Friday, August 27, 2010


Quilting Patterns - Dresden Plate Quilt

This lovely pattern is pieced and then appliquéd to a 16-1/2 inch square. The pattern can be made with two or four alternating colors or scraps left over from other projects. The block is made on an adjustable hand held square frame. For one block, you will need a 16-1/2 inch square of muslin (top), a 21 inch square of muslin (backing), two 2-1/2 x 16-1/2 and two 2-1/2 x 20-1/2 inch outside stripping, 20 pattern pieces and a 20-1/2 inch square of batting. The finished block measures 20 inches square.

206 Patchwork Quilt Patterns: The Famous Ruby McKim Book Plus A Bonus Of 105 Vintage Patterns.

Trace the pattern given onto lightweight cardboard or plastic. Be sure to add � inch on all sides for seams. Cut 20 pieces, 10 light and 10 dark, or 5 of 4 different fabrics. Using piecing stitch, piece these petals along the side seams, alternating colors, to form a circle. Turn outside edge in � inch and baste, leaving thread ends on top so they can be easily removed after the appliqu�ing is complete. Do the same with the center edge. Fold the 16-1/2 inch muslin square into fourths to find the center of the square. Being sure that the circle is perfectly centered, appliqu� the Dresden Plate circle onto the muslin using the hemming stitch. Add the 16-1/2 inch stripping on 2 opposite sides; the 20-1/2 inch strips on the remaining sides.

With a light pencil, trace the quilting pattern you prefer in the center and corners. The center looks attractive with a crisscross pattern, a monogram or a flower-like design. Quilting patterns can be found in needlework stores or be creative and design your own.

Assembling: Place muslin on frame and pin in the corners pulling taut. Add batting and top. Pin at corners through all three layers. Backing will extend 1/2 inch past top. Then pin in the middles of opposite sides, then the other two sides. As you pin, tug the backing slightly to keep the muslin tight. Continue to pin al the way around the quilt block.

Dresden Plate (Cut 20)

Add 1/4 inch on all sides for seams

Quilting: Using an arm's length of quilting thread and a number 7 or 8 quilting needle, knot the cut end. This will help prevent tangling. Pull the thread from the back and snap the knot through the backing into the batting so no knots show. You will hear the knot snap as it goes through. Be sure it doesn't come all the way through the top too. Using a quilting stitch (running stitch, 6-11 stitches per inch) follow the quilting diagram above, starting with the center and moving to the outside. Try to maintain even stitches. Small stitches are desired.

Finishing: You have now completed one block. This could be used as a pillow top by closing the outside seams, adding the backing of a pillow slip and a pillow form. Or you could use this as the first block of a sampler quilt or make an entire quilt using all Dresden Plate blocks. A twin size bed requires 8 blocks for a top; a double or queen, 12 blocks, a king, 16 blocks.

Sunday Best Quilt

by Darlene Zimmerman


- Easy Dresden

- Bamboo Pointer & Creaser


- 2 1/2 yds. White Background

- 2/3 yd. Blue Solid

Variety of prints (can be fat quarters)

Cutting Directions


White 12 14 1/2" squares

Variety Prints 5" strips 240 Easy Dresden wedges

62 2" x 14 1/2" rectangles

Blue Solid 20 3 1/2" squares

6 2 1/2" wide strips for double binding.

Assembling the Wedges

Fold a wedge in half the long way, right sides together. Sew a 1/4" seam across the top (widest edge) of the wedge on a short stitch setting (to prevent the seam from opening). Clip the corner of the seam by the fold, turn right side out, using the Bamboo Pointer Creaser. Center the seam in the middle of the wedge and press the point of the wedge. Repeat for the other wedges.

To assemble the wedges into circles, half circles or quarter circles, match the long sides of two wedges right sides together. Start sewing 1/4" in from the top of the wedge, backstitch to the edge of the wedge, then stitch forward to the end of the seam. By stitching in this manner you have backstitched the top edge of the wedge, while hiding the thread ends inside the wedge.

Twenty wedges make up a circle, 10 a half circle, 5 a quarter circle. Make one circle, 4 half circles and 4 quarter circles. Press all the seams one direction.

Assembling the Blocks

Crease the background square in half and quarters. This marks the center of all 4 sides. Center the point of every fifth wedge on a crease. Pin and baste in position.

Appliqué in place by hand using a neutral thread that will blend into the fabrics, or set your sewing machine to stitch a small zigzag, and shorten the stitch length slightly. Using a neutral thread or an invisible thread on top, stitch slowly along the very edge of the wedges, catching both the wedge and the background fabric. Another option would be to baste the Dresden Plate in place and simply quilt in the ditch between each wedge later to hold the plate in position.

