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Dresden Plate with Butterfly Quilt Block

Finished Block Size: 15" x 15"


This block is based on an antique quilt.

*For a tip about printing this page, click here.

~Per Block~

Scraps of up to 26 different fabrics [dark, medium & light]

Fat Quarter of Tone on Tone Background Fabric


Any instructions with [brackets], refers you to the Technique Page in the Library of this site for printable free how-tos.


1. Cut [Rotary Cutting·#F] the background fabric into a 16" square.

Request the free Dresden Plate with Butterfly Templates here

2. Make templates [Cardboard Templates-For Piecing] for the petal, butterfly, butterfly body, leaf & center circle (which you will use later in step #5).
Draw the outline of them onto the right side of the fabrics with a chalk pencil.
Using a grid ruler, cut the straight edges of the petals ¼" beyond the pencil lines.
Cut less than ¼" beyond the pencil lines of the petal arcs and around the other shapes using pinking shears.

Prepare to Applique  Patches

3. Arrange the 20 petals, in a circle, varying the order of the dark, medium and light, as well as the colour.

4. Sew [Machine Piecing], the petals together using a ¼" seam allowance.
Start at the top curve and sew along the straight side edge of the petals.

Example of Dresden Plate Petal

First sew the petals into sets of five. These sets are the quarter units (refer to the picture in step #2).
Sew the top two quarter units together, and then the bottom two quarter units.
Sew the top half to the bottom half along the two remaining seams.
Adjust if necessary. Press [Pressing·#1].

5. Finger press the seam allowance over to the back of the top arcs of the petals, and baste them in place [Stitches-#3c]. Prepare the butterfly & leaves the same way.

Align the large circle template in the center of the Dresden Plate, and redraw the inner edge of the petals onto the right side of the fabrics with a chalk pencil.
Finger press the seam allowance over to the back of this inner edge of the petals, and baste as before.

Prepare to Applique  Dresden Plate & Butterfly

6. Fold the background square, lightly finger pressing the center marks.
Align the horizontal and vertical centring folds, with the petal unitís seam lines.
Place the Butterfly in the center.
the leaves pointy side to the corner, evenly spaced, as illustrated.

Baste them in place [Stitches-#3c].

7. Using black embroidery floss Blanket Stitch [Decorative Stitches·#1] the Dresden Plate, butterfly & leaves, to the background fabric, around the edges.
Using the stitch guide for the butterfly antennae, embroider them with the Stem Stitch (Directions on the template page #2) ending in a French Knot [Decorative Stitches·#8].
Tip: ~ You can use these stitches as your quilting.

Prepare to Applique Arc

End with a knot on the back of the background fabric, behind the appliqué patches.
When you have sewn all the patches down,remove the basting.
Press [Pressing·#2].

8. Using the grid ruler and the rotary cutter, centre the design and trim the background fabric down, [Rotary Cutting·#G], to the unfinished size of 15½" x 15½" square.

The antique quilt that inspired this block was 4 blocks wide and 5 blocks long. Joining blocks together adds a design where the leaves meet in the corners. Plus the maker varied the direction of the butterflies, which gives the quilt some whimsy!


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