How to make the dresden plate quilt pattern

Like the crazy quilt, the Dresden plate quilt pattern was a favourite of the Victorians. The pattern was named for the German city that produced ornate china and quilters used a wide variety of luxurious fabrics to create the quilt. The basic pattern of the Dresden plate quilt, which features an appliqué hand sewing technique, can be altered to fit any style of decor and is also a great choice for those interested in recycling cotton clothing or linens.

Draw a four-sided image on the cardboard that measures 3 inches wide on one edge, 1 inch wide on the opposite edge and 6 inches long. Cut out the cardboard for a plate section template.

Place the template on a piece of fabric and draw around it with a fine tipped ink pen. Cut around the pen line, adding 1/4 inch. Repeat and use the template to cut out one piece each of all 20 fabrics.

Draw a circle on the cardboard, using the drinking glass as a guide. Cut out the circle and use it as a template to cut out one circle of fabric, adding 1/4 inch around the pen edge.

Cut out a square of muslin that measures 24 inches square. Pin the circle in the centre of the square.

Thread the needle with 24 inches of thread matching the fabric, or light grey thread, which will blend with a multicoloured fabric. Push one spot on the edge of the circle under, hiding the pen line completely, with the needle. Take a small stitch to secure the circle to the muslin. Repeat until the entire circle has been appliquéd to the muslin.

Pin one plate section to the muslin at the circle edge. Applique the plate section to the muslin using the same method as the circle appliqué. Pin a plate section to the opposite section of the circle and appliqué it to the muslin.

Continue adding plate sections until all 20 have been appliquéd around the circle to complete the Dresden plate quilt pattern square.


The Dresden plate sections can also feature a curved or pointed outer edge, if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Drinking glass
  • Scissors
  • 20 pieces of complementary cotton fabrics, 1/8-yard
  • Fine tipped ink pen
  • 1 yard cotton muslin
  • Straight pins
  • Needle, size 10
  • Thread
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About the Author

Linda Shepard has been staff writer for "C & G Newspapers" for over 10 years, covering local government and crime and serving as the newspaper's food writer. She has written for "Michigan Meetings Magazine" and is also the owner of, an online business of self-guided walking tours.