Using the circle template given in the tool instructions cut a template from cardboard, mylar or freezer paper. If using freezer paper, iron the circle to the wrong side of the blue fabric. Cut out, adding a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Center the circle on the plate and appliqué in place by hand or by using the machine method given above. Remove the freezer paper by slitting the back, or remove it before the last inch is stitched.

If using mylar or cardboard, use the template to draw around on the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out the circle, adding a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance around the edge of the template, then appliqué in place.

Assembling the Quilt

Sew the long edges of two sashing strips together, making a pair. Repeat for the remainder of the sashing strips to make a total of 31 pairs.

Make 4 rows of 3 blocks with 4 sashing strips.

Make 5 horizontal rows of 3 sashing strips and 4 blue corner squares.

Join the rows of blocks and rows of sashing strips.

Finishing the Quilt

Cut batting and backing 4" larger than the top. Baste, then quilt as desired. Bind in blue double binding.

Don't forget to sign and date your quilt!


Top of page


Finished Size 12" x 12"

Download Templates Click here to download a .pdf with templates. (Problems downloading our .pdf? Click here for troubleshooting tips.)

Cutting Instructions listed on Template Diagrams.

Assembly Instructions

Step 1. Layer background and print Template A triangles, right sides together. Sew pieces together (Diagram I); press seam allowance toward print fabric. Make 8.

Diagram I

Step 2. Layer background and print Template B triangles, right sides together. Sew pieces together (Diagram II); press seam allowance toward print fabric. Make 4.

Diagram II

Step 3. Using Diagram III as a guide, assemble Crown units. Make 4.

Diagram III

Step 5. Using Diagram IV as a guide, assemble rows. Sew rows together to make Cross and Crown Block.

Diagram IV


Finished Size 16" x 16"

Download Templates Click here to download a .pdf of the templates. (Problems downloading our .pdf? Click here for troubleshooting tips.)

Cutting Instructions:

Background Print

... 1 square 17" x 17"

Red Print

... 10 Template A

Blue Print #1

... 10 Template A

Blue Print #2

... 1 Template B


Step 1. Referring to Diagram I, stitch together 10 red print Template A fabrics and 10 blue print #1 Template A fabrics, alternating colors, stopping 1/4" from outside curved edge.

Diagram I

Step 2. Finger-press white 17" square in half on both length and width (see Diagram II). Using folds as placement guide, position pieced center and appliqué outer edge in place using appliqué method of choice. Appliqué Blue print #2 Template B fabric to complete Dresden Plate Block. Trim blocks to 16 1/2" square.

Diagram II

Ring of Hearts

Bonus Pattern

Block Size: 15" Finished

Cutting Instructions:


... 1 square 17" x 17" (oversized)

Pink print

... 8 hearts (Template Diagram) PDF format

Block Size: 15" Finished

Piecing the block

Step 1. Referring to Diagrams I and II, fold and finger-press creases in 17" background square.

Diagram I

Diagram II

Step 2. Prepare hearts for appliquéing to background square, using method of choice. Using finger-creased lines as a guide, place first three hearts on background square. Adjust hearts, keeping centers aligned on creased lines, until the edges touch each other (Diagram III). Pin in place and then appliqué to square.

Step 3. Repeat Step 2 for the remaining hearts, aligning two at a time (Diagram IV), rather than three. Trim background fabric to 15 1/2" x 15 1/2" square after all hearts have been appliquéd into place.

Pattern for a Dresden Plate Block Quilt

This Dresden Plate pattern gives you some choices. The basic pattern uses two variations but you are welcome to use just one or the other. On the history page I showed you the curved end or sharp end variations. In this pattern I've combined the two.

Be sure you read The Dresden Plate Quilt Pattern and it's History before starting your quilt. You will find making this quilt will be more meaningful and fun once you know the pattern's background.

Variarions and How to Use the PDF

I've designed a 10 inch block but if you want blocks of another size you can resize the applique templates on a copy machine. You will find the templates at Dresden Plate PDF. It is very important that you set the "page scaling" to "none" before you print the PDF so it will come out the right size!

Applique Methods and Instructions

Use your favorite applique method. If you are fusing the applique cut on the inner template line. All others cut at the outer line so that you will have fabric to turn under. The seam line is set at 1/4 inch but you may prefer to make it narrower.

For hand applique methods the McCall's Quiltmaking Fundamentals is very helpful. I like to use fusing when I machine applique and McCall's Quilting: Fusible Machine Appliqué has a good lesson on this.

Find the center of each block to help you position your applique. There will be a little white space all around the finished block.

Borders Plain and Fancy

In making this quilt, you can adjust the size by how many blocks you use.

