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ScanNCut Rotary Blade Quilt: part 2

In the second part of the Rotary Blade quilt project, we’re making Dresden Plates, also known as Dresden Fans. This is a traditional design that consists of blades (which we’re making into flower petals) and a centre.

Traditionally the blades are hand sewn together using paper pieces (English Paper Piecing) and then appliquéd to the background. However, we’re mixing things up and machine sewing these blocks together, which we will then appliqué in the traditional manner. Read on to find out how.

If you haven’t completed part one of the Rotary Blade Quilt yet, then please start here:
Rotary Blade Quilt Part 1
You will find all the fabric requirements, quilt sizes and all other information about the project in Part 1.
Dresden Fan Quilt in green and pink

How to:

Step 1: Find the Dresden Plate design

Follow the screens below to select design no AP-A012.
ScanNCut DX Display and stylus
ScanNCut DX Display and stylus
ScanNCut DX Display and stylus
ScanNCut DX Display

Step 2: prepare the background fabric and placement lines.

Cut the background fabric into eight 12” (30.5cm) squares with your rotary cutter. You will draw four blocks onto each 12” square, giving you 32 blocks.

Step 3: prepare the Dresden Plate design

Follow the steps above to find the design and scale to 5”.

Step 3a

Select the design outline. Select the drawing, and press “set”. On the screen, duplicate the design so you have four Dresden Plate units to your 12” square. Place them neatly so you have at least a ¼” / 7mm around each.

Step 3b

Press your background fabric squares well, make sure they are dry and place one on your fabric mat with right side up. Insert the blue water-soluble tip into the pen holder, insert into the machine and draw out the Dresden Plate outlines. Remove the mat and take the fabric off the mat.

Step 3c

Repeat with all eight 12” squares. Prepare 30 squares in total in this way – the eight mats will give you two spare. It’s always good to have a couple spare, just in case you make a mistake.
Piece of fabric with markings on wooden background

Step 4: prepare the flower petals

Following the screens above, navigate to the screen showing all the parts and select any one of the petals. Press set.

Step 4a

Navigate to the edit screen, press on the seam allowance button and set Seam Allowance to On. Make sure it is ¼ “ / 7mm.

Step 4b

Duplicate the petal enough times to fill your cutting mat. Move and rotate the pieces to get the maximum number onto one mat.

Step 4c

Save the mat layout to your machine. This way you can call it up and cut more pieces if you need them without having to go through all the prep again.

Step 4d

Place the pressed fabric on the fabric mat wrong side up and load your mat into the machine.

Step 4e

Insert the blue water-soluble tip in the pen holder and draw the sewing lines.

Step 4f

Change to the rotary blade or fabric blade and cut the pieces.

Use the table below to see how many pieces of each colour you need to cut. Do all the cutting before you start piecing.

Tip: all the flower petals are the same piece – you can set up one mat layout and use that to cut all the different colours of the flower petals (called blades).
Cutting Info Table

Step 5: assemble the squares and sew the flower petals

There are two layouts: Square A and Square B. The only difference is the sequence of the peach fabrics and the placement of the green piece. (See images below).
Two halfs of a pink and green dresden fan

Step 5a

Sew the five blades for each square together. Sew from the base to the tip, stopping exactly in the corner. Do a single stitch tie off.
individual pieces of dresden fan sewn together
individual pieces of dresden fan sewn together

Step 5b

Press seams between the blades open, and then press the seam allowances into the top by folding exactly on the lines.
individual pieces of dresden fan sewn together

Step 5c

Fold the tips on the petals on the drawn lines to the wrong side and press.
individual pieces of dresden fan sewn together

Step 5d

Place the petals on the background fabric. Pin in place on the drawn lines. The petals on the edges (in this case of the image below the green and the small peach print) will overlap the drawn line by  ¼” (7mm). The pressed points should match the lines on the background exactly.
Individual pieces of the dresden fan pinned to a piece of fabric

Step 5e: prepare the flower centre

On the top curved edge of the flower centre, sew a line of gathering stitches (straight stitch, stitch length 4mm) 3mm from the edge. Gently pull up and shape the piece so it folds to the wrong side on the curved line.
Dresden fan corner piece with markings

Step 5f

Press the fold and pin in place on the background fabric. The curve should lie exactly on the drawn curves at the base of the petals. At this point it will be difficult to see these lines, so place the folded edge ¼” / 7mm from the cut edge at the base of the petals, raw edge sides aligning with the petals’ raw edge sides. Pin in place.

Step 5g

Top stitch in place. Sew about 1mm from the edges all around the petal tips and the curved edge of the flower centre using a thread colour that will blend into all colours – a medium taupe is my favourite.
Dresden fan half sewn on fabric
Detail image of the seams
Detail image of the seams at corner piece

Step 6: trim to size

Press and then trim the square – it needs to be 5 ½” exactly. A perfect square will have two sides with the blade and centre just touching the edge, and two sides with the edge exactly ¼” / 7mm from the petal tips. Below shows the cutting lines (solid lines) and sewing lines (dotted lines).
Measurements of a half Dresden Fan

Step 6a

Trim the two sides where the petals are touching the sides first, making sure to trim right on the edge of the petals. Check that the corner is 90 degrees.
Half Dresden Fan cut into shape

Step 6b

Cut the opposite edges – place your ruler and square off to 5 ½”.
Half Dresden Fan measured with ruler
Half Dresden Fan cut into shape

A few tips to get it right!

  1. Press, press, press. The better your pieces are pressed, the easier it will be to get them square.
  2. Use the lines on your cutting mat and ruler to help you get the measurements and angles right. The corners must be 90 degrees.
  3. If your sewing is puckered, unpick the part that is causing the problem and flatten it first.

Step 6e

Make 15 x A (green on left) and 15 x B (green on right) Dresden Plate blocks.

Set them aside – once we have made the butterfly blocks (Part 3), we will assemble the borders.


We can’t wait to see your quilts coming together. Why not share your quilting journey with us on Instagram and Facebook?

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