Friday, August 23, 2013

He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not... {A Finish and a Tutorial}

This week's finish is a wall hanging for my mom's school room.  I've been thinking about this design and wanting to do it for a while as a baby girl quilt. But, with no baby girls on the way (ALL the boys! Geez, what is in the water?!) I decided to do v1.0 as a wall hanging instead.  Mom picked out the fabrics and I got to choose the design :)

I was originally inspired by this quilt at Little Island Quilting, which got me thinking about treating Dresden Plates as flowers and doing a quilt based on that game little girls play, "He love me... he loves me not." So I did a series of incomplete, partially "plucked" Dresdens with some "petals" drifting toward the bottom of the quilt.

When I make this again (and I definitely will be making this design again) I plan to make it a lot larger so that I have more room to play with the theme and have more petals gathered at the bottom.

Going along with the idea of "He loves me, He loves me not," one yes and one no, I knew that I wanted to make the quilt double sided.  As long as you're going to be doing applique anyway, it's hardly any more work to make reverse applique on the back.

So, the quilt is reversible.  One side is more traditional while the other side is soft and worn.  This also gives the chance to do two completely different color schemes!  I used regular cottons this time, but when I make this again I'll be using flannel for the back so it will ravel nicely in the wash.

I took pictures all through the process of making this, so if you want to make your own you can follow along :)

First off you need to cut your fan blades from the fabrics that will make up the Dresdens on the front of your quilt. I used the Easy Dresden Ruler, which was on sale at Hancocks, but here's the great thing about this design: since we won't be making any complete Dresden Plates, you don't have to stress about getting the angles perfect so that they will circle right!  It take the stress out of Dresdens :) So, feel free to print any old template off the internet or make your own.

If you want to completely plan out your quilt design ahead of time you could figure out exactly how many fan blades you will need, but for me it was easier to just cut a stack at a time and cut more later if I needed them.

Next you'll fold the wide end of the blades together and sew along the top. Be sure to clip the corner, but don't get into your seam.

Then fold the blade right side out and press.

Next start assembling your fans into sections.  Line up the peaked (folded) ends and sew from there. Don't worry if the narrower ends don't line up perfectly, they'll be covered by the center circle anyway.

Again, you could plan the whole thing out or just have a loose idea of where you are going. I knew that I wanted to have 3 Dresdens and for one of them to be more complete than the others. I sewed one large group and then several groups of 2s, 3s, and 4s. Remember to leave some fans as singles to serve as the fallen "petals".

Press your seams and remember to press any outside edges with a 1/4" seam allowance. Also press your single fans with a seam allowance on all unfinished sides.

Now you're ready to lay out and settle on a design. I suggest taking pictures as your are going to have to reconstruct this later.  With your Dresdens laid out use a compass (shown above, like from geometry) to figure out how big the center circle needs to be. Give yourself a good half inch of leeway. Part of that will go into seam allowance and part into making sure you can completely cover the base of all the fans.  If you have a circle cutter (above, right) that's going to come in handy, too.

You'll need to cut a circle of cardboard exactly the size you want your finished center circle to be and a circle of fabric at least a half inch larger in diameter than that.  Using the longest stitch your machine has baste all the way around the fabric circle close to the edge.

Pull on the loose ends of the stitches to draw the circle of fabric in over the piece of cardboard.

Then press and carefully remove the cardboard form.  I find it helps to tie the loose ends of thread together to help the circle keep its shape.

Now for for the tricky part.   We need to put in place the pieces of fabric that will show through on the reverse applique. Measure your Dresden sections that you've decided on and cut corresponding pieces of fabric for the back.  Be sure to give yourself plenty of extra lee way by cutting the pieces oversize. (You could save yourself quite a bit of trouble by doing all the reverse applique from the same fabric and just cutting one piece large enough to cover the whole back.)

Lay your backing fabric out face down and lay out the pieces of reverse applique fabrics also face down in an arrangement that mirrors the one you've settled on for your Dresdens.  Set your machine to its longest stitch length and baste everything in place.

Layer and pin your quilt as you normally would, leaving your Dresdens to the side.  Then, begin to pin your Dresdens in place.  As you place them keep checking with one hand under the quilt to make sure you are inside of the lines of basting stitches, meaning that your Dresden is over one of the pieces of reverse applique fabric inside the backing.

When your are satisfied with placement, begin to sew the Dresdens down.  You'll need to sew not just across the peaked tops, but also down and back up between each fan blade to make the reverse applique work.

This is a shot of the back of one of the loose petals which has been sewn down. See how the smaller stitches of the applique fall well within the long basting stitches on all sides? That is what you want to see. That means we are centered right over the reverse applique fabrics with plenty of seam allowance.

After sewing down all the Dresdens you can being to unveil the reverse applique. Carefully use your seam ripper to make a hole in only the top layer of backing fabric inside each fan. Slip your scissors in the hole and cut out the backing fabric leaving a 1/4" around the edges.

At this point, you can bind your quilt and be done!  Or, you may want to slide your scissors inbetween the layers and carefully remove some of the reverse applique fabric that did not fall under a Dresden plate. (Good for scrap hoarders, also, in case the fabric is showing through the backing).

You can also do more quilting before finishing out. I was planning to do echo quilting around everything but ultimately decided against it.  Either way, the hard part is done.  When it's finished throw your quilt in the wash to get the perfect raw-edge ravel and enjoy!

Linking up to Finish it Friday.


  1. Your quilt is really cute and a fun way to use Dresdens. Great job!

  2. Love it!! So fun and original! Congrats!!

  3. I love your quilt! This technique has been on my list of quilts to make someday...and I am loving the colors you chose, too!

  4. What a cute quilt! Great concept and use of dresdens!

  5. Love that you made this double sided! What a fantastic (and unexpected!) twist ;)

  6. Fabulous, reminds me of blowing the heads off dandelions too!

  7. Man, I go away for 2 weeks and you pump out a whole string of finishes... The seismic quilting turned out well, even if the honeycombing didn't work. And I super like this! The reverse applique is pretty sneaky, I think I might like it better than the regular dresdens (and I love dresdens!)