Dresden Plate mini tute

January 19, 2012

Because I don't think a girl can have too many Dresden plate rulers, I bought a new one a few months ago, but with the holidays, didn't get the chance to play with it. 

My kitchen table needed a new table topper to go with my kitchen's new look. That's where my new ruler comes in. =) Then I thought, "Why not do a mini tutorial while I am at it?"Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? 

Here is how the ruler works. It's really very simple. =) 

This ruler makes 12 fan blades per plate. I want 4 plates for my table topper when I'm finished, so I chose 12 different fabrics and will cut 4 blades from each of the 12 fabrics. As you can see, you can make your fabric strips anywhere from 1" to 8 1/2" with this ruler. I chose to  make mine 8" and cut my fabric in 8 " strips. I usually cut up to 4 layers of fabric when cutting the blades. 

 Line up your ruler on your fabric and cut on both sides of the ruler. The piece on the left is a scrap piece. This is the only time you need to cut your fabric on two sides of the ruler. After the first cuts, you simply rotate the ruler and cut again. Over and over until you have as many pieces as you need. There is very little fabric waste, which is so nice. 

After your fabric is all cut into your fan blades, take your fabric and fold the wider part of the blade in half, right sides together, using 1/4" seam, 

 chain piece your blades. I have found using a small stitch length keeps them from coming apart at the ends after you cut them apart from the chain. On my sewing machine, I use the 1.5 setting. My normal piecing setting is 2.5, if that helps. 

After they are all sewn, cut the threads that are holding them together. On each of the fans, cut the corner on the fold, being very careful not to cut the thread. 

I put my thumb up in the inside of the fan  and use my index finger to finger press the seam open

and then I flip the blade right side out. It's kind of hard to explain, but once you have the blade in your hand, you will understand. If not, please ask for clarification. 

I didn't take a picture of this next part, but what you will need is something to stick up inside the point to get it is all nice and pointy. A chop stick is what I like to use. That seam is going to go in the center (I just eye ball it) on the back side of the fan blade. Give your fan blade a good press.  

It looks like a tie, doesn't it? 

 Once they are all complete, it's time to make the plates. I like to lay out my fabric in a circle for this part. 

Taking two blades and putting them right sides together, making sure they are lined up nicely at the top. The bottom part of the blades will be covered with a circle so that part of the blade doesn't have to be perfect. 

It's important to back stitch at the top to lock the top of the blades together. I also chain piece at this point, always back stitching at the top of each blade. 

Cut them apart, open and lay them right sides together 

and sew until they are all sewn together. Time to press all the seams open. I am pretty free with the starch during this part. 

See how easy that was? 

Now its time to cover the center of your Dresden plate. There are many ways to make circles. This is just how I like to do it. There is no right or wrong way. =) 

I use cereal boxes for templates. I cut out a circle and cover it with foil. The foil gets hot and helps with the pressing, but it can also burn your fingers, so be careful. 

I cut the fabric larger than the template. As you can see, it's not exact at all. 

Its kind of hard to see, but I put tiny snips all around the circle to help get it to fold around the template. This is the time when starch is your friend. I starch these babies like crazy! 

I nudge the fabric with the iron all around the circle. If I don't like how it looks, I starch and press it all over again. 

The finished circle. 

I use washable fabric glue to hold the circle in place on the Dresden plate until it gets sewn on the block. 

I press it with the iron to dry the glue. And now you are done!

Another idea is to make a small Dresden plate to use as the center. 

My new table topper! 

Tutorials are not easy to write, so my hat is off to all the bloggers out there that do it well and have taught me so much!


  1. Hi Amy, I'm bookmarking your tute just in case I want to try this one day. I've never made a dresden plate block but seems like that ruler is a real necessity! Your table topper looks beautiful.

  2. I love the idea of a mini dresden as the center! Do you just topstitch around the petals & center onto a large block? I've only done one for a pillow & I used a satin stitch along the edges but it took forever & changes the look. Your tabletopper is so cheerful with the red background. I love it!

  3. Thanks for the tutorial!!!
    Very useful and I appreciate the time it took you to make it!
    Your Dresden table topper turned out lovely...I also like the small one in the centre!
    I have an EZ Dresden ruler on order and can't wait to try my hand at these little cuties!
    I'll definitely use your tutorial for guidance!

