Monday, August 13, 2018

The Red Project: Completing the Dresden Blocks

The Red Project has been a task-of-the-month project since last fall, usually making blocks to this point. Last month the snowball corners were added.

This month the goal is to get all the centers appliqued on and the backs of the Dresdens trimmed out. First task, prep the centers:

After cutting, gathering, pressing and starching all the centers, I removed the cardstock circles from them and lightly glue-basted them in place. They're getting the same machine-stitched applique around the edges that the blades have.

See that presser foot? That's my quarter-inch piecing foot. The open slot is less than 1/8" wide. If I align the inside right side of the foot against the edge I'm stitching down, the needle will be close to the edge and the stitches will be nice and even. Sometimes the "wrong" tool is actually the right tool for the job.

I'm liking the proportion of center circle to blade diameter. I had earlier auditioned several sizes and I liked this one best. The center circle finishes 2-1/2" and the total block finishes 14".

Here's the back of the block, now that the center has been added: 

My friend Suzanne Marshall, applique artist extraordinaire, recommends cutting away the layer(s) of fabric from behind the applique so the batting will fill into the space. She should know, check out her website.

I'll definitely follow her advice. It's tedious, cutting the backing away from all those points.

You can see in the photo above that the red Dresden points still have an extra layer of fabric with seams. After cutting away the light background, I'm going back into each point and trimming the red to 1/4" seams. 20 points per block times twelve blocks. Good thing I have the rest of the month to get them all done. And a nice sharp pair of scissors.

Here's the back after cutting the layers away. I haven't decided if I'll cut away the center or open it and insert batting like trapunto, so for now I've left the background fabric there.   

Not really much to show for a lot of time and tedious work, but it'll be worth it in the end.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt


  1. The center proportion looks just right. It's great when a presser foot can be such a perfect guide. Clipping the backing away will definitely be worth it in the end.

  2. I love your scrappy backgrounds, your scrappy blades, your scrappy snowball corners, and the scrappy 49-patches! What a gorgeous quilt this is going to be!!!

  3. Woohoo! It is going to be stunning.

  4. You are making great progress. What a find in your 1/4" foot for appliquing the circles!

  5. What a lot of work = but it is so gorgeous!!! The centers are perfect

  6. I've been debating whether I should trim away extra fabric on my machine applique crazy cats, and this post has pushed me over the edge. If you can deal with all those many many many Dresden points, I can handle my project! :)

  7. I wondered about cutting the backing away, but now I know. Thanks for the tip!

  8. This is a spectacular quilt, Jan. The choice of fabrics for the dresden block give it a 3-D effect. Almost like it is floating above the quilt surface. You should be so proud of this one.