Paper Pieced Quilt Along #5 – Exploring Alternate Layouts

How is everyone doing on their paper-pieced Deco Dresden blocks so far? I am seeing some beauties pop up over in my facebook group and on instagram (#paperpiecedqal). You know – half the fun of teaching is seeing how everyone makes my designs their own. I love it! For those of you who are new to my blog, please click here for the paper-pieced QAL homepage with links to all of the tutorials.

I am making a total of 48 blocks and this is how I will arrange them, once they are complete:

Double HelixThis layout, which I’m calling “Double Helix” requires an additional 32 background squares, cut 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Combined with the 48 pieced blocks, it’s a total of 80 blocks, set 8 x 10.

You could try a similar layout, but get a completely different look by rotating the blocks so that the points are opposite rather than facing. This would actually be an easier design to sew since you don’t have to match up all those points! Happy FansIf the empty corners bother you, just make 6 additional blocks to fill them in.

How about setting your blocks on point? This fan variation reminds me of clamshells and it requires 41 blocks plus setting triangles. (I haven’t figured out the math on this one but you could visit my quilty math page for hints on how to calculate it yourself). Add an optional border to make it bigger, in any size you like!

Raving Fans

If you’d rather set your blocks side to side in a grid format, here are a few more fabulous options:

Points OutPoints out, with a narrow outer border.

variationPoints in, with sashing between the rows and a narrow outer border.

I’m always one for a great optical illusion affect, so this layout really appeals to me, too. It has many more than 48 blocks and quite a few background squares, but at least it gives you another idea of what can be done with this design.


Finally you can try a simpler layout that alternates blocks and background squares for a more minimalist approach. This one calls for 50 pieced blocks and 49 background squares.

Simple Blocks

I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with options, but I love designs that allow so much room for creativity. Remember, you can make however many blocks you like and set them however you like – you are the boss of your quilt!

When you’ve completed several blocks, be sure to start playing around with layout and share pictures of your progress over on Facebook at Quilt With Christa. I created all of my layouts digitally using EQ7 but with a design wall and several pieced blocks, you can probably create just as many, if not more options just by rearranging your blocks!

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