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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning to do Dresdens.

Oh my goodness!! Husband is at work. Seth is at his dad's. Stephen is in bed. I ran around in circles for 5 minutes wondering which beloved thing I should do first!

Blogging won! Here is what I've been working on when I get a moment here and there. Hand sewing sure has been nice to take along with me through out my day on these busy days.

Months and months last spring sometime, my friend brought me a huge pile of clothes:

These clothes were mostly handmade. My friends mom passed away when my friend and her sister were just young girls. But the girls hung onto all their handmade dresses that their mom made them before she passed away.  My friend wants me to make 2 identical quilts out of these for her and one for her sister. 

We decided on a dresden/photo combo. It was going to be really pretty. I have some lacy things in the pile and all those buttons. I was going to make the photos kind of framed like and then put lace and buttons near the photos. BUT just last week my friend changed her mind and said no photos. (I don't much like doing commissioned projects for this reason.) So, I redesigned it over the weekend. I need to make 28 more dresdens to finish the quilts. OH MY!!! I guess this will be my hand project for quite sometime still!!!!

Here's what happening so far:

I started out by using a dresden ruler and making them on machine. The first two look like this:

OH...there are no centers on ANY of these until I get done. I haven't figured out which fabric to use where yet on the centers.  Now, on the machine, I had some trouble getting them to lie flat. This fabric was a mixture of knit and things though and I didn't think to use interfacing at the time. Also the points are not great at all. They don't line up well. I don't like them:

Not having even heard of EPP yet as this was last spring, I made some more, only this time I did corner fans.
I actually was going to make them into full dresdens and changed my mind. So I now have some extra little fans. That's a good thing. Fillers for where photos were going to be!
(But still by machine and not perfect)

So, then came EPP. I played around with some Hexies and things until I had the hang of it and moved onto making some dresdens for my friends quilts. This time I also used interfacing on the fabric. These are a different size so I designed the quilt to accommodate:

Lookie how nice those dresdens line up! Yippee Skippy!
I will NOW do dresdens by hand forever more!  

(Will somebody please explain to my husband how I can be more accurate by hand instead of by machine. He just doesn't get why I can't do better by machine at this. We got into quite a discussion about it one night.)

Ok, new problem. I was holding them side by side when whip stitching so that the stitches wouldn't show, but then I discovered a problem. They didn't lie as flat and sometimes would have gaps like this:

I know, hard to see but I don't like them. So I went back to normal whip stitching...and you can see my stitches:

Well, you can see them if you enlarge it. And believe me, they show up in person. 

So, which way to go??? I am going with seeing my stitches and doing regular whip stitches. Durability wins out. Only my next 16 dresdens are red and blue. So...which color thread do I use??

Well, regardless, I have been working on something! Of the dresdens shown above there are 2 of that multi colored brown,
8 of those corner fans, and 4 of those EPP dresdens. That's something anyway! More to come...eventually...
(good thing my friend is patient in the waiting game!)


Kelli said...

Beautiful dresdens.. :) And I'm sure that your friend and her sister won't even notice the points and the stitches, they will just love having the quilts as a memory and tribute to their mother. What a wonderful treasure you are giving them!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I've only done a few single dresdens to add for a block exchange or group quilt. I just found you have to really be on the mark with your 1/4" seam and occassionaly adjust seams giving to some fabric's stretch. Starch!! fabrics before cutting to cut down on the stretch. Press plates with damp cloth to work out oddities. Start stitching at the 'point' end to match up your inverted sections - you can always trim your inner circle.

Fiona said...

I love the colours you are using... and enjoyed reading the tips from Vroomans Quilts.... I have only done a few dresdens so share when you learn all the secrets!!

QuiltSue said...

Starch - that's the answer. Well, it's my answer anyway to almost everything. As for the thread to use, I think possibly a mid-grey will show less than many other colours.

Pat said...

Is that what that shape is called? Its beautiful - that's for sure!

Sharon said...

That is going to be so nice Tonya! I have a bag full of some of my daughter's kiddie clothes that she'd like me to make a quilt with. With different types of materials and some stretchy, I've heard that using a stabilizer on the backs help greatly. I don't think they are going to notice your stitches when they see the overall quilt. It's going to be so nice!!!

Mariliz said...

They look great!

Marcia - Crafty Sewing and Quilting said...

It is looking great! Love all the colors of the clothes. Don't worry about your stitches... You are working with all sorts of fabrics with all sorts of stretch! Do what Sharon says spray and starch and make little adjustments -- It will look great in the end! They will love it!
Enjoy your day!

rosie said...

What a great thing to do with treasured clothes.. I love the colors too Tonya..

Patty@Granma's said...

My Oh So busy friend:)
By the time you make all those dresdens you are going to be an expert! I believe the stablizer and starch are the best ideas, and I will just stick to my squares and strips..;-)

Stray Stitches said...

I've never made dresdens. I think yours look great and your friend will love them all.

Jill@northstarquilting said...

I've been having the thread colour problem with my hexagons. One fabric was a bold magenta and white stripe, when I used white it showed next to the magenta and when I used pink it showed up on the white!

Your dresdens look beautiful. I'm glad you got to have some "me" time x

Sara G said...

Neat stuff - very interesting pattern. Thanks for sharing!

Snoodles said...

I agree with others who have said that the stitches, while an eyesore to you, will not be something that these folks focus on, when they admire and snuggle under their quilts. Love Sharon's tips....gotta go write these down somewhere!