In the example shown above I've added a white border to give a little more white space around the edges of the quilt. I've seen this on quilts of the period but in truth they did borders a great many ways. You could even put sashing between the blocks if you wish.

A truly fancy Dresden Plate Quilt would have had an Ice Cream Cone border around it like the one pictured to the left. If you decide to make one you need to be a skilled quilt maker or very brave. The trick is getting the cones to come out even at the corners. Since people will be making different sized quilts I realized there is no way I could make a border pattern to fit for all. But I did put together a template for the cone and the alternate plain triangle. Hopefully it will help get you started. It's on this Ice Cream Cone Border PDF. You could make it bigger or smaller. After you have set the size you want add a 3/4 inch seam. You will probably have to add some plain border to get the right length for the finished cones. It would take some experimenting.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tote Bag


 Here's a fun tote bag project I thunk up (yes, thunk) the other day. Of course there are tons of ways to make a tote bag, but I thought this one was fun and gives you a lot of options no less!

Whether you like things scrappy or streamlined, this bag is ready to go when you are. Take it to the library or to the park, it's big enough for all the essentials.

Ready to make one (or a few?!)


1/2 yard exterior fabric
1/2 yard lining (if you choose to use any)
1/2 yard for straps, or cotton webbing or a handle type you prefer
bias tape - handmade or store bought
thread, sewing machine
water soluble pen
pattern pieces!! {I set it up to print on an 11x17 piece of paper, if you're using letter size you'll have to tell the printer to tile full pages.}

{1/2" seam allowances throughout, unless indicated differently}

Cut and prepare pieces:

Cut two pieces from the main pattern piece out of the exterior fabric. Also cute two pieces of the lining fabric if you're using a lining. You don't have to use a lining the way the bag is constructed, but if you want to use a lighter weight fabric on the exterior, you'll probably want to use a lining.

Cut two pocket pieces. One of which will be the lining of the pocket.

Cut strap pieces: cut two pieces 6" tall by 24-27" long, depending on how long you want your handles to be.

Cut reinforcement pieces: these are on the inside of the bag, they can add a decorative or fun touch if you'd like, cut two pieces 3" tall by 13" wide. Iron one long edge of each piece WRONG sides facing by 1/2"

Make Straps:

Take the long strap pieces, fold in half the long ways, and press. Open up, fold raw edges to the center crease and press.

Fold in half again and press.

Sew down the length of the strap with the first row of stitching at 3/8" and the second line of stitching at about 1/8" on each side of the strap. Repeat for other strap. Set aside.

Make pocket:

Make these as patchworky as you'd like. (And, sorry, I didn't take pictures of making the pocket, let me know if you need help on this.) Place pocket pieces RIGHT sides together, sew using a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around the edge of the pocket, leaving a 2" opening on the bottom side of the pocket piece. Clip corners and turn right side out through the hole you left at the bottom. Press. Topstitch on the TOP edge of the pocket only. I did two rows of stitching about 1/8" and 1/4" from the top. Set aside.

Assemble bag exteriors:

Take your exterior pieces (making sure you've marked the corner darts - those little pizza shaped pieces - on each piece with a water soluble pen) and sew the darts in the corner of each side of the exterior pieces.

Align the two edge dots with fabric RIGHT sides together and stitch along the line to the upper dot of the 'wedge'. Repeat this for both corners for all main bag pieces.

If you're using a lining, take the exterior pieces and place them RIGHT sides together with the lining pieces and pin together. If you're NOT using a lining read on...

Pin the pocket to the front of one exterior piece, making sure it's centered.

Sew pocket onto front of one exterior piece. I used two rows of stitching along the pocket sides and bottom.

Align strap pieces with the raw edges of the top of the bag, spacing them equally from both sides, leaving about 3.5" between the straps (see the tiny little red arrow line above). Be sure not to twist the strap at this point!

Next, align the reinforcement piece with the unfolded edge at the top of the bag.

Pin and sew using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Flip and press so that the WRONG sides are facing.

Topstitch at the top of the bag and again at the bottom of the reinforcement strip. Repeat for other side of bag.

Finishing the bag:

Take both assembled exterior pieces and place them WRONG sides facing (or lining RIGHT sides facing if you chose to do a lining).

Baste along both sides and bottom of bag using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Trim seam allowances to about 1/4" from the basting line of stitches.

Next, take your bias tape and sandwich it along the sides and bottom of the tote and sew into place. Be sure to tuck in the raw edges of the tape by folding them under. Sewing on the bias tape can be a bit tedious, especially with thinner bias tapes (I made my bias tape strip 1.75" wide), but just take your time and go slow, this is the part that will really show the quality of your work!

