Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Prequel: Dresden Plate Inspiration, Eye Candy & Fabric Selection

My First Dresden Plate
Last Friday I posted here about how I used Marjorie Busby's machine embroidered die-cut flower design to finish off the center of my first Dresden Plate.  Congratulations to Rita for winning the embroidery design giveaway!  Rita selected the same flower design that I used in my block.  I hope she enjoys it as much as I have!

Today's share a little background information about the Dresden Plate pattern in general and the particular quilts that inspired me to want to make one of my own.  I have admired Dresden Plate quilts for a long time.  We have one in my family that passed to me when my maternal grandmother died, but I don't know who the maker was.  [Now let's find out if my mom still reads my blog -- Mom?  Are you out there?  Do you remember who made this quilt?]

Our Dresden Plate Family Quilt, with Lars, Anders, and my Hound of the Baskervilles (Otto)
Of all the names hand-embroidered in the centers of the blocks, the only ones I know for sure are that Grace is my grandmother and Gladys is one of her sisters.  Word to the wise, quilters -- LABEL your quilts!  Everyone knows you made them today, but someday your great-great-grandchildren will have no idea unless you put your name on it someplace!  At least we know it was made in 1944.

Judy Anne Breneman has written a brief historical overview of the Dresden Plate quilt pattern here, complete with photos and interesting trivia.  The pattern was most popular in the 1930s, and the bright colors and cheery prints in my 1944 quilt are very typical of vintage Dresden Plate quilts from that era.

Contemporary Dresden Plate versions that I love include this cheerful baby quilt made by Claudia Shearer of Couch Potato Quilts for her niece's son:

Made by Claudia Shearer, 2008, San Francisco, CA, and blogged here
...And this beautiful Dresden Plate and applique quilt, designed by Erin Russek of One Piece at a Time.  This pattern is available for sale in Erin's Etsy shop here, and proceeds  benefit a charity for a child with a serious medical condition. 

"Miss Kyra" by Erin Russek, 2012, blogged here, pattern available here

So, for my own Dresden Plate, I wanted to capture the playful spirit and clear, bright color palette of the vintage quilts, but using modern fabrics instead of reproductions.  When the Machine Embroidery blog hop opportunity came along, I knew that Marjorie's batik die cut flowers would be the centers of my Dresden Plates, so I dumped fabric all over the floor of my studio and played around with combinations until I came up with an assortment that felt balanced and that complemented the fabrics Marjorie had chosen for my flower appliques.

Fabrics Auditioning for my Dresden Plates

Because I've gone on long enough for tonight, you'll have to wait until my next post to see how quickly my Dresden plate came together using Kaye England's Cut for the Cure 22.5 degree wedge ruler from Nifty Notions. It was quick, easy, and lots of fun, so if you've ever wanted to try Dresden Plates I encourage you to take the plunge!  Have a wonderful weekend.


Jenny K. Lyon said...

I did not know I could like the Dresden Plate this much! I love your version with the die cuts!!

Claudia said...

How wonderful to have a family heirloom like this one and it would be fun to research the other names and maybe discover a little more history about your family.