The dresden plate block is a little bit fiddly but is lovely and cheery when it’s all sewn together.
This is a simple tutorial for sewing the separate pieces over papers that are then joined together to make up a circle or “plate”.
Cut out as many papers as are required, and cut out your fabric with a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance all around.
Each circle or “plate” block is sewn up of 12 pieces. (some dresden plates are made up of more pieces, various templates can be found in most patchwork books or on-line)
Tack the paper template to the fabric… make several small backstitches, and then sew a small running stitch up to the top just before the curve starts. At the top of the line of running stitches, take another back stitch to secure the thread.
Now, most instructions at this point will tell you to fold the top of the fabric over and to keep tacking and folding… personally I find this looks a bit on the rough side and prefer to use the following method to create a smoother shell curve……
Insert your needle into the start of the curve and sew a line of tiny running stitches. It’s best if you can keep your stitches as small and regular as possible.
Gently pull the thread so the fabric gathers, secure the thread with a couple of small stitches through the fabric.
Continue sewing along the other side and secure the edge of the fabric piece over itself sewing each end securely.
When you turn the piece over you can see the stitches that hold the paper into place.
The pieces are then sewn together with a small and neat whip stitch.
When your plates are all finished, applique the patchwork on to fabric. To remove the papers you will first need to cut the backing fabric away, leaving a generous one inch seam allowance on the inside of the circle and then unpick the the tacking stitches so the papers fall out.
Although this is generally seen as the most popular technique, sewing the papers to the fabric means you have to remove the tacking stitches as they are visible from the front of the patchwork.