Swirly Twirly Dresden

I finally have the paper piece pattern ready for the Swirly Twirly Dresden.  This was definitely a labor of love which only survived because so many of you loved the design.

My original pattern was hand drawn and then scanned into my computer and copied onto paper.  It worked great for my personal use but I wanted a clean copy that I could share with the universe.  After all, my hand drawn copy was drafted on freezer paper and included millions of lines that were drawn, erased, drawn, erased….you get the picture.  When it was scanned and copied it just didn’t pass my OCD perfectionist personality.

If you read my Computers are Devil post you know I suffered a melt down when I tried to trace over my original pattern in Illustrator.  I finally gave up and started completely over.  I recreated the design in LibreOffice Writer {basically Word}.  That means this one is a bit different than the original but I think it’s better.  The angles and spacing are more consistent which makes me a happy camper.

The final step was breaking it into two pieces using Photoshop.  {Thanks mom!}  It was a bit of a nightmare and I know most of this nightmare was my own fault.  I should have just shared the original scanned copy but it wasn’t pretty.

Anyway….enough rambling about my insane inability to let things go.  Let’s get to the pattern.

You can print the Swirly Twirly Dresden pattern here.  After you print the paper piece templates you do need to trim it up a bit.  It was hard to estimate the 1/4″ seam allowance in Photoshop so it’s actually a little too big.

Each end needs to be trimmed down to a 1/4″ for the seam allowance.  Note** I’m only showing one trimmed edge but all 4 need to be trimmed.

I also trimmed off the excess paper so it wouldn’t get in my way.

You can see that I didn’t number the pieces.  That’s because it really doesn’t need it.  You start at one end and add pieces until you curve around to the other end alternating colors as you go.  I used white on the skinny wedges and color on the fat wedges.

Both pieces are together and ready to join.  Word of advice…it took me a couple tries to get the circle to join perfectly.  I had to rip out and redo it because my circle didn’t line up right.  But I promise it will work.

I would suggest testing before sewing.  I pinched the pieces together in my fingers and then opened up the pieces.  If the circle didn’t line up I could slide the pieces up or down until it was right.  It’s hard to explain but it should make sense when you are constructing the circle.  If not, email me {quiltinglodge@gmail.com} and I’ll help you out.

Here’s another look at the original Swirly Twirly Dresden.

And now for the new Swirly Twirly Dresden.

I didn’t realize until after this one was all finished that I made a boo boo.  I wanted the center circle to be white.  Duh…I’m not sure why I used orange.  I guess it’s good I messed up because you can see how it looks both ways.  I think I like the white center better.

Here’s a version using black as the background.  I think this one might just be my favorite!

The center circle is 3 3/4″ in diameter and the complete Dresden is a 10″ circle.

I used two different techniques for applying the Dresden to the background fabric.  The original {pink} was kind of reverse appliqued.  The back ground fabric is on top of the Dresden.  This method works great if you just can’t get the circle to line up perfectly because it hides the outer edges.

The second {orange} Dresden was appliqued onto the top of the background fabric.  I don’t have any raw edges because I sewed the Dresden to a white circle {right sides together} and then flipped it right sides out.  Then I sewed the Dresden to the background fabric.

This is my favorite method because I don’t like that I can see the seam on the pink block.  The orange block just looks cleaner to me.

This really wasn’t a step by step tutorial but it should be enough for you to make the Swirly Twirly Dresden.  Plus, I’m open for ideas on how to finish it off, i.e. attaching it to the background.

I think I’ve rambled long enough.  I hope you will let me know if you make the block and if you have any trouble.

76 thoughts on “Swirly Twirly Dresden

  1. 1
    Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing with us! I just might use this for my stripper row this month – depending on how scrappy I’m feeling about paper piecing.

  2. 2
    Mommarock says:

    Oh my gosh!! This turned out AWESOME!! Thank you SOOOOOO much for all the efforts you put into this.. I LOVE IT!!

  3. 3
    Diann says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I seems like you went to a lot of trouble to do so, and I appreciate it.
    You asked how we would attach to background. I would hand applique, mainly because I think that’s what looks the best. It’s such a matter of personal preference though.

  4. 4
    Mara says:

    I agree with you the white circle looks better and the applique is more clean, but do you think once you add batting and the background fabric for a quilt you won’t see the white outline on the pink one?

  5. 5
    beaquilter says:

    wow! that’s amazing!

  6. 6
    Shar says:

    I’m so excited to try this out. It looks so fun! Thanks for sharing.

  7. 7
    marth225 says:

    very nicely done. The hardest part is making the pattern

  8. 8
    Pam says:

    thanks for sharing love this block

  9. 9
    kadyb says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Vicki. I am definitely going to give it a try soon – love the look! I inherited a bunch of traditional Dresdens from my mom and have been trying for years to decide what to do with them. One of my sisters made a pillow with her favorite and then passed them on. Haha. Kathi

  10. 10

    These blocks have such a neat look to them! I’m coveting your purple cutting mat – Martinelli is a brand I’m not familiar with but I really need an alternative to dark green Olfa.

