Something New: Dresden Plate Piecing WIP

A few months ago, my mom discovered Pinterest. I had already been working on building my boards and pinning anything and everything I found interesting. Slowly but surely, she did the same.

Then something interesting started happening. We have a board together for quilting and anytime I posted something to read later on (I use Pinterest more as a reminder to read things than a place I post realistically), a day or two later I’d find out that my mom had read the same pin and bought all the instruments/fabric needed to create whatever I had shared.

It’s now become a running joke. If I like something, like a fat quarter set, or if I want to try something ,like this Dresden plate pattern from this site, The Stitching Scientist, all I have to do is pin it and BAM! Like Santa delivering gifts in his sleigh, my mom will have it purchased and delivered before I can say “Please”!

Here is the first string of blades. Isn’t this fabric darling? My mom started out with her first Dresden plate using an adorable Riley Blake Design kit for a baby girl. I didn’t even know she was interested in making one when all the sudden I was receiving text messages showing her progress.

Holy smokes was she fast!!!

Before long she had TWO made!

She then began designing a simple wall hanging/lap quilt that will be bordered with the same fabrics as the Dresden plates. The plates will be appliquéd into the corners of a beautiful clean Kona white center piece.

Even her hand turned appliqué on this center circle is perfect! I’m jealous of her handy work and how far it’s come!

As she began the borders, she did find herself in a pickle. The directions in the pattern weren’t as clear as she wanted them to be. Now, in the past, my mom would have allowed this to deter her from finishing. Instead, the growth in her new skills show in her new abilities to work through a problem and solve any issues by stepping outside the box!

So cute! Love this set of fabrics!

Once I saw what she was able to make and how simple she made it sound, I decided to try it out myself. Using the Joyeux Noel set we bought from Moda, I set to work on my first Dresden plate. And she was right!! It was very simple to piece together.

My biggest issue was the hand piecing in the center. It didn’t go together as nicely as I wanted it to look but overall the process is one I’d like to attempt again.

I chose a simple echoing straight stitch from the edge of the Dresden out. It gave it a beautiful star-like look that radiants from the center. It even comes off as a little art deco, an architectural style I adore!

My only problem with the quilting: first, I should have used a red thread in the bobbin. And secondly, I’m still struggling with the back of my quilted projects looking clean. There was a lot of sniping and clean up to be done once I was finished.

I did a simple straight stitch in the plates, around the center piece, and echoing out to the border. Then I framed it all with a simple box around.


Today I picked up some red thread to bind the whole thing together. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, whether I’ll hand stitch or if I’ll do a decorative blanket stitch, but I’m ready to wrap this project up so it can hang proudly on my wall!


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WIP: Joyeux Noel Dresden Plate 

You  know that feeling you get when you are about to cut into some new fabric and you just want to keep them so pretty and perfect but you also want to play with them?

Yeah, this picture sums that up. That tense feeling of “NO! I don’t want to use it, I just want to keep it so I can look at it” mixed with “But I want to play with it too!” It’s definitely a mixed bag of feelings when it comes to cutting into a fat quarter bundle.

Especially one as pretty as the Joyeux Noel kit we added to our stash just last week. It’s drool worthy.

But I didn’t want to keep staring at it and decided to cut into it and attempt my very first Dresden plate. Using four fat quarters from each set of patterns, I cut out my plates using a nifty ruler my mom has. Then I folded each plate, right sides to right sides, along the longer end and sewed the fold together. I chained all 20 of my plates along then snipped them free.

My pile of plates waiting to be snipped.

Now it’s time to press!

Once freed from the chain, my mom taught me how to turn the sewn ends right side out and press down the “dart” so that it came to a crisp point at the tip.

This purple little tool is pretty nifty and helped me get the points nice a sharp.

After everything is pressed and my plates are ready to go, I laid them down and organized them. I had five solid fabrics that I made as my focus points and then placed one of each of the other fabrics in between. That way I felt I had a good mix of colors and patterns.

My final result!! Well, so far! By the time I got the whole circle done, I was mentally drained but very satisfied. So even though my mom sat with me and showed me how to start my center point, I just couldn’t comprehend what she meant for me to do. So I put everything I had done so far aside and promised to come back and finish it once I got some rest and was ready to take on the next step.

Even though I didn’t finish it, I have my center piece picked out and a nice green backing to put it on. I fussy cut the Joyeux Noel piece and plan to appliqué it on the center. This is turning out to be adorable as it is so I may make it into a wall hanging for the Christmas season.

I started this project at 3:00 this afternoon and wrapped up the majority of the sewing by 6:30! So the hardest work was all done within 3 1/2 hours. All I have left is to appliqué it all down then sandwich my finished top, quilt, then bind. My plan is to work with what I have and avoid buying anything new.

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Time For A New Machine

Ladies and gents, it is time.

My Good Ol' Girl

Kenmore-Sears 6 stitch.

I never thought the time would come but it has. It’s time to get a new machine.

My ol’ girl is going to be shelved but never given away. Too much sentimental value to her. But I’ve realized a few things.

First, I received this machine when I was 9 years old. I’m now into my thirties and I’ve never learned how to properly use it. Because of that and 22 years of on-and-off sewing, I know I’m not using the machine to its full potential and I no longer have the guide to it. I think it would take some research to find out how to properly use this machine now that over 20 years have gone by.

Secondly, six stitches people. She has six stitches only and no walking foot. I can buy a walking foot for a model close to this one but I think it’s time to upgrade and get a machine with a little more room to grow. I mean, I’m looking at machines by Brother and Janome that have some 60, 90, over 100 stitches! And they come with the walking foot and have an additional extension board at an extra cost. I like the idea of having something with a little more space to spread my wings.

And thirdly, I’m getting a nice tax return and I’d like to buy something for myself. Why not a new sewing machine? I think a lot of my frustrations came from the lack of options with my good ol’ girl Kenmore and having the availability to do more than just 6 stitches will give me a wider range for my creativity.

So yeah, not that I need to justify my purchase but I like to see my reasons all laid out before. Funny thing is about a year or so ago I had this same thought. I wanted a new machine back in May 2011 and I just never got around to it. And about 2 months later I put away all my sewing projects and quilts for a small break. But now, almost a year later, I’m ready to pick back up again. Ready to put the needle to the fabric and sew.

Now if I could just settle on a machine. I’m leaning towards a Brother PC-420. Main reason: The ratings I’ve read on both blogs and Amazon have been good. Better than good, 5 out of 5 stars good. And while it may have more than I need, it’s within my price range and it gives me that room I’m looking for. You know, to grow and all that jazz.

Now to clean up my craft corner and get myself organized. Once that’s done and I’ve received my tax return, I hope to make the big leap from my good ol’ girl to a new machine.