Decorating and Dresden Plates

So a New Year and time to start thinking about decorating.  Actually I have been thinking about it for ages, but water leaks have caused delays to my plans and messed up my schedule.  Nevermind - it has given me time to really decide what I want to do... in our Sitting Room.   We moved into your Georgian School House in June last year and the Sitting Room is the room most in need of sorting out.  It is a beautiful square room with polished wooden floors and loads of space and pretty much a blank canvas.  With french doors out onto the garden and two windows which make it light and bright and a large stone fireplace, it has lots of potential to work with.  The decorating is planned for the beginning of March and I will be posting photos as we go along, but for now it is time to make choices.   We have a fine blue and red and gold carpet from Russia, which sets the tone of the room and this of course, ties colours in.   I have spent a long time chosing a colour scheme and fabrics.  I love colour as you probaby know by now, and I wanted to make a bold statement in this spacious room.  I also wanted to somehow make it an ecclectic mix of new and old, vintage and a tinge of modern freshness and I don't want to be too rigid in how it all goes together - I like a bit of a jumble and a relaxed feel.  Anyhow after alot of searching through home decorating fabrics I have finally made up my mind and as we have new sofas coming, I want to make a whole heap of interesting cushions - all of them different.

Today it is snowing outside, and I was browsing through a much loved book 'Swedish Country Houses' and ooohing and ahhhhing at the beautiful interiors.  I love the lightness, the delicate touch that Scandinavian style brings and I especially love the motifs and designs that are often found in old style swedish homes.  I was inspired by this picture in the book and thought immediately that a 'Dresden Plate' block with some applique and embroidery could work really well.

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 I searched through my stash for a bunch of fabrics that mix in well with my home decor fabrics and interestingly there is rather a mix in there - a kind of chintzy chinese pattern reminiscent of georgian porcelain and a rather modern, Scandi style print too.  However, as I want to use alot of hand embroidery on this project, I needed some solids as the base of the block.  The 'Dresedn Plate' block  has been a bit of buzz word on quilting sites over the past year and most of the main quilt designers have put up their versions.  There are loads of on-line tutorials to guide you through the steps and  of course some tools which help.  I had already got a 'Dresden' ruler from the Missouri Star Quilt Company and it was wriggling about inside it's wrapper -so let's go....

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With the ruler, it is super quick to put together.  Cut out your blades using the markings on the ruler and flipping it over and back so as not to waste any fabric.  I cut my blades at 4 inches.

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To stitch them, you simply fold each blade in half and sew across the wider side with a quarter inch seam.  You can chain piece these and they are done in a jiffy.  The magic comes when you turn them inside out and you have a lovely pointed blade.  Press them carefully so that the seam on the back is in the middle and start to build up your plate.

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Join the blades together to form a circle and you are almost there.  It seems sensible to press the seams open on this to avoid bulk underneath and once this is done, it starts to look really cool.

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To make the centre, I wanted to do two fabrics, again with embroidery in mind.  I used freezer paper templates ironed on to the fabric and then with a smidgen of fabric glue, I eased the edges over the template using my applique sticks and it forms a nice neat edge.

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 Once this is ironed you can simply whip out the template and lay your perfect circle onto your plate.  

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I also wanted to add some applique shapes and introduce both red and yellow into the project.  This time I used fusible web and chose a simple shape to outline the plate.  The trick with this is to make sure all your shapes are the same.

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 I was rather pleased with the effect of this once it was fused in place.  Time to hop over to the sewing machine and secure it all in place.  I used invisible thread to outline the Dresden Plate - it's a good choice for something like this, especially if you are going to embroider over it afterwards.  I used a blanket stitch to outline the central circle and now I am pretty much ready to pop it into the hoop and the fun begins.

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 I hope you will pop back next weekend and see how my planned frenzy of stitching is going.....

See you soon, Ruby x