to do that just to all of

them. I’m going to do it to a few here just to show you how it goes. There we go. Alright, so now

you can see these are like folded right in half and ironed in half. Now we’re going to show you

how to make the sunbursts.

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to start sewing our Dresdens together but they’re going

to be sewn together in two’s. And we’re going to lay this wedge right here on our blade so the

bottom of our wedge goes right here and the point goes right along the edge of the Dresden so

you can see how that looks. It goes right along there. We’re going to catch that in our quarter

inch seam. So what we’re going to do then is we’re going to lay our next Dresden on top like

this. And we just probably ought to stick a pin in here so that nothing moves. And then we’ll

head to our sewing machine.

Now, you want to start from the top up here because this is what …we’re worried about this

looking good. Down here in the bottom that’s going to be covered with a circle so we don’t worry

about that too much. So right here we’re going to come and we’re going to do a quarter of an

inch all the way down making sure that our little wedge here gets caught in that quarter inch

seam. So let’s head over to the sewing machine and do that.

Alright, now I’m just going to peek in here and check and make sure that it’s still in there, pull my

pin out. So then what you get is a piece like this, where that little wedge is just stuck right in

there. We’re going to go ahead and iron this open. And then you just keep doing that and

making, you know, sewing two’s and two’s together and adding it to your circle.

So right here I have one that’s almost done. And as it gets big like this, see these two last ones

are going to go right in here like that. But you can see I still need to put my wedge in here and

over here. So I’m going to lay my wedge in here like this. And I’m going to take my little set of

two’s, and to make this one, I just did two’s, two’s, two’s. Then I put my wedge in there and did

four’s, four’s, four’s. You know you just, you just want to get 20 in a plate. So now we’re just

going to stick this in here like this, make sure it lines up, lay our piece that we’re trying to sew on

top on top of that, put a little pin in there to hold it, and then we can head over to the sewing

machine and stitch that down.

Alright, here’s this one side. And I’m just going to peek to make sure that the top of my wedge is

still in the seam. And pull this pin out. I don’t want to sew over that. And then we just have to

add one more set to finish it up. I mean, one more wedge in here, so we’re almost ready to

close our circle . So here’s our last little wedge. Let me press this so it lays down a little bit

better. I think it got pressed when the iron wasn’t very hot. Alright, so then we’re going to lay this

in here just, just like we did every other time. We’re going to fold this over. We’re going to lay

this one on here, making sure that this one doesn’t get caught in the seam. So, you want to

make sure that only, the only blade that’s in there is the blade you want to be in there. Because

otherwise you’re going to have to do a little rippin’! And that’s not our favorite.

Alright, so then we’re just going to sew this down again…like this. And take my pin out. There

we go. And now we have a plate. So let me move this stuff out of the way. We’ll open it up and

you can see, there’s our plate. Now, what we want to do is, we want to press all of our wedges

going the same direction. So, to do that, I like to press from the top so I can see which way

they’re going. And you just press them down like this. And then I just move out to the outside to

make sure that everything lays down nice and flat. And so, there you have it­­your finished

plate. This is your finished Dresden plate right here.

And so now we need to add it to the background square. And what I do with my background

square, this one I’ve cut out already and it’s 2 inches bigger than my plate, I’m going to fold it in

fourths, like this. And I’m going to find the center. And to find the center right here, I’m just going

to iron, put my iron on the edge of it. So it’s going to make a little criss­cross in the center and I

know that that’s where my blade is going to lay. Alright, so we’re going to put this on here like

this. And you can see that little folded crease right there. I’m going to center that up right there.

Now I need to make sure that this doesn’t move. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to go

ahead and put some pins in here. You can also slide some scraps of heat and bond under here

and just iron it on and stitch it down that way. It is a really good idea to make sure it’s adhered

on here really good. As these plates get bigger, you know, they tend to shift a little more so you

want to make sure that there’s no movement in them or you won’t have a nice, flat blade.

