How to sew Dresden Plates: free templates & tutorial

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Dresden Plates are pieced circles made up of a number of blades (or wedges). We’re here to help you piece perfect plates every time with this free tutorial…

We’re giving away a set of exclusive Dresden Plate quilters’ templates with issue 34 of Love Patchwork & Quilting – out this week. With their help you will be able to make Dresden Plates with twelve blades. And for those of you who read our digital issues so don’t get our cover gifts, fear not! We’ve included a handy PDF version of the templates below too for you to download and use instead.

With the help of our free Dresden Plates tutorial, you can use your templates to make a whole range of different  designs by varying the size or by using either a pointed or a straight blade. And once you’ve
got the hang of the basic techniques, you can add in your own details – the possibilities really are endless! Sarah has mixed up modern prints and solids to give this classic quilting combo a fresh new look, but you can get creative with your own fabric choices. So let’s go!

How to sew Dresden Plates

You will need…

  • Assorted prints to cut twelve blades
  • Background fabric: 16in square
  • Backing fabic: 20in square
  • Batting: 20in square
  • Binding fabric: 1/8yd
  • Love Patchwork & Quilting Dresden Plate template – available with issue 52
  • Love Patchwork & Quilting Dresden Centre template – available with issue 52
  • Or download our PDF templates here


Finished size

16in square

Fabrics used

Assorted prints from our stash

Get the kit

Need to update your sewing supplies before you start? Sewing Quarter have everything you could need for this tutorial, including rotary cutters, markers and more – take a look at

Dresden Plates tutorial

Step one: Cut several strips of print fabric to your chosen measurement from the Dresden Plate template. This will be the unfinished height of each segment.

How to sew Dresden plates step 1

Step two: Align the template on your fabric strip with the chosen measurement at the top of the strip. Use a rotary cutter to trim the strip along both sides of the template. Turn the template around and line up against the angled cut and trim along the other side of the template.

Continue cutting until you have cut twelve blades from different fabrics.

How to sew Dresden plates step 2

Step three: To make a pointed blade, fold one blade in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew along the outer straight edge, using a 14in seam, making sure to backstitch at both ends. Trim away a corner at the folded edge, being careful not to clip your stitches. Press your stitches with a hot, dry iron.

For straight blades, before stitching together, turn under 14in along the top of each blade to the reverse.

How to sew Dresden plates

Step four: Unfold the blade, turning the stitched end to the reverse. Use a point turner to push the top of the seam into a point. Finger press the seam open and press the blade flat to finish the point.

How to sew Dresden plates step 4

Step five: Begin stitching your blades together. Start with two blades right sides together, stitching along one long straight edge and pressing the seam to one side. Repeat with the rest of the blades to sew together in pairs. Sew these pairs together, pressing all the seams in the same direction. Keep joining sections until you have completed your ring.

How to sew Dresden plates step 5

Step six: Give your ring a final press from the front and back. Fold your background fabric into quarters and lightly press. Use the folds to help you centre the Dresden Plate and pin in place. Carefully appliqué the ring to the background fabric. We machine topstitched carefully around the outer edge. For a more discreet finish, you can appliqué in place by hand using small slip stitches.

How to sew Dresden plates step 6

Step seven: Turn your block over and carefully trim away the excess backing fabric, leaving a ¼in seam allowance around the sewn edge. Try to start close to the outer edge so you have a large whole piece from the centre, which you can use to make a matching centre circle in the next step.

How to sew Dresden plates step 7

Step eight: Trace a circle using the template, onto the centre fabric and cut out. Repeat with a piece of fusible interfacing to make a circle of the same size.

How to sew Dresden plates step 8

Step nine: Place the two circles right sides together. The fusible side of the interfacing should be facing away from the fabric. Stitch around the outer edge of the circle using a 14in seam. Cut notches along the outer edge, or use pinking shears to grade the seam.


How to sew Dresden plates step 9

Step 10: Cut a slit in the centre of the interfacing and turn your circle right side out. Use a hera marker to get a smooth line along the edge of the circle. Press from the front to fuse in place and finish the outer edges.

Pin the circle to the centre of your Dresden Plate and appliqué in place.

How to sew Dresden plates step 10

Step 11: Make a quilt sandwich by placing the backing fabric right side down, the batting on top, then the quilt top centrally and right side up. The backing and batting are slightly larger than the quilt top. Baste the layers together using your preferred method.

Step 12: Quilt as desired. We quilted echoing lines around the Dresden. Trim the excess batting and backing level with the quilt top edges and square up the quilt.

Step 13: Cut two 214in x WOF strips from your binding fabric. Sew the binding strips together end-to-end using diagonal seams. Press the seams open and trim away the dog ears. Fold in half lengthwise, WST, and press.

Step 14: Sew the binding to the right side of the quilt, folding a mitre at each corner. Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt and hand stitch in place to finish.

Love Patchwork & Quilting Dresden plates tutorial