One of the rulers I use more often than others is the Fan ruler – this wedge ruler used to sew Dresden fan/plate blocks.
In this tutorial I will show you how to use this 9” ruler (15 degree) and sew BIG Dresden blocks, made with strips of fabric wider than the ruler.
I used a 17” wide strip of fabric (cut along the selvages, from 2 yards of fabric – Effervescence by Robert Kaufman). If you have enough fabric, it is always better to cut strips along the straight grain of the fabric than along the crosswise grain.
With this ruler, you need to cut 24 wedges to complete a block; I cut 12 wedges from this blue-purple fabric and 12 wedges from a brown-grey fabric.
Here is how to place the ruler on the fabric. Align its narrow horizontal edge (that will be the center of the block) with the top edge of the fabric and make sure you keep the other horizontal edge of the ruler parallel with the bottom edge of the fabric (see the yellow arrows in the photo below).
In order to keep these edges parallel, use another ruler – see below.
Also, I wanted a block with a bigger “hole” in the center, and I aligned the 1” line of the ruler with the top edge of the fabric.
Now you have to place a long ruler against the left edge of the fan ruler, as shown.
You can cut along the edge of the long ruler with a rotary cutter (move away the fan ruler) or you can draw along the edge with a permanent marker.
Then place the long ruler against the other edge of the fan ruler and draw or cut.
Flip the fan ruler, align it with the bottom edge of fabric and cut the second wedge.
Due to the fabric pattern (the different colors), the wedges are different and I did not want to use both in the same block…
…so here is how I cut my wedges…
In between two wedges there is another wedge…
…that you can use for another block.
A smaller wedge.
So here is the result:
I used this wedge as a template and cut the other wedges.
And here is my 24-wedge Dresden block. Made with a 9” ruler, it measures about 34”.
You can finish this block as you want.
I don’t like to applique this block, so I turned it into an octagon and then into a square (like I did in my Parasols Pattern). I covered the center with an octagon.
And then I added borders; I ended up with a 42” quilt.
I will add minky or flannel as backing and will make a baby quilt.
I hope this helps!
In the same way, you can use other small rulers to cut bigger pieces (like triangle rulers) – you just have to be sure that you maintain the angles!
PIN THIS FOR LATER!