  4. Oh wow. That is so cute. :0)

  5. It's sew pretty!Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. ...and a very well done tutorial it is, Amy! Pretty fabrics and plenty of pictures make it a breeze to follow. Your table topper is being coveted as I type (forgive me, Lord!)

  7. Beautiful! I love the design and the tutorial. What a lot of patience you must have! But I'm sure the reward is in looking at the finished product, as it is with most things we've worked hard to accomplish. So pretty.

  8. Thanks so much for the wonderful tutorial! You did a great job! I love the table topper... the design... colors... all of it!!! Have a Nice Day! :)

  9. I LOVE the dresden with mini dresden in the middle!!! SO cute!! I would never have thought of doing that myself ... but it is on my "to try" list now, lol! ... I have only ever made a 'mini' dresden so far and hope to make a scrappy plate in the near future ... and a full queen size quilt with dresdens all over, so thankyou for refreshing my memory on how to make these lovely pieces ... Your table topper looks gorgeous too sweetie!!!

  10. this was great...makes me want to make a dresden......but please please tell me how i can make that tiny baby one. it is so cute!!!

  11. I have always loved your Dresden plates. Thanks for the tutorial. I am going to try them, now that I know starch is my friend.

  12. Wonderful tutorial. I have a large dresden plate template, kinda like yours. Sew easy to use. I like the idea of using a small dresden plate to be the center of the large dresden plate.

  13. You did a great job on that tutorial!
    I finally attempted my first DP block a week ago, but DD#2 could use the info, so I'll see if I can convince her to check it out.
    I think that the tiny Dresden in the center is more than I can handle at this point, but it's a great solution to covering up that hole!
    Thanks for the tutorial!

  14. Love your table topper Amy (and that small Dresden is just too cute!!!) Great easy-to-follow tutorial..thanks for sharing!!!

  15. Just gorgeous!! You did a great job on your tutorial, makes me think I can make it :)

  16. Well done! I've looked for tutorials for dresdens for awhile and yours is the first one that actually told me how, step by ste. Thanks for sharing your gifts. :)

    1. You are very welcome. I'm glad it was helpful to you. =)

  17. What a spectacular tutorial! I've been looking for a "chunkier" style dresden acrylic template like the one you used. The 16-20 blade dresden seems to skinny to me. I love everything about your topper from the fabric selections to the proportions. I've been looking online for this Creative Grid ruler, but it looks like it's a UK focused product. Where did you get yours, if I may ask? Thank you for such a well executed tutorial. It's one of the best I've seen!

  18. Thank you so much!! I'm glad this tutorial is helpful, and I agree, sometime a "chunkier" Dresden is needed, especially with fabric that have larger prints. =)

    I found my ruler at a local quilt shop, but a quick Google of "color wheel ruler" or something along those lines, will help you to find one to order.

    Here is one place I found where you can order one.


    Happy Sewing!!

  19. very cute! great tutorial, very easy to understand. I cant wait to try this. I was wondering if that is a particular fabric line that you used or just random fabrics. If its a line would you mind sharing the name?
    Thanks, Michelle

  20. Beautiful. Best tutorial I've seen for Dresden Plates. Inspirational. I look forward to creating with your tutorial. Thank you.


  21. Thanks for the great tutorial!
    I started my first one yesterday...cut wrong...started again....sewed the wrong edge to make points...didn't realize until sewing them together...then I "remembered" to look in my notebook as to who had a tutorial on this...you have the best one!!!!
    My size is now going to be 3" because I cut down my bigger mistake!
    The fabric is probably going to be facing the wrong way too!
    Somehow I'm still happy go lucky!
    Thanks for the great tutorial...it means a lot that you took the time to do this!

  22. Thank you so much for your tutorial. I have never made a Dresden, but think my table needs a topper too! Since it is a rather small table I think maybe one large dresden with another smaller in the center will do. I can't wait to try it!


    P.S. Great job on the tutorial....

    lindapawlak at verizon dot net

  23. So cute and fresh! I think I just might make a Dresden Plate topper TODAY. This is my new committment: make what I learn!

  24. so cute! what template do you use for the tiny dresden in the mmiddle?
    I have tried to make one and just can't come up with a formula.

  25. i'm working on some dresdens.... i've put together 22 of them and have HUGE plate...with a HUGE hole... looks good, and i like it (will use it somewhere) but how do you make smaller plates, and smaller holes??
    love your blog....


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