So now we’re going to talk about the circle in the center. That’s this one right here. And you

want to make sure that you find a circle that’s large enough to cover your points. When you put

your plate down, you’ll see that these little points on the edge of the wedge, they come up a little

bit, so you want to make sure that your circle is big enough to cover those, because you want to

cover all your raw edges. So, what I do is, I go around my house until I find just the right size

object and I trace it onto my fabric. I have it traced. I have two pieces cut out here. The tracing

line becomes my sew line, so I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to…I mean my cutting

doesn’t have be perfect. My circle should be perfect but not the cutting. So now I’m going to go

over to the sewing machine and sew on the sew line­­completely enclose it. And then we’ll flip it

right side out.

So let me show you how we do this. We’re just going to sew on this line right here. This makes

this… these are a really clean way to do any kind of applique. It’s just a turn method. There we

go. Alright, so now I have my two circles, right sides together, sewn together. I’m going to trim

up this edge a little bit so I don’t have so much bulk inside. And then, there we go. And then

we’re just going to flip it right­side­out. And to do that, we’ve just got to pull these pieces apart

like this. We’re going to cut a little, make a little cut in one side, and then cut us a slit so we can

turn it. And then we’re going to, I’m going to run my finger right along the seam so I get all those

little folds out of there. And we’ll come over here and we’ll press it down so we have a nice, flat

circle. Make sure all your little folds are pulled out of the edges. You don’t want, you want it to

be nice and round, not angular.

Alright, so then you have your circle for the middle of your Dresden. And we want to stick it on

there. So one of the things I like to do is I just take a piece of heat and bond, a little scrap like

this. And it doesn’t have to be round or anything because we’re just trying to get it to hold on. So

we’re going to put that on the back of our circle. Make sure the nubby sides are down. Iron a

little piece on there. I’d rather use heat and bond than pins any day. I just like it. And since I’m

not hand quilting… Oops, I need to iron a little more. Since I’m not hand quilting, it doesn’t

matter if it gets another layer in there. Alright, let this cool a minute (I always get in such a rush).

And then we can pull it up. It’s very hot! Alright, here we go. There it is…perfect! Then you can

see this shiny stuff on here; that’s the stuff that kind of glues it down. So then what we’re going

to do is we’re going to slide this over to the board very carefully. Make sure all of our edges are

still covered in here. And we’re just going to set the iron on there and let that heat and bond do

its job and stick down.

And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a blanket stitch around the center of the

circle and around the edge of this big Dresden plate. So, no handwork on this. It’s all a blanket

stitch from the sewing machine. The blanket stitch is the little stitch that you’ll see that goes

along and it goes chick­chick­chick and then one up. It just reaches over to take, to grab that

fabric. And so it’s a great, little one. You could use a zig­zag or anything that you’d like on here.

So carefully move your thing over here. I’m going to set my stitch up on here, make sure it’s the

right one. And you probably, I have done this so I know what’s going to happen but you

probably want to test your stitch to make sure that your stitch is going to look like what you want

like what you want it to. I hope you can see how this is looking as I go around here. Sewing the

center first will anchor your Dresden, your plate onto your fabric. Make sure your blades stay

laying down. And your little, your little wedges stay laying down too­­your sunbursts. And as

quick as that, your little circle is down.

So now we’re going to do the edges. Let me go ahead and cut this thread. So on these points,

when you go on these points, it requires a lot of turning because once you get to the point out

here, you want to make sure your needle is down, and then you’re going to turn down and go

the other direction. This is where it’s super helpful to have pinned your Dresden on really well

because you don’t want that moving. So you want to make sure your needle’s down and then

you turn and you’re going to go ahead and sew the entire thing on there. And, just keep going. If

you have a needle down, this is a great place to use it.

So now what you’ve done is you’ve sewed around the middle edge, you’ve sewn all the way

around the outside edge of your Dresden and, if you don’t like the blanket stitch, use a zig­zag.

