Typical characteristics of a Dresden plate or flower are the blades/petal and the centers. We have covered the blades, but what about the centers?
Note, I wrote centers and not circles. In many instances the centers are circles or semi-circles, but that is not the only shape you can use. You can used triangles, squares, or even flowers in the center. Whatever you think will compliment your Dresden in the quilt will work.
For the quilt I am working on, I chose the traditional circle. Circles can be a bit of a challenge if you are intimidated by curves. I chose to think of this as a challenge to improve my curves. After 64 of them, I would hope I improve!
There are multiple ways to roll that circle onto your quilt. I have seen quilters use yo-yos, pieced circles, appliqued circles, etc. I chose the applique method as it seemed to be the easiest method for me. Since I was already piecing the blocks, I decided to use a semi-circle or arc, which would be even easier (until trying to match the circle edges).
The first step was to make a template for my circles. Purple Daisies Quilting had a great tutorial on this. Of course, like every quilter, I put my own spin on it! I cut three 2 1/2″ squares of freezer paper and dry ironed them together. To iron them, place all of the shiny sides down so it won’t stick to your iron. That made a really thick and sort of stiff template. Then, I trimmed it into an arc using a ruler. I was able to reuse the template about 16 times before I had to make a new one – relatively cheap, easy and customizable!
The second step was to cut sixty-four, 3″ square of fabric. The wrong side of a fabric square was ironed to the shiny (or fuzzy side after use) of the template. The shiny side temporarily sticks to the fabric making it easier to manipulate. Then, I trimmed about 3/8″ of the excess fabric from the edge of the template to make a curve. Curves need to be clipped to lay flat, so I clipped the curve about 6 times being careful not to come to close too the template. If you cut too close to the template, the fabric will form a point.
Next, the fun part, I used liquid starch and put a drop on each tab (seam allowance). If you don’t have liquid starch, you can spray some starch or sizing into a cup and paint it onto the tabs. The tabs were carefully folded onto the template and pressed with a dry iron. I was careful to move the iron from the edge of the template inward to keep the arc. Once the piece cooled, I carefully pealed the template off and was left with a beautiful arc!
Once all of my arcs were made, I appliqued them to the center of plate. I tried several techniques: pinning, clipping and gluing basting. Of these, glue basting held the piece in place best for the applique. To glue baste, put a thin bead of Elmer’s washable glue (or whatever washable glue you prefer) around the seam allowance. Position the piece on the Dresden plate and set the glue with a hot, dry iron. When the piece is cool, use your favorite stitch to hold the center in place. I chose the blanket stitch with a thread that would blend in rather than stand out.
Stay tuned for my next post as I put this all together!
Happy Quilting 🙂