I had the opportunity to work with a local client to create three memory quilts. It was initially going to be a commission for three lap-sized quilts. We looked at various examples of projects and she really like the Dresden Plate design. The challenge was to work with the 27 ties she gave me.

I started by looking up Dresden Plate tutorials. There is a good one here. It uses 12 pieces. I made a sample using some scrap fabrics to get a feel for things.

After a lot of calculations, determining that the widest section of tie I could cut is 3″, trying to divide 27 ties into three quilts and make the biggest design, I used this tutorial and templates. I used the 16 plate design and extended the design to 9″ (cut). The finished design is 17″ in diameter.

The next step of the process was to select a background fabric. My client and I went to Joanns and settled on a solid that we felt made the ties pop.

Options for the border included a piano key design, but after looking at examples, we settled on a pieced border. I cut the pieces 3″ x 10″ and then sewed them together on the bias. Finally, I used a double fold quilt bias for the binding.

As we worked through the design process, I laid out the fabric on the floor and put the ties on it. Getting close to putting it together, I asked one of my friends for ideas and she thought that the Dresden plate was a little lost on a 42″ square. So I shortened things up until my client and I settled on this size. It is a much better fit than the initial layout. The final size is 33″ square.

I used the remaining fabric to create tabs. I sewed a 3″ x 9″ piece of tie to black fabric.

I quilted the ties directly to the batting and backing around the perimeter. I also stitched the center circle on. Ideas for the quilting, which we wanted to keep simple, included a diamond design, radiating lines extending from the seams of the plate, and the simple diagonal quilting lines that we use.

This turned out to be a wonderful project – mostly because of the meaning it gives to my client and her daughters in memory of her husband and their father – but also because it’s a beautiful quilt.