/ / Baby Dresden Block Quilt – Free Fat Quarter Quilt Pattern!

Baby Dresden Block Quilt – Free Fat Quarter Quilt Pattern!

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Sew a darling baby quilt (or lap sized quilt) with my Dresden quilt block pattern that looks like gently whirling badminton birdies! Whether you see the quarter Dresden flowers on this quilt that way or not, it’s still a beautiful way to combine applique and piecing together with your favorite fabrics to make a 50’’ square quilt.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below contains everything you need to sew the free Birdies Baby Dresden Quilt and is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $2 is totally optional.


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For the ‘Birdies’ (Dresden blocks) I used cotton fabrics from Tilda, a lesser known company with charming prints and very soft textiles. My background fabric is linen chambray, which I chose because I fell in love with the color. I found linen to be not ideal for quiltmaking, however, because it shifts so much during cutting that it is hard to cut in precise squares. Thankfully, I was able to make it work but when I make this quilt pattern again, I’ll only use cotton fabrics.


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The Dresden quilt blocks design is a timeless classic and can be pieced together by hand or by machine. The blossom is sewn to the background fabric by applique or using tricky pointed seams.

I chose to make my ‘Birdie’ dresden blocks with machine sewing to connect the blades, and then applique to attach the blossoms to the background fabric. To me these were the simplest methods and produced the prettiest results.

Let’s sew my free Birdies Dresden Quilt Pattern!

Click here to download the free Dresden block pattern templates

You will need:

  • Approximately 2 yards of fabric total for the dresden blades. I cut my pieces from 10 different fat quarters with fabric leftover.

  • 1/4 yard of fabric for the birdie points

  • 2 1/2 yards of background fabric

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the binding

  • at least 3 yards plus 2’’ of backing fabric

  • a piece of quilt batting at least 55’’ x 55’’

Cutting:

1. Use Template A (from the free downloadable templates) to cut a total of 93 blades. As you are choosing fabrics for the Dresden ‘birdies’ and cutting out the blades, plan for:

  • 15 birdies that are made up of 5 blades each

  • 6 partial birdies that are made up of 3 blades each.


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2. Use Template B to cut 21 birdie points.

Tip: First cut 21 squares, each 2 1/2’’ x 2 1/2’’. Then pin the template to each square and you’ll only have to cut the curved part.

OR use an old CD or DVD as a rigid template to cut the curve on each 2 1/2’’ square as seen above.

3. From your background fabric, cut:

  • 12 squares 13’’ x 13’’

  • 3 squares 18 1/4’’ x 18 1/4’’


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Make the Dresden Blades

1. Fold each piece cut from Template A in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch across the wider end with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


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I like to keep the blades for each ‘birdie’ together so my sets of 5 and 3 are organized.

2. Snip the points at the fold to cut away the extra fabric without cutting the stitches.


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3. Press each short seam open. Then turn the point right side out and carefully push out the corner. Press flat.

Tip: I’m using a wool pressing mat to help me make my pressed pieces very crisp and flat.


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Sew and press all of the Dresden blades, keeping them together in 12 sets with 5 blades and 6 sets with 3 blades.


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4. Place 2 Dresden blades from the same set right sides together. Pin and stitch along the right side with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

Press the seam open.


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5. Place the next dresden blade on top, right sides together and stitch.

Continue adding blades until you have attached all the blades in one set together and pressed the seams open.


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Make 15 dresden pieces that have 5 blades and 6 dresden pieces that have 3 blades.


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Make and Attach the Birdie Points

1. Use long basting stitches to sew along the curved edge of each piece cut from Template B.

Leave long tails of thread at each end and do not backstitch.


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2. Pull the bobbin thread very slightly to help the edge curl a bit. Then carefully press the curved edge to the wrong side along the stitching.


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3. Pin a birdie point to each set of 5 blades.

The pressed curved edge should overlap the raw edges at the bottom of the dresden set by about 1/4’’.

If the point is pinned in the right place, the straight edges of the point will align with the straight edges on the set of blades.

4. Sew the point to the blades close to the fold with thread that matches the point.


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Sewing the partial birdies is tricky because you need 3 for one side of the quilt and 3 for the other side. Pay close attention to the following steps.

5. Pin and stitch a birdie point to one of the sets of three blades as seen above.

Notice that the straight edge of the first blade is lined up with a horizontal line on my mat. The blade points are on the right and the birdie point is on the left with one straight edge also lined up along the same horizontal line.


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6. Use a ruler and fabric pen to draw a straight line from the birdie point to the point on the third blade.


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Then trim away the extra fabric 1/4’’ above the drawn line.

Note: make sure not to trim on the line, but 1/4’’ above it.

Make and trim 3 partial birdies like this.


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7. Pin and stitch a birdie point to a set of three blades as seen above.

Notice that the straight edge of the first blade is lined up with a horizontal line on my mat. This time the blade points are on the left and the birdie point is on the right with one straight edge also lined up along the same horizontal line.


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Use a ruler and fabric pen to draw a straight line from the birdie point to the point on the third blade.

Then trim away the extra fabric 1/4’’ above the drawn line.

Note: make sure not to trim on the line, but 1/4’’ above it.

Make and trim 3 partial birdies like this.


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When you are finished making the partial birdies, you will have 3 for each side of the quilt.

On each partial birdie, the blade that is cut will go on a side edge of the quilt.


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Make the Birdie Blocks and Setting Triangles

1. Place a Dresden birdie on the corner of a 13’’ square of background fabric with the straight edges aligned. Pin well.


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2. Stitch the dresden birdie to the block, sewing only along the top points of the blades, close to the edge.


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3. Trim and square up the block so that it is 12 1/2’’ x 12 1/2’’.
Try to cut as little of the birdie shape as possible.

If desired, turn the block over and trim away the background fabric behind the dresden birdie, leaving 1/4’’ seams.

Make 12 Birdie Blocks.


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4. Subcut a 18 1/4’’ square diagonally twice to make 4 setting triangles.

Repeat with all three 18 1/4’’ square so you have 12 setting triangles.


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5. You should have 3 remaining birdies. Sew each one to one of the 90 degree angles on a setting triangle.


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6. Sew each of the partial birdies to a setting triangle as seen above.

It is very important that you place the cut edge (where the blade is almost cut in half) along the longest edge on the setting triangle.

Make 3 setting triangles that point to the left and 3 setting triangles that point to the right.


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Sew the Blocks and Setting Triangles Together

1. Arrange the blocks and setting triangles as seen above.

Note that:

  • The 12 blocks are in the center

  • The 3 setting triangles with a birdie in the 90 degree angle are at the top

  • The 6 setting triangles with partial birdies are on the sides

  • There are 3 plain setting triangles at the bottom.


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2. Sew the blocks and triangles together in diagonal rows, as seen above. Use a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


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3. Finally, sew the diagonal rows together with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


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Finishing the Birdies Baby Dresden Quilt

1. Cut the backing fabric in half and sew it together to make a piece big enough for the back of the quilt (at least 55’’ x 55’’).

2. Sandwich the quilt top, batting, and backing together and baste (I like pin basting with quilter’s safety pins).

3. Quilt the quilt top as desired.

4. Cut 5-6 strips of binding 2 1/2’’ x width-of-fabric (or as desired) and sew them together using diagonal seams. Bind the quilt using your preferred method. See how I bind my quilts by machine here.

Happy Quiltmaking!


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