BLOCK Friday: Dresden Plate Quilt Block

This week’s quilt block is reminiscent of a flower or even spokes on a wheel. The Dresden Plate quilt block has a unique quality about it. It lends itself to so many different interpretations, making it versatile in many ways and open for interpretation. What do you think this block looks like?

Look at the quilt below and you’ll see what I mean. The Dresden quilt blocks in Dresden Botanica are pretty flowers, but they also have a rigidity to them that almost gives them an industrial look. The floral border counteracts that rigidity perfectly, softening the look of the whole quilt and creating a visual balance.

Dresden Botanica digital pattern

The Dresden Plate quilt block is made up of “petals” radiating from a center circle.  The tips of the Dresden Plates tend to be rounded, pointed, or flush with the body of each plate. You can change up the look of this block by varying the sizes of the petals or the center circle and by alternating the points of the petals between rounded and pointed.

Speaking of varying Dresden Plate designs, they need not always be challenging. This pretty, spring table topper, Hard Candy, has a simple design. Simple, yet impactful.

Hard Candy digital pattern

The Dresden Plate design isn’t always used in quilts, by the way. You can catch this design in quilting notions, like this cute pincushion.

Dresden Plate pincushion

Or, in quick-stitch Dresden Plate pillows, like the one pictured here.

Dresden Plate pillows digital pattern

Or, in a stylish, vintage apron. These Sweet n’ Simple Aprons come in several different designs, the Dresden Plate included. These aprons are great for using up your fabric scraps! Mary Fons shows off Erika Mulvenna’s vintage aprons in this fun (and free!) trunk show.

Sweet n' Simple Aprons digital pattern

But, alas, it always comes back to the quilts. We might take on a side project or two, but the quilts are our passion. So, here’s one more featuring the Dresden Plate quilt block called Kaffe’s Garden at Night. It doesn’t get much more impactful than this! Bright Dresden Plate quilt blocks in a traditional setting with an appliquéd border really packs a punch. If you’d like to make a statement, this quilt does it for you.

Kaffes Garden at Night

There are a lot of qualities about the Dresden Plate quilt block that make it a fun project. you can change up your fabrics, the size of the block, appliqué the Dresden Plate to your quilt, or make a pillow. Whatever you do with the Dresden Plate quilt block, you’ll be proud of yourself for your work and pleased with the results.


Happy Quilting!
Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter Online Editor


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Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.

26 thoughts on “BLOCK Friday: Dresden Plate Quilt Block

  1. I have made a couple of Dresden plate quilts and a few lap quilts in the Dresden heart pattern. I don’t get to quilt much anymore because of problems with my hands, but I still love to see the pictures of the beautiful quilts in the magazines,

  2. I am in the process of making a quilt for my daughter using the Dresden Plate pattern and 1930’s reproduction fabrics. Love this design I think it is flowers.

    1. Oh, Laura, it is quite easy! Perhaps you could take a class in it or have a friend that has done that block. As I said in my post, it is one of the first blocks I learned.

  3. I love Dresden blocks…they are so flowery and yet, they aren’t girly unless you make them out of pink. My only problem with the Dresden Botanica IMHO is the choice of the colors/prints is too dark. You are correct…it does look very industrial…I do like the border print very much, it helps to bring the colors of the Dresden blocks together. Maybe a lighter background with dark flowers would look better on the Dresden?

  4. I never thought of a Dresden plate as having an industrial look to it but you are so right. Done in shades of grey with occasional red accents would be fantastic. Thank you for giving me this additional thought about a block that I absolutely love.

  5. I am not usually drawn to a quilt made with a Dresden Block design but I love the Dresden Botanica quilt. For me, it is definately the floral border fabric that changes my perspective. Thank you for “eye opener”.

  6. The Dresden Plate was one of the first blocks I learned to quilt. It is still one of my favorites whether it is done in scraps or in a colorway!

  7. I am making my first Dresden Plate for my son and daughter-in-law. She is an art major and helped select the fabrics. They are beautiful and cheery. I am ready to add the borders, then get it off to a quilter.

  8. I am having trouble with printing your free patterns. You give me permission to print but all I get is blank sheets with a few small words at the bottom of the page. Can you help. ?

  9. I’m hoping you can help…my blocks lie flat at the outside, but the inside, open circle pops up a little. I’m afraid to add the fabric circle to cover the opening until I can get it to lie flat. Should I make the seam allowances bigger or smaller, or will starch and a hot iron flatten it out? Thank you!!