Use one of your other fancy stitches. You can even straight edge it if you want. You can actually

hand sew it down. So don’t be afraid to try some different things. But once you’ve finished this

one, you’re going to do that three more times. Then what you’re going to do is you’re going to

sew these great big blocks, here’s our big block right here. You’re going to sew those great big

blocks together. And you’re going to make like a giant four patch. You’re going to put your first

inch and a half border on and that border is included in the fabric that you have for the circles

and the starbursts. And so that’s about 3⁄4 of a yard. Your outer border is about a 6­inch border.

We went for a pretty big border. And that’s about a yard and a half. And you’ll end up with a quilt

that is 62”x62”. It’s just a gorgeous quilt. And an awesome way to make a sunburst Dresden. So

we hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • Debbie Seibel

    I was wondering how when you finish the starburst blades on the Dresden Sunburst? Is that step part of the quilting of the quilt?

    • BlueViolets

      I don’t believe it is. If you look behind the picture of Jenny you can see the quilt is quilted after assembling all the Dresden Plate squares. Hope that made sense.

      • Debbie Seibel

        Thank you!

  • gmw21064

    The directions are for a layer cake (less 2 squares) for four Dresden Plates…By following these directions I was able to cut enough “blades” for six plates. I think I would have liked to have known in advance that I didn’t need to cut all the squares, as I may have had enough fabric to make a scrappy border! But no harm, no foul! Jenny does a great job and I’m excited to almost have all my Dresden Plates complete…and with a “sunburst center”!!
    TIP: I found it way easier to start sewing the blades (anchoring stitches to quote Jenny) and then stop about halfway down, insert the (sunburst piece) and then continue sewing to the bottom edge! I found this so much easier and way faster than pinning!

    I know we are invited to share our projects with MSQC, but I haven’t seen exactly where or how to do that…

    • Gladys

      So how many squares did you actually need for the four.

      • gmw21064

        If memory and a little quick math serves me correctly…it takes 27 squares from the layer cake. Each square yields three blades, so you’d end up with 81 blades. Each Dresden Plate requires 20 blades, so you’d have a spare…Hope this answers your question. Will watch for you to post a picture of your project!

  • gmw21064

    So excited…I should finish piecing my last Dresden Plate this afternoon and then I’ll try my hand at the machine applique process! Really do love this pattern and of course, like most quilters, my mind is exploding with additional color options for this particular pattern.

    • BlueViolets

      Truly lovely. And my very favorite colors. My middle name is Violet so you can guess why.

      • gmw21064

        Thank you BlueViolets for sharing! I changed my background fabric to a lite shade of purple and it looks even better!

    • Wendi MSQC

      Wow that looks amazing!

      • gmw21064

        Thank you, Wendi!

  • Adriana Janis

    I’m looking for the easy tote tutorial that played on fb approximately 3 weeks ago.

    • Wendi MSQC

      Hi here is a link to the crafty Gemini tote made with Jenny. I hope this helps.



      • Holly

        Hi Jenny. Quick question, I made a “sample” block and liked it so much I framed it and hung it up. I’m now making the real deal and for some reason when I’m machine appliqueing my plates down, my machine continues to jam at all of the points? It seems like there’s too much fabric but I’m confused b/c it didn’t happen to me when I was making my sample block. Help – I’m getting discouraged but would love to finish this quilt! Thank you.

        • Holly

          My apologies – I’m making the dressden sunburst quilt….

  • Agnes Collins

    Where can you fine the ruller for the sunburst quilt.

  • Pattie

    How much backing fabric (108″) is needed for the back of the quilt not counting the binding?

  • gmw21064

    Completed Dresden Plate wall hanging! I used some of the left over pieces from the layer cake to make a scrappy border and lightly quilted it. I’m happy to report, it was sold before I had it completed! Really enjoyed doing these Dresden Plates, and probably wouldn’t have attempted them before viewing Jenny’s online tut!

    • Wendi MSQC

      Wow that loos amazing! I Adore your border! Thank you for sharing that with us.

  • Rosalee

    Jenny, I have a question. Is it possible to make this using charms instead of layer cakes? What about the center–would I still use the small simple wedge? Thank you for getting back with me on this! You are the very best!! Rosalee