  11. 11

    Thanks so much for sharing the block – you went to a lot of work and we really appreciate it!!! I’m hoping to try it out soon :*)

  12. 12
    Colleen says:

    That in wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us. One thing tho…it is way over my skills for right now. Maybe someday when I have more time to learn this I can try it. 🙂

  13. 13
    Lori says:

    this is great. thanks for the instructions and pattern. this really looks like fun. will have to go give it a try.

  14. 14
    Kathy says:

    Wow, you really did put a lot of work into this and I thank you so much for sharing it! These past couple days I have been paperpiecing for the first time. I like it but have to remember to go slow. I had to rip out a couple sections and that’s not fun on paper . . . makes that paper stitching line very weak the next time around! I talk to myself when that happens, and I don’t say nice words to me . . . .

  15. 15
    Farm Quilter says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! You are incredibly wonderful to share all your hard work with us!!! Love it and can’t wait to try it out. Just amazing!!!

  16. 16
  17. 17
    littlelixie says:

    Brilliant! And I love the orange centre. Really kind of you to spend time on this when you could have been sewing!

  18. 18
    Sallie says:

    Very nice! Thanks for sharing!

  19. 19
    ritainalaska says:

    really great pattern … love this swirly twirly gresden! i prefer the orange dresden appliqued to the backgrond. have only done one piece of reverse and messed it up. i like the circle turning for this.

  20. 20
    Kaynik says:

    You did a great job on explaining it all. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this and share it with everyone!

  21. 21
    mtnquiltr says:

    Thanks for all the hard work you did getting this pattern ready for us. I’m going to give it a try!

  22. 22
    Andrea says:

    Totally amazing job, Vicki! You done mighty fine, Lady. Thanks for all your OCD-driven work! 🙂

  23. 23
    Connie says:

    Beautiful Vicki and thanks so much for sharing and all the hard work you put into it!! Love it!

  24. 24
    giddy99 says:

    This is SO awesome; thanks for creating a tutorial! I hope to try this within the next week or so!!!

  25. 25
    CitricSugar says:

    Thanks for sharing the pattern for this dresden – I’ve been so intrigued by it!!

  26. 26
    Ali says:

    I am so all over this, thank you for all the effort!

  27. 27
    littlelixie says:

    Just printed and one extra comment to add – turn off the ‘fit to page’ tick box. It slightly distorts the design. Hooray! I’m going to try this out at the weekend.

  28. 28
    Jacqueline says:

    Not sure I am willing to tackle this right now but I really enjoyed walking thru the steps with you. Thanks so much for sharing and all your hard work.

  29. 29
    LJ says:

    Thank you so much; I really appreciate the pattern. I agree; I like the white center best.

  30. 30
    Karrie S says:

    I am SO happy you posted this today! I really loved these the other day, and I’m going to make one soon. They look SO cool.

  31. 31
    Lisa E says:

    Thank you for persevering. Really cool block!

  32. 32
    Carolyn says:

    Thanks for putting the pattern together for us! Looking forward to giving it a try.

  33. 33
    Cyn says:

    Thank you for sharing such a great drawing! Love it. I’ve printed it out and hope to play with it tomorrow… I am so excited. Thanks again. 😉

  34. 34

    Hi I just ran into your friend at Ruby Street Quilt Shop today. When I saw her amazing block from this pattern with the bright colored fabrics against the black background it took my breath away! WOW is an understatement as the block is so unique all on its own but combined with her color choice it is a truly inspirational and absolutely amazing!!! Hats off ladies you are all so very talented!

  35. 35
    Kira Bell says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. 36
    Kira Bell says:

    All I can say is WOW!

  37. 37
    Marg says:

    Thank you so much for going through the pain of making that tutorial. It’s an amazing block, I can’t wait to try it.

  38. 38
    NancyB85374 says:

    I love this block. Thank you so much for sharing.

  39. 39
    Ali says:

    I did end up making one and put it on a pillow back, I think I have the hang of it now and will probably try it again and use the prettier finishing methods you did!


  40. 40
    Angela Moore says:

    Congratulations on your pattern. It is truly a work of art.

  41. 41
    Joy Burkhart says:

    Wow, Vicki, what a beautiful block!
    You put so much effort into it, and it is much appreciated. I’m going to make this into a mug rug or a candle mat for my sister. I’ll just pad the circle with some batting, & add a backing! She will flip! So cool!

  42. 42
    Sharon says:

    Wow Vicki I just love it..I am going to have to try it…I will let you know the results…thank you

  43. 43
    liniecat says:

    Love this dresden version, thank you so much for sharing it!

  44. 44
    Joann Drye says:

    I love this block, if I can just get it straight in my head about paper pieceing… I have read every book, every article and some how it just never comes out the same but I think I can piece it the regular way… Glad I found your blog!
    Joann in Oklahoma

  45. 45
    LynCC says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s a VERY fun block!

  46. 46
    natalia says:

    so interesting and creative! I love
    unusual and original pattern/ Thank you so much for inspiration!

