Dresden Flower Garden Class Plan

by Blanche Young & Lynette Young Bingham

Notes to Shop Owners & Instructors
The Dresden Flower Garden technique is appropriate for all quilting skill levels. Chapter 3 covers the construction of the blocks (plates). We feel that the most important aspect of this design is color and value. Each block should be of similar color and value. Also, no two blocks should be exactly alike.

Number of Sessions
One or two all-day classes. In a one-day class, students will be able to cut many patches, arrange many "plates," and sew several, even appliquéing the centers by hand or machine.

For a second class, we recommend that it be held at least one week after the first so students can finish as many blocks as possible beforehand. It takes a lot of blocks to make any of the designs in the book. The second class can concentrate on designing settings in a variety of arrangements, as shown in Chapter 4 (settings and borders), in the project and gallery quilts throughout the book, and in the quilt layout section (page 59).

Supply List
See notes to instructor below before preparing supply list for students.

  • Required textbook: Dresden Flower Garden by Blanche Young & Lynette Young Bingham
  • Sewing machine in good working order
  • Basic sewing supplies: neutral thread, scissors, pins, seam ripper, etc.
  • Hand sewing supplies
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Rotary cutter and rotary cutting mat
  • Rotary rulers: 6" x 12" and 6" x 24"
  • Revolving cutting mat (optional)
  • Acrylic Dresden Flower Garden templates OR template plastic
  • Sandpaper dots for templates (optional)
  • Pencil or other fabric marker
  • Permanent felt tip marker
  • Scissors for cutting template plastic
  • Tag board or manila file folders
  • See below for fabric requirements

The acrylic templates are the best and most efficient tool in creating these blocks. The resource for these templates is shown in the book on page 63. Allow sufficient time to receive the templates before your class. We have not had any problem selling these templates in class - the cost is minimal and most students would rather buy them than make their own.

The teacher should furnish paper plates for use in class. Provide at least six paper plates per student. You will need 10" plates for the large block patches and 8" plates for the medium and small sizes.

The resource guide on page 63 also lists the Brooklyn Revolver revolving mat. We have found this tool to be very useful when cutting many patches. It is more efficient and cutting is quicker. A small mat placed on top of a larger mat also works well, as the student can rotate the smaller mat without disturbing the fabric to cut around all sides of the template. This also prevents the student from having to cut at awkward and uncomfortable positions. A small mat can also be placed on a lazy Susan with the same results.

Fabric Requirements
Students may want to concentrate on two or three color families for class purposes. Have them bring as many different fabrics and scraps in each color family as possible. A large variety of many different fabrics is what makes these quilts unique.

The fabrics should be separated in value groups of light, medium and dark, for example, a group of light blue fabrics, a group of medium blue fabrics, and a group of dark blue fabrics. Each "plate" will be made from these groups, for example, a light blue "plate" (finished block), a medium blue "plate," and a dark blue "plate."

Patches can be cut from almost any size scrap. The centers of the blocks can be cut from the scraps left after cutting the patches. We recommend that the centers not be cut until the plates are sewn together, so that the center of each block blends with the blocks, without a lot of contrast.

If students want to bring strips of fabric, they will need 6" strips for the large template, 4-1/2" for the medium template, and 3-1/2" for the small template. Most importantly, for class purposes, the students will not need very much of any one fabric - the idea is to have small amounts of many different fabrics in each color family.

Strip-Pieced Variation
You'll find this variation in the book beginning on page 52. If this is the variation being taught in the class, the students will need to bring strips of two contrasting fabrics for each block. For best results, we suggest making sure the contrast between the two fabrics for each block is strong.