Dresden Fan/Plate is a very fun block. If you sew this block for the first time, here are a few things I noticed while piecing my recent Dresden blocks. They will make your piecing more accurate and FUN- the most important thing!!
There are many rulers on the market for the Dresden Fan/Plate blocks. They have different angles and the blocks require a different number of wedges.
I have two rulers. The green one is a Debby Kratovil ruler (it makes a block with 20 wedges) and the Stack-n-Whack ruler makes blocks with 24 wedges.
You have to cut wedges from strips of fabric. When possible, cut the strip lengthwise, parallel with the selvage.
The result will be less distortion of the block (outside edges) when pressing.
If your strip is smaller than the ruler, you can cut wedges in different widths, depending on where you place the ruler on the strip.
Let’s see two examples. I used a 5” wide fabric strip.
The second example: aligning the wide edge of the ruler with the fabric edge.
And these are the two wedges. The narrow wedges will make the smallest block, with the smallest hole in the center. The wide wedges will make the biggest block, with huge hole in the center.
Piecing the block
Cut all the wedges needed and start piecing in pairs. Always piece starting at the wide top edge (the outside of the block) and ending at the bottom edge (the inside). It is better to have a nice outside edge because the inside (center hole) will be covered anyway.
Then piece two pairs together and continue until you piece all the wedges and close the circle.
This is the biggest block: 19” with a 9” hole in the center. This block allows a nice quilting on the center or maybe a beautiful fussy cut piece.
And this is an 11” block with a 1” hole. It doesn’t seem too flat, but the iron works the magic!
Because the block requires so many seams, the 1/4” seam allowance is important. It is better to make first a test block and see if it lays flat. You might need to adjust the seam allowance. I made better blocks with just a little bigger than 1/4” seam allowance (I am not expert at piecing!).
Press all the seams only when the block is finished – no intermediary pressing- less distortion.
Press all the seam allowances in the same direction. Press first on the back, then on the front, along the seams, from the outside to the center. If you cut the strips lengthwise, the outside edge will not distort (or not too much, anyway).
Pretty different blocks made from the same strip of fabric!
If you don’t need blocks like these ones, try different ones: just move the ruler as desired. See below two examples.
Usually, the Dresden blocks are appliqued onto a background fabric.
I like to make my life easier (I am not a master of turned edge appliques), I thought to turn my Dresden blocks into octagons then into squares. In this way I don’t have to applique the block, it’s just piecing.
Covering the center hole causes me headaches. Finding the exact center is something I don’t have time for. After I messed up almost half of my blocks, I found an easy way to do it!
Check it out here: From FRUSTRATION to FUN!
I hope this is helpful for some of you. This block is really FUN!