Our branch of the Irish Patchwork Society usually has a demo or two before our meeting officially starts and from time to time I make up a project with step outs to share with the group. In order to try and recruit new members some of us are also doing demonstrations in a local haberdashery shop in town, so I have been making Christmas cushions, table runners and fabric wreaths and step by step bits to show how to put them together!
Last year, it was all hexagons (trees and snowflakes); this year it’s all about the Dresden Plate! Hickeys allowed me to chose a fat quarter selection of 6 prints with a Scandinavian feel and some background fabric to make up a Dresden plate cushion for the demo. The template is here if you want it and for this 18" finished cushion I used the 5" sized wedge. If you haven't made a Dresden Plate block before, it is way easier than it looks and gives such nice impact it's perfect for Christmas makes! Missouri Star Quilt has some great video tutorials on how to make Dresden blocks on their You Tube Channel here.
Using quilting cotton, for a cushion, requires a bit of wadding or fusible batting to give the cushion cover a bit of substance. So, I straight line quilted the front and back and appliqued the Dresden plate and centre circle on top of the quilted surface with just a straight line stitch.
I like a cushion with binding to frame the front sometimes, if the cushion colours are quite light, so I used double fold binding strips made from 2 1/2" wide x length and attached with a 3/8" seam on the back first, then folded over to the front and machine sticthed in place. Keeping it simple with a envelope backing, (see tutorial I wrote for the Modern Quilters Ireland Group here if you want to make one too!)
I really like how it turned out and the Scandi style colours are lovely to work with. The Dresden block is so versatile, you can adapt it to anything really. I used a red/green traditional colouring on a silver background for the table runner and had fun using up scraps for the 1/4 circles at the corners.
I left the binding open so I can show how to close it at the demo. Wool wadding has given the Dresdens a lovely puffy feel!
Figuring they make nice cushions and Christmas makes don't have to be out of Christmas fabrics, I tried a summery version, with some fussy cut musical fabric too.
I am liking this one a lot!
The Dresden plates don't take a lot of fabric, so using the fat quarters I made a Christmas wreath too!
During the Knitting & Stitching Show in Dublin, the South Eastern branch had a Christmas display and lots of people admired the fabric wreath hanging on the wall. The lady who made it advised the invigilators to use a tube made from 5" to 6 1/2" x length of fabric, sew the strips together at the top, stuff with toy stuffing, plait and hide the join with a bow.
So for our branch November meeting, we normally have just a demo night of Christmas makes. I thought I'd have a go at making a wreath or two, following these general instructions and I wrote up a step by step pattern that you can download here if you like!
I tired the 5" and 6" widths using fat quarters and prefer the 5" ones over the 6" wreath shown here in the bottom photo. Because I was using fat quarters I felt that when stuffed they made a circle easier.
I had fun playing with a ribbons, and a bow tie and much prefer the look of the fabric ties so it is worth making your own. When looking for bow tie widths online I found this tutorial that shows how to make the wreath step by step with a fabric ribbon so maybe this was the post that started the whole thing!
I have to leave you with this photo of Maggie and Wilbur. While I was busy making for Christmas they were busy dreaming! Don't worry guys Santa is going to be good to you both!