The pattern chosen is a free download from Quilting Up a Creek and can be found at http://quiltingupacreek.com/freepatterns/dresdenheart.pdf. The directions are fairly general, so having one option broken down into steps could be of benefit to those who have little experience making Dresden plate blocks. This is by no means "The" way to make them, as there are several ways to get to the same result. I took my experience making and teaching appliqued Dresden plates, and have adapted the pattern to my favorite technique using a foundation for the blades. There will be tips included on how to make this block with a stay-in foundation that will wash away to nearly nothing when the quilt is completed and washed.
Other than a variety of scraps in your color choice, a working sewing machine with 1/4" foot or guide, and neutral thread, other supplies you need are:
- Paper scissors to cut out pieces
- Rotary cutter & mat
- Pinking shears
- School Glue Stick (to glue blade templates to the paper master to be copied)
- Tear-away stabilizer, my favorite is Ricky Tims' Stable Stuff, two (2) 8.5x11" sheets
- White glue, my favorite is Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It in the squeezy bottle
A note on these last two items before we jump in...
Ricky Tims' Stable Stuff Polly is an amazing stabilizer that you order directly from Ricky's website. You can trace your designs or it can be run through your inkjet printer, thus reducing the time needed for prep and tracing your pieces. For this project, I made one master sheet and merely need to copy it onto 11 more sheets to make the remaining blocks for my swap. It has enough body to it that you can fold fabric edges around it and glue in place, and when you're done it can be either torn away or left in to become a soft layer of unnoticeable polyester fibers inside your project. For this project, it worked exactly as I had hoped and was so easy to use!
The Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It EZ Squeeze is perfect for any applique project. This glue is 100% water soluble, dries clear, and stays soft in your project until it washes away. The EZ Squeeze bottle has a long tip that allows you to place tiny dots of glue where you want them with little or no mess. This product is available at many quilt shops, online quilting distributors such as Nancy's Notions, and elsewhere.
This tutorial now gives you a series of steps to create a Dresden Heart that will later be appliqued to the background block with the applique technique of your choice. This is the "prep work" steps to making your Dresden Heart.
Start out by printing three copies of the original PDF pattern at actual size--one to keep intact for reference. Cut sets of blades from the other two copies, cutting close to (maybe 1/8"away ) the stitching/solid line. [Tip: Because all lines are straight for the blades, I used my rotary cutter to cut out the pieces--much faster and nice straight lines.] The two sets of blades are arranged on a single sheet of 8.5x11" paper and glued down with a glue stick [think of it as a puzzle without a box].
Trace the heart on the solid stitching line onto another piece of Ricky Tims' Stable Stuff. Cut out the stabilizer heart on the traced line. Lightly glue around the edges of the Stable Stuff heart and place on wrong side of your center fabric choice. Trim the fabric with pinking shears just under 1/4" from the edge, leaving a pinked edge fairly close to the Stable Stuff heart. Clip once at the top center of the heart and, working slowly, fold the pinked edges of the fabric over the Stable Stuff heart, gluing in place and heat setting as you go. This step leaves a finished edge all around the heart.
Place the heart on the Dresden Heart, centering the top and bottom, and lightly glue in place, heat setting to hold in place until you have stitched it down.
You now have the option of hand appliqueing the heart center and Dresden Heart, zigzagging with your machine with invisible or matching thread, or using a blanket stitch or other decorative stitch on your machine to stitch it down. Choose the applique technique you are most comfortable with for your finish.
More snippets from the sewing room soon...