05 Jul Dresden Swirl Quilt
I am excited to introduce you to my modern Dresden Swirl quilt. A couple of years ago I was inspired by a vintage ’60s quilt that we inherited from my in-laws. It is like a traditional Dresden Plate quilt with curved “petals”. I recreated the design to make this Beauty and the Beast quilt which has been a favourite of my family for snuggling up on the couch. Recently I decided I wanted to modernize the look a bit, so I set out to recreate it with solid fabrics in cheerful friendly colours.
Vintage ’60s quilt
My first recreation of the vintage block
For my modern version I decided on a square quilt layout with nine blocks using three colour ways (yellow, pink, and blue) in light, medium, and dark tones for the background squares.
I chose a fresh palette of Riley Blake Designs Confetti Cottons in the following solid colours: Frosting, Super Pink, Cranberry, Cayenne, Riley Orange, Mac N Cheese, Butterscotch, Honey, Boy Blue, Riley Medium Blue, Cobalt, and Riley Navy. For the sashing and borders I chose Confetti Cottons in Cloud. I just love working with this brand of solids; the colours are striking and the fabric is soft and has a beautiful drape.
The curved petals are machine-sewn together along one side, then hand-appliquéd to the background squares along the tips.
Once I machine-stitched all nine swirls, I pinned them up to the background squares to get them ready for appliquéing.
I used a slip stitch which is the invisible stitch you use to hand-sew binding. It gives it a nice clean looking finish. I changed my thread to match the colour of each petal as I went along. It was kind of tedious to do so but using the proper thread colour helps to hide the stitches.
Once I had all of my blocks appliquéd, I added on the middle circles. To get a nice, crisp circle, I sewed a basting stitch along the edge of the circle, placed a card stock template on top, then cinched the stitches so it evenly hugged the template all around. Then I removed the template, glued the circle down in the middle of my block, pressed it to set the glue, then appliquéd it in place.
Getting the circles perfectly round and smooth is a challenge. I tried a few different methods and I found this was the most successful. I decided that they don’t have to be perfect because once they’re quilted and washed, they are going to crinkle anyway. That’s the nature and beauty of quilts.
My least favourite part of the process is putting on sashing and binding but I love the clean look once all the blocks come together.
I decided to keep the quilting modern by using 1.5” horizontal straight-line stitching. I marked all the lines with a Hera marker before stitching.
I made binding with Texture Super Pink fabric which matches the pink background of the centre square perfectly.
I sewed the binding to the back side first, then flipped it over to the front and top-stitched it down with a bright pink top thread and white bobbin thread.
And here she is, my finished modern Dresden Swirl quilt!