Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dresden Fans: Thinking Outside the Box

I decided to do a second version of the Dresden Plate for the Downton Abbey Quilt. I still was puzzling over how to utilize my Sizzix quilt dies instead of hand-cutting all the wedges. The die I own has a straight upper edge, so the only option I could think of was to cut them all out with the die, then make a plastic template and trim each one to a curve with a rotary cutter. Too tedious!!!

Suddenly, I had an idea...More than one idea, actually! Now, this seems like a lot of steps, but keep in mind that I am cutting 10 layers with each pass of my die cutter, so it is way quicker than cutting everything by hand! I can cut 20 wedges in about 2 minutes flat!

I cut 8.5x11 sheets of wash away applique template paper in half lengthwise. This is a product from C&T publishing. You could also use a lightweight fusible interfacing for this step. Or even a muslin fabric. 

Then I fed them through my die cutter and cut them into 2 1/2 inch strips crosswise.

Once I had all my strips cut, I took out my 4 inch circle die, which I marked into quarter sections with a silver sharpie marker. I mark a lot of my dies this way so I can utilize them more thriftily. 

Then I lined up the two inch strips, butting up against each other at the center line, and cut them into half circles. Voila! 20 curved templates in a single pass!

I cut my Dresden Plate wedges out of fabric. You can be very thrifty with your fabric if you turn it upside down after every pass of the cutter. After stacking my fabrics, it only took me only 2 passes to cut out 20 wedges. 

Missouri Star Co. Large Dresden Wedge Die by Sizzix

Now, for the neat part! I simply lined up the curve of the circle with the top of the wedge, then sewed it with a quarter inch seam, following the curve of the wash away applique paper. I placed the iron on side of the paper right sides with the fabric, so that once I turn it inside out, it will be fusible, so I can iron it on to my background fabric to hold it in place!

I trimmed the curve with a pair of pinking shears, but you can also trim with regular scissors too. Then turn it right sides out. The curve actually seems to come out smoother using the wash away paper than when I use muslin for the curve backing. 

I pressed the wedges lightly, laying them on top of a piece of parchment paper so they would not stick to the ironing board. 

Sew the wedges to each other, 10 will make a half circle, or Dresden Fan. 20 wedges will make a Dresden Plate. 

I cut two circles using a Sizzix 8 inch circle die, one out of the wash away applique material, and one out of fabric, at the same time. 

Sizzix 8 Inch Circle Die

Fabric circle, wash away appliqué material circle cut at the same time. 

I sewed them, iron on side facing right side of material, after cutting a slit in the paper for turning. 

Sewed with a quarter inch seam

Circle, trimmed with pinking shears.

See what a nice smooth circle!

I turned the circle right side out and lightly pressed it, fusible side down on a piece of baking parchment. Once it was nice and flat, I pressed it onto my completed Dresden Plate. Now, it is ready for stitching!

New Dresden Plate

I am using an invisible machine applique technique for this quilt. The appliqués are stitched with a tiny zig-zag stitch, using a transparent or very fine thread. I am using both Invisafil, in colors to match the applique, and Sulky invisible thread, which is a clear polyester thread. I have used invisible nylon thread for this technique in the past, but I prefer the polyester, as the nylon has more of a shine. My zig-zag stitch length is set to 1.0. Stitch width is 1.5mm. I have a neutral gray 50 wt cotton thread in the bobbin. I use an open toe applique foot on my machine. Sew along the edge of the appliqué, just catching the fold of the fabric with the swing of the zig-zag. The stitching is almost invisible from a viewing distance. 

Almost invisible zig-zag. I started with a 2.0mm width, but reduced it to 1.5mm and was happier with finished appearance.

I trimmed away the excess fabric and appliqué paper from the back of the appliqué.

Now I am ready to add more layers to my Dresden Plate! But that will be another post....

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome!! Thank you for showing this. I have both dies and applique paper too! Eeeekkk!! :)