Dizzy Dresdens: Applique and Trusting Instincts

Dizzy Dresdens: Applique and Trusting Instincts

When we left Dizzy Dresdens, the piecing had been done and the dresdens were ready for applique. The background squares are 21″ so I was quite daunted by this task. There were several reasons – a circle center, no fusing, lots of tiny little points, BIG square, virtually no room for placement error, and well, the nerves that comes with inexperience. Like I’m famous for, I figured there’s no room for being scared and I should just go for it!I think it worked out OK and I surely learned a few things along the way!

OK OK, I should have cropped those cute little feet, but I just couldn’t!

The first step was cutting and prepping the circles. I was determined to do it as directed in the quilt magazine the pattern came from and it went a little like this:

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Cut 1/4″ around applied
freezer paper template
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Baste seam allowance and pull
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Starch and Press

Not bad for my first try. It is something I think you certainly get better at. You can see, I dont quite have a circle there. There’s a point at the bottom and a bit of extra seam allowance bending it a bit at the top right. I decided this quilt is all for practice and learning so I wasnt going to get bent out of shape (ha!) about small things like that. Quick scroll up to the picture with feet, do you see the wonky point on the center circle of the yellow dresden? Me either.

The next big step was putting it on the background square and blanket stitching around it. Boy did I feel like I was flying without a net here! No fusing?? I may have over done the pins a bit, but I felt good about it and decided to go with it.

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As it turns out – it DOES work just fine without a net. I dont know that I got every single curve right, but over all, pretty darn good. I was pleased with myself and went on to doing the points.

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Here’s where we are going to talk about instinct. I was so hell bent that I going to do it the way the magazine said that I forgot I kind of know what I’m doing and sometimes my way is OK too. I mentioned way earlier in this post that one of the issues was placement. The background squares are cut to 21″, the dresden point to point is 20.5″. So you see – no room for error. I did ok with the placement, but when it came to stitching on the points close to the edge of the square, things went south quickly.

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See how those points are puckering ? When the needle was near the points, they fabric would get caught in the throat plate. Sometimes piles of thread would catch and it knotted, or worse. A few times, I managed to sew a few stitches and the feed dogs were not moving my fabric along giving me a big old corner of mess. I fought with it all the way through the yellow and into the purple dresdens determined that if the magazine didn’t SAY to use stabilizer then it must be do-able and I must be wrong. I finally just said “screw it, I dont care what the magazine says or doesn’t say, I’m getting out at least a lightweight stabilizer. Night and day y’all, night and day. When your instincts are screaming at you – don’t be pig headed, listen! try! do!

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Now you REALLY see the puckers in the previous picture, don’t you?

Here’s one final picture, just because I like it even if it didnt fit in the body of this post. Trust me, I tried to force it!

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Hope you’re having a great week – I can’t wait to see what everyone is working on! Think I might have missed something fab? Be sure to link me and I’ll come by and check it out!

Want to see all the posts related to this project? Here’s a handy dandy index!


  1. Hi Suedre – I’m a bit behind here aren’t I?! Lovely to catch up, and this is looking really fab! It’s a bit late for you now, but for future ref (and your readers!) you might find this video from Sarah Fielke useful for a different technique for making ‘perfect’ applique circles – with tin foil. Yes, kitchen foil!!! (No stabiliser) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2INxkVfGyqE
    lol s πŸ™‚

    • Better lat than never! I like her technique a lot. I’ll certainly have to put it on my list of things to try. Thanks for the info!

  2. Just love these blocks! I didn’t use stabilizer, but did use spray adhesive. I couldn’t just pin it either…Worked okay, but I can see stabilizer being even better.

    • Thank you! I didnt even think about spray adhesive. That’s a pretty good plan too!

  3. I just LOVE these stripey dresdens. Good advice on the stabilizer–and following your instincts.

    P.S. You really need to play The Name Game and tell us how you chose your blog name! email me if you are interested, okay?

    • Thank you! I like them too. πŸ™‚

      Sure, I’m happy to play! I’ve been meaning to explain it anyway. πŸ™‚ I’ll email you!

  4. This looks fab and those little feet just complete the picture perfectly. For Dresden centres I use a circle of card (usually a cereal packet) and iron it really hard then cut the basting and ease the card out. I find it gives a better circle because it doesn’t band like freezer paper so you can pull your running stitches tighter.

    • Ohhhh that’s nice! I bet it does work a zillion times better. I struggle with the freezer paper in general (it doesnt stay stuck!). Thanks for the tip, I’ll use it for sure.


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