Are you ready to join me on a paper piecing adventure? I’d love to have you! For my next quilt along, I will be sharing a 12-part tutorial series, showing you how to make a complete paper-pieced quilt from start to finish including machine quilting!
My block design was inspired by a traditional Dresden Plate block that I reinterpreted in EQ7 using hard edges and sharp angles rather than soft curves and circles. I renamed it Deco Dresden since so many friends on Instagram told me it looked like an art-deco design. :-)
8″ Finished Deco Dresden Unit – Designed in EQ7
When you place four of the Deco Dresden units together one way, they form a really cool sunburst block.
16″ Finished Sunburst Block
If you’d like to try a more modern, geometric look, you can sew your blocks together like this:
16″ Finished Geometric Pinwheel Block
One quick tip as you are planing your colors: By using a color gradation and placing similar values in the same spot you can create a pretty cool optical illusion effect, where the blocks look like they are leaning to the left or right (depending on the order of your gradation).
Can you see that the blocks all appear to be leaning to the right? – Putting negative space in between the blocks emphasizes the optical illusion. Size shown is 56″ x 64″.
If you would like to create a more traditional or contemporary look, balance out your color values so that the lighter colors are on the ends. Then set the blocks together side by side:
Here’s a more traditional/contemporary layout with the blocks in a straight set. Finished size is 48″ x 64″ as shown. Add extra background borders or more blocks to make it bigger.
For a completely different look, you can lay out the blocks individually like this:
As of now, I think this is the layout I’m going to choose – 64″ x 80″.
This is just the beginning of what you can do with this block! During the quilt along, I’ll share several more options of how you can set your blocks.
I will guide you through all the steps of paper piecing these blocks, but here’s a warning up front: paper piecing wastes fabric, and these blocks are very time-consuming since they contain a lot of pieces per block. So allow yourself plenty of time and don’t rush it. The actual piecing is pretty straight-forward and the paper piecing method I use can be applied to any paper pieced block design.
An early version of the block in a smaller size. All of that waste is just from one block!
One other thing – I will be showing you how to make the blocks and will include step by step cutting and assembly for the layout I choose. I encourage you to choose or create any layout you like, but you’ll have to figure out the additional math if needed. :-)
Group Quilt Along
Are you excited to explore the possibilities of this design? There’s no need to sign up and it’s completely free. The tutorials will be posted here on the blog, and you can join my facebook group Quilt With Christa to share pictures of your progress and get input from everyone else who is quilting along. I will also be posting real-time sneak peeks on facebook in between my scheduled blog posts. My facebook group is also a great place to trouble-shoot and ask questions!
For those of you who would like to share on Instagram, I will be using the hashtag #decoqal for this one. You can also share pics from any of my previous quilt alongs with the tag #christaquiltsqal.
This is enough to make 48 Deco Dresden blocks, 8″ x 8″. I have used Robert Kaufman Kona Solids in some of my favorite colors – red, orange and yellow for my version. For more variety and movement, choose a range of fabrics for each color family. And remember, choose colors that appeal to you!
- Background (Black): 3 yards for blocks only, or 5 yards if piecing in negative space or borders
- Color 1 (at least 3 assorted reds): 1 3/4 Yards Total
- Color 2 (at least 3 assorted yellows): 1 3/4 Yards Total
- Color 3 (at least 3 assorted Oranges): 2 1/2 yards Total
- Binding Fabric: Approx. 5/8 yard
- Backing Fabric: Approx. 5 yards
- Batting Piece: Approx. 68″ x 84″ (or at least 4″ bigger than your finished quilt size)
- Neutral to dark cotton thread for piecing. I recommend Aurifil 50 weight.
- Thread to match your fabrics for quilting. I recommend Aurifil 40 or 50 weight.
- Add a quarter ruler (I think the 12″ size is the most versatile.)
- A piece of thin but firm template plastic, or other thin hard edge such as a manilla folder or postcard
- 48 pieces of lightweight copy paper or specialty foundation paper
- Needles, size 90/14
- Washable glue stick or pins for securing the first piece
- Basic sewing supplies and rotary cutting equipment
- Iron and optional portable pressing mat
- Your can-do attitude – this is going to be fun!
Paper Pieced Quilt Along Schedule
- Part 1 – Intro and Supply List – Today!
- Part 2 – Cutting the Fabrics – May 13
- Part 3 – Sewing the First Block – May 20
- Part 4 – Sewing the Rest of the Blocks – May 27
- Part 5 – Exploring Alternate Layouts – June 3
- Part 6 – Sewing the Top – June 10
- Part 7 – Backing and Basting – June 17
- Part 9 – Machine Quilting – June 24
- Part 10 – More Machine Quilting – July 1
- Part 11 – Trimming and Binding – July 15
- Part 12 – Wrap up and Share Your Success! – July 22
Copyright and Permission Granted
I am very happy to share my knowledge with you free of charge during this quilt along. However, this information is for your personal use as a loyal reader of my blog. Please do not make copies of any part of this quilt along to distribute it to your friends. If you’d like to tell them about it, simply share my QAL site link with them and encourage them to come on over and join us.: ChristasQuiltAlong.com
If you’d like to share links to my site on Facebook or on your own blog, that is great, too!
At the conclusion of the quilt along, I will be happy to edit down all of the content and turn it into a pattern for sale, so that others can use my pattern as a teaching aid in the future. :-)
So who wants to quilt along?
When you’ve picked your fabrics, please share your stash over on my facebook group. I’d love to see what colors you are working with!