  47. 47
    Nima says:

    that is so nice of you vicki to take so much effort to share the pattern with us. I have to try it soon…if i finish it decently(i’m also a person with OCD..lol)…i’ll come back and show you. thank you so much.

  48. 48
    Pam says:

    That is really pretty, I voted!!

  49. 49
    Rah says:

    I just found this via Pinterest, and it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  50. 50

    Thank you so much. This is really neat! I can’t wait to try it.

  51. 51

    Love this…nice modern looking block…on my “To Do List”

  52. 52
    Mom2Caleigh says:

    Thank you so much – I LOVE the pattern.

    I am sure I am doing something wrong, but when I try to print the pattern, only 1/2 prints. When I look at print preview I only see 1/2 as well. Please help if you can – I really want to make this block!!

  53. 53
    Mary Jane says:

    Love this pattern and its many possibilities. Thank you for sharing.

  54. 54
    DonnaRae says:

    This is just so awesome. And PP is my fav way to sew blocks.

  55. 55
    KaHolly says:

    I’m quite smitten with this pattern. Thank you so much for your efforts and for sharing. I can’t wait to give it a try!!

  56. 56
    Ann J says:

    just found the tutorial this week and couldn’t wait to try it = my first attempted is finished and !! Thanks for sharing !

  57. 57
    elana613 says:

    This is gorgeous! How wide is the widest fan? Could I use a jelly roll for the fan blades? Good work on making the pattern – computers are the greatest tools, but can be so frustrating! Thanks for your efforts.

  58. 58
    lindak21 says:

    This is amazing! So glad it’s making the rounds again. Anxious to try your block. YES, thanks for all of your hard work!

  59. 59
    Anonymous says:

    thank you sew much for sharing this with all of us. It is just beautiful and will be great fun to try! Mary

  60. 60
    beverleyb says:

    Thank you, just made my first one , pattern worked perfectly, thank you for sharing. Off to start number 2!

  61. 61
    Judy says:

    Made 4 of these for the corners of my niece’s quilt. Pattern wwas perfect! I used my printer to increase the size 15 percent to get the size block I needed and it worked!

  62. 62
    Meriul says:

    I just finished making this and it turned out great! I plan to machine quilt this by following the lines from the center outward. I will then attach it to insulation styrofoam, folding to the back and hanging it on the wall! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  63. 63
    Marcia says:

    I love this pattern. I would like your permission to use it when I teach a paper piecing class in November to my quilt guild, Casco Bay Quilters of Scarborough, Maine.

  64. 64
    variadee says:

    Totally awesome! Thank you. If you put one piece of tracing paper through the printer at a time, it makes sewing so much easier as you can see what you are doing and if there is enough room to flip,, etc. VBG

  65. 65
  66. 66
    Sherrie says:

    This is beautiful, thank you for all your hard work and inspiration! I can’t wait to make one myself and I also thought i would try it as a quilting template on the squares of my quilt and use trapunto under to show off the design more on the quilt. Without your idea, this thought would never have come to light. Thank you!

  67. 67
    Shelvatine Harris says:

    I tried it last night and I am hooked. I don’t know how I am going to applique it. I’m thinking about using the quilt as you go system for this quilt. Anyhow, this should be an adventure.

  68. 68
    Katie Hardie says:

    So glad I found your pattern. I love it so thank you for sharing it.

  69. 69
    Andi says:

    I love this pattern! Can’t wait to make it! Thank you so much for the templates and instructions!

  70. 70
    Ella says:

    I’m going to try attaching the sewn together (completed) Dresden plate circle to the background fabric by sewing (around the seam allowance of the plate’s circumference), lightweight Pellon fusible interfacing, right sides together, to the Dresden plate. DO NOT PRESS YET. Trim the seam allowance fairly close to your stitching around the circumference of the plate. Then cut a slit in the Pellon, pulling the Dresden plate through the slit in the Pellon in order to turn the plate right side out, at which point the little bumps of fusible Pellon will be on the outside of the back of the plate. Do a little FINGER PRESSING to flatten the plate. Next, place the plate on the background fabric where you want it to permanently be, THEN IRON THE PLATE TO THE BACKGROUND FABRIC. Follow up by stitching around the plate, either by hand or machine, with a somewhat narrow blanket stitch all around the circumference of the plate.

  71. 71
    Laura Freeman says:

    A “B I G” Thank you to the person who suggested turn OFF “Fit to Page” before printing!!!!!

  72. 72
    Rosemary says:

    Thanks for sharing this template! I love it!

  73. 73
    Yvonne J says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I absolutely love it! The multi-colored with black background is my favorite. I’m going to try it using batiks.

  74. 74
    Dale says:

    Thank you for sharing this pattern–really unique…..I have some beautiful batiks that I will use on this.

  75. 75
    AngieSewTherapy says:

    This pattern is soooo cute! I love it. You have really inspired me to make designs by paper piecing. Love this one!

  76. 76
    Marie Misgen says:

    Wow – thanks so much for your work, rework, etc., on this design…. thinking of a ‘Black Hole’ quilt, lol.
    Appreciate it !

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