That's it! Fill it with books, sling it on your shoulder and you're off to the library!

{Just wanted to add that for the patchwork/scrap type bag, I made my own bias tape with scraps as well as some of the strap piece, the pocket, and the reinforcement pieces. The pocket was made using nine 3.5" squares and sewn using a 1/2" seam allowance.}

Terms of use: For personal use only please.



My daughter loves to do art! So I wanted to get her an apron to help protect her clothing.

I couldn't find one I really liked and everything I found was a bit pricey given the fact that I didn't love them.

(Really? $20 for an ugly art apron that will eventually get stained and thanks.)

I picked up a kids size apron at Michael's. It normally was only about $5 but I used a 40% off coupon so it was less then $3. And then I bought an iron on sparkly cupcake, applied it, and voila, a really cute art apron!

The final cost was only about $5. My daughter thinks it is great and wears it when she does art and when she is pretending to cook in her kitchen! And I don't care if it gets stained and eventually needs to be replaced! Win win!

Candy Cane Christmas Card

Candy Cane card made using Christmas Cheer cricut cartridge.

I just love this card because it is so easy to make a ton of of them to send out to all of your family and friends.

This cartridge was one of the first I ever bought. It has some super cute cuts on it and I think it is one that you will want to add to your Cricut cartridge library.

The cardstock is a mixture of Close to My Heart, SU!, and Bazzil. The stamp used is by Close to My Heart and is called 'Wonderful Season'.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Laptop Sleeve



Outer fabric
Lining fabric
Fusible fleece
Zipper (approximately 4” longer than your laptop)

Measure your laptop, wrapping your tape measure all the way around.
Mine measures 18.5” X 24.5”. (Yes, it’s tiny.)

Split both of those measurements in half. In my example, that would be 9.25” X 12.25”. Add 1.25” to both of those measurements. In my example that’s 10.5” X 13.5”. We’re finished with the math. Cut 2 pieces from your outer fabric this size. Cut 2 pieces from your lining fabric this size. Cut 2 pieces of fusible fleece this size. I then trimmed 1/2” off all around my fusible fleece because I didn’t want the bulk in my seams.
Embellish one of your exterior pieces as desired now. I’m including directions for exactly how I made mine, but feel free to change that up to personalize your laptop sleeve.

Cut a strip of fabric 3.5” wide and then press under 1/4” on the top and bottom edges.

Position on the front of your laptop sleeve and stitch in place along both edges.
Cut a strip of fabric 3” high by at least twice the width of your laptop case. Fold under 1/2” on both long edges and press.

Run a long gathering stitch (do not backstitch) about 1/4” in along both long edges. Pull your bobbin threads to gather evenly. Position in the middle of the larger strip and stitch in place.
(I made the decorative flower using these directions on WiseCraft. It’s attached to a pin and is removable so you won’t see it until the final pictures.)

Iron your fusible fleece to the wrong sides of both pieces of outer fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Take your zipper and place it face down and centered along the top edge of your front piece. You should have excess zipper on both ends.
Pin the zipper in place in the center. In order to get the zipper to go around the corners nicely, you’re going to make a few shallow snips along the part you need to bend.
Keep on pinning around both corners. I like to use A LOT of pins.

Baste the zipper in place. I used white thread so it would show up better for photographic purposes.

Position your lining fabric directly on top of your front piece, right sides facing.
Sew just inside of your basting line. Turn your pieces right side out. Press your exterior and lining fabrics away from the zipper.
Close the zipper. Position your other exterior piece on top, so the sides are even. Slide it up until it’s even with the zipper and pin. Unzip and repeat the zipper installation steps for the back half of the case.

Here’s what you’ve got now…nice neat zipper and ugly unfinished seams everywhere else.
Pull your exterior fabrics over so the right sides are facing, like this:

Keep turning until you’ve got both exterior pieces facing and both lining pieces facing.
Don’t be alarmed by the hot mess it appears to be right now. You’re *almost* there!

Reach up between the exterior layers and undo the zipper a few inches (big enough to fit your hand through and reach to undo the zipper the rest of the way later).

You’re going to sew ONLY on the exterior pieces. Fold, pull, and otherwise maneuver the lining pieces out of the way. You’ll be sewing from one end of the zipper to the other.

In the above picture, you’d sew from one pin, down around the bottom edge and then up to the other pin.

Repeat with the lining pieces, BUT leave a 4-5” hole in the bottom (again, big enough to fit your hand through).

Stick your hand way up in there and grab the bottom seam on the exterior fabrics.

And pull it out through the hole.

Close up the hole in the lining. I usually pull it all the way out and machine stitch close to the edge, but you could hand stitch if you prefer.