I love 5″ charm squares, and I’m on a mission to find as many ways to use them as possible. Some of my charm squares come from pre-cut packs, but I also cut charms from my leftovers—either by cutting 5″ strips to subcut later or 5″ squares from smaller fabric pieces.
My latest charm project is a Dresden Plate block. This block ties in perfectly with the Quiltmaker Jan/Feb ’15 issue, which focuses on creative Dresden Plate quilts.
For these blocks, you will need light charms for the background (I am using tone-on-tones) and medium/dark charms for the blades and the block center.
I like to use the Easy Dresden tool from EZ Quilting. Stack a few medium/dark charms together. Align the Easy Dresden with the narrow end along one side of the charms and the 5″ mark along the other side as shown below and cut.
Rotate the Easy Dresden as shown below and cut again. Two blades can be cut from each charm.
Fold each blade in half lengthwise, right sides together. Using a short stitch length of about 1.8, sew 1/4″ from the fold. You can chain lots of these together when sewing. You’ll need 20 blades for each block.
Trim a small triangle from the folded edge to reduce bulk.
Press the seam open with your fingernail.
Turn the blade right side out and use a stiletto or other pointed object to gently push out the point, making sure not to push the stiletto through the seam.
Sew 20 blades together for each Dresden plate, matching the folds at the wide ends of the blades.
Press the seams to one side, all in the same direction as shown above. The narrow ends of the blades may not match perfectly but that’s okay because they’ll be covered. It’s more important that the blades match nicely at the wide ends.
For the block background, sew 9 light charms together—sew 3 rows of 3 charms each; sew the rows together. Fold the block in half both ways and lightly crease the folds.
Use the creases to center a Dresden Plate on the background. Use neutral thread and a hand blind stitch, machine blanket stitch or machine straight stitch to applique the Dresden Plate to the background.
Trace a 4″ circle onto freezer paper and cut it out. Pin (shiny side out) to the wrong side of a medium/dark charm square. Cut the charm approximately 1/4″ beyond the freezer paper.
Press the raw edges of the charm to the shiny side of the freezer paper.
Center the circle on the Dresden Plate and applique in place.
Turn the block over, trim the background inside the stitching lines and remove the freezer paper.
These blocks are very versatile and work great in lots of different quilt designs. You can set them side by side or add some interesting sashing.
Charm squares are versatile and they work in lots of quilt designs. They’re my favorite pre-cut shape. What is yours?
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Need charm squares for your stash? We have them.