Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How to Make a Dresden Mini Quilt Using Charm Squares

This week I had the opportunity to participate in a really fun swap with a bunch of women from the UCMQG.  We were asked to make a mini quilt no larger than 24" square, include a little treat, and bring them wrapped.  Yay!  Who doesn't like to open a present?!  Then each of us took a turn picking a "surprise" mini or stealing one that was already opened (oh snap!).  This is the one that I made . . .


 . . . and this is the one I received!  The great thing about our little swap was that Pam (@quiltbliss) and I picked each other's quilts.  This is the cute hedgehog quilt she made!  LOVE it!


Well, if you would like to make a Dresden Plate mini, here's what you will need:

- one charm pack with at least 27 charm squares
- 16.5" x 16.5" cut of neutral fabric for the backdrop of your Dresden
- 18.5" x 18.5" cut of batting
- 70" of binding fabric cut 2" wide (you can use scraps, jelly roll strips, whatever!)

You CAN use your remaining charm squares from your charm pack to make a scrappy binding, BUT you will need 16 charms to do so.  Since many charm packs only have 42 charms and you will need 43 for the total project if using them for the binding, just make sure you have enough scraps to make up the difference (9" of 2" wide fabric).

Also, make sure to check out my tutorial for how to make a Dresden Plate.  I don't include full how to instructions on this post, so you will need to reference that tut for more specific instructions on how to make the Dresden.

I started by cutting out a template to make my blades.
Once I had the template cut out, I picked 10 charm sqaures and cut 2 blades per charm (I stacked the charms and cut several at a time).



After I had all the blades sewn together, I picked out a charm for the middle circle of the Dresden.  I have a Circle Cut ruler and I used it to draw a 4" finished circle by folding my charm in half with RST.  (Like I show in my Dresden Plate tutorial, you can just use a bowl to trace the size circle that you want if you don't have a ruler.)  I then cut it out, and appliqued it on to the center of the Dresden blades.




At this point, I knew I wanted to quilt my background fabric without the Dresden attached, so I didn't sew my Dresden on yet.  You can sew your Dresden on now if you don't mind working around it during the quilting process.

Now onto the back!  I just wanted to keep it simple, so I pieced together 4 rows of 4 charm squares and called it good!  It's a great way to showcase more of the prints in the line that you may not have used on the Dresden. 


I made my quilt sandwich and basted it together with a few safety pins.  I just love using fabric pens that erase with heat/steam for marking straight lines!  It certainly helps, even when you have a walking foot with a guide.


Once the quilting was finished and the quilt squared up, I centered the Dresden on the front, pinned it, and top-stitched around the blades using an aqua blue thread.


All that was left was the binding.  Since it is a mini, I didn't want the binding to be too fat.  For a normal size quilt, I usually cut my binding strips 2.5" wide, but I cut these 2" wide.  I used scraps for mine, because I wanted to pull in more aqua and leave out the other colors that were in this line of fabric.  Again, you could also use the rest of your charm squares + 1 to make a scrappy binding (you will need 16 charms).  You can use my binding tutorial if you don't have a method you use regularly.

And voila!  You have a cute Dresden Mini Quilt!



I think after taking this picture I might need one in each room of our apartment!  It really brightens up the wall, don't you think?









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