Learn To Quilt by Using Templates

Learn to Quilt

Have you been wanting to learn to quilt but were a little intimidated?  Using templates makes your Learn to Quilt adventure so much easier.  Today thanks to my friends at Nancy’s Notions  I will be sharing a tutorial for using their Dresden Template.  This kit comes with the Dresden template, seam alignment template, and a colorful and information Instruction Booklet.  There are 15 variations that can be made using this template and the booklet gives you full instructions.   Remember, quilt tops aren’t the only uses for these designs.  I chose to make a decorative pillow and also created a small Dresden Plate in order to embellish a small canvas bag I purchased at my local Joann Craft and Fabric Store.

I think the hardest part was choosing my fabric.  Going to the fabric store has been an activity I really enjoy.  I could get lost there for hours.  Walking down the aisles and see all those bolts of fabrics can be mesmerizing.  So many fabrics and so little time.  First, I used my Dresden template to make a pillow top.  I can bring this pillow out to decorate during the holidays.  Place on my front porch chair or take along for a picnic or parade for comfort.  I had previously purchased a small canvas bag from Joann’s when they were on sale.  I decided to make a small Dresden plate using the templates to embellish my plain tote bag.  Now the tote is so much more colorful and will make a perfect gift for carrying crochet or knitting supplies.  I can already see my colorful yarn balls and crochet hooks and knitting needles inside my little canvas tote bag.  It would make a great gift.

Learn to Quilt - Using templates

Dresden Plate quilting design used on a pillow and a canvas tote bad

You can purchase the Dresden Template kit and other supplies here:    Nancy’s Notions  Grab it now while it’s on sale for only $9.99 until July 31, 2017.  That’s a great bargain.


Supplies needed:

Sewing Machine  (Please check your manual for complete  instructions for proper use)

Scissors or rotary blade

cutting mat (if using rotary blade)  (I used a regular mat and a rotating mat for easier cutting)

Straight edge ruler

sewing pins

Fabrics in your choice of color


Turning Point (I used a bamboo one)

Iron and Ironing surface

Dresden Template Kit

The Dresden template has quite a few measurements you can use to create your Dresden Plates.   For my pillow top, I cut along the 9-inch mark.  For the small tote bag, I cut along the 7-inch mark.   Please take the time to review the instructions in the Booklet that comes with your kit.  They are very detailed and will help to ensure your success.   What I love about using templates is that it takes a lot of the guesswork and math-out of the equation.  If you’re not sure what size will work best for your project you can make a few blades to test the size.  I would suggest you use some scrap fabric or muslin fabric.  Make a few and you can play around with the sizes to give you a better idea of what will look best.

Learn to Quilt

Photo of Dresden Plate design on pillow and canvas tote

I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance thru-out.  I used a rotary cutter to cut out all of my pieces.  If you don’t have a rotary cutter you can use regular scissors you will just need to trace your templates onto your fabric.  If you are tracing the templates please be sure to use pens or pencils made for sewing.  I would recommend some that do not leave a permanent mark and wash out.  There are also some pencils with do not contain any lead.  This will be a far better and healthier choice. Nancy’s Notions has tons of great and affordable supplies.   Before starting any project be sure to review the manufacturer  instructions for proper use of any supplies or tools you will be using.

Now let’s Learn to Quilt:

1)  First, you will want to prepare your fabric.  I didn’t wash my fabric but if you do choose to wash your fabric first to eliminate sizing it’s a good idea to lightly starch your fabric to give it stability.  Next,  you will want to trim off the selvage.  I used a rotary cutter and it made quick work of this task.   You want to make sure you have a straight edge.  I used a cutting mat that had measurement grid lines on it.  I lined up my fabric and cut a straight edge.  Next, you will want to cut your strips the length of the measurement you will be cutting along the template.  Here I show you some photos of me preparing my fabric for cutting.  Be sure you are using a sharp blade.  Dull blades can be very dangerous.  Safety first.

2)  Cut your strips the length of the measurement you will be cutting along the template.    Flip your template to the other side to continue cutting out your Dresden blades.  Be careful not to move the fabric if you have more than one layer.

3)  Fold the longer edge of your Dresden Blade and then sew along this top edge.  I used an assembly line style to sew all my blades.

4)  Trim center seam and flip to the right side.  Use your pointer to get a nice point.

5)  Use your cardstock template to align your center seam and press.

6 & 7)  Place your blades right sides facing each other and sew along edges… start at the edge with the folded point first.  This way if anything doesn’t line up exactly the circle (yo-yo) will cover up any errors

8)  Press lighter seems to the darker edge

9)  Cut out a circle for your center.    You can make a yo-yo or just use a place of cardboard as a template.  ( You can just trace around a small item such as a jar.)   I threaded a sewing needle with thread and used a running stitch around the edge of the circle (on wrong side of fabric) and gathered to make a large yo-yo.  You can also use a yo-yo maker tool or just add a large button to the center.   The center circle will cover the opening in the center of your Dresden plate.   I have a video tutorial and a blog post on how to use a Clover Yo-Yo.

Trim any thread tails and press your pieces.

I have also prepared a photo collage on the next page that may be helpful.Learn to Quilt

(Photo Tutorial continues)

If you are placing your Dresden design onto a background be sure to cut out your background large enough to accomodate your design.  For this design I used a 20 inch pillow.  I cut out my white background fabric 21 inches square to accomodate my seam allowances.  For the back I cut out 2 rectangles that measured 12″ x 21″.  I made my pillow with an overlapping back flap.

To see the complete instructions for how I made the pillow top, please watch my YouTube video tutorial.   You will find the link below.  Enjoy!

Learn to quilt - Dresden Collage

Learn to Quilt – Dresden Collage















Learn to quilt using Tempate YouTube Video:



Video for making Yo-Yo’s using the Clover Yo-Yo maker:



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