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Thread: Background size?

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlvaStitcher's Avatar
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    Background size?

    Back in the 70's or 80's (I'm guessing) my late mother pieced together over 60 Dresden Plate blocks which I now have and want to make into a quilt. My question...how much bigger do I cut the background squares in proportion to the size of the plates? Is there any standard for this?

  2. #2
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    Personal preference, how big do you want your quilt to be, are you going to use sashing? How big are the Dresden Plates?

    I would work backwards and forwards. Frist determine how big the plates are. Then think about how big you want the quilt to be and what layout you will use. Then add in sashing if you are going to use it and lastly determine how big the blacks should be
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    Power Poster Homespun's Avatar
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    I made one with old Dresden plates and added 2.5 inches all the way around.
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  4. #4
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    How do you plan to quilt it? If you intend to SITD around the plates and down the sections only, do 2 inches around so you don't have big unquilted bits in the corners. If you plan to quilt SITD around the plate and then another design in the corners, go as big as you want.

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    i think the answer is "what looks good to you"

    remember to allow for the seam allowances - on both the dresden plates and the seam allowances.

    do you know if your Mom used washed or unwashed fabrics?

    if this was my project - inwould make sure all my "new" comp9nents were washed (shrunk)

    and i would carefully soak the plates in hot water for about an hour - lay them on towels to dry - and go from there.

    my reason for doing that - i think uneven shrinkage is unattractive .

  6. #6
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I don't think there is a set space. I have several vintage Dresden Plate quilts and they are all different but a ballpark figure would be 2-4 inches.
    I'd love to see them! I love vintage.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    i think the answer is "what looks good to you"

    remember to allow for the seam allowances - on both the dresden plates and the seam allowances.

    do you know if your Mom used washed or unwashed fabrics?

    if this was my project - inwould make sure all my "new" comp9nents were washed (shrunk)

    and i would carefully soak the plates in hot water for about an hour - lay them on towels to dry - and go from there.

    my reason for doing that - i think uneven shrinkage is unattractive .
    I never would put any kind of fabric in hot water. This would age new fabric and weaken it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I never would put any kind of fabric in hot water. This would age new fabric and weaken it.
    I do not agitate the fabric - that is what I think weakens it.

    I agree that some fabrics should not be put in hot water. As far as that goes, some should not even by touched by any water.

    How does putting fabric in hot water weaken it? Does ironing it with a hot steam weaken it also?

    For my purposes, I feel that the cottons should be soaked in hot water before cutting them. My items go to people that have young children - and I want to make sure that the fabrics will not bleed or shrink when washed "with gentle care."

    I do recommend washing a finished quilt in cool to warm water - on a gentle cycle - and drying on low to medium heat - or drying flat . I do not recommend line drying.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I never would put any kind of fabric in hot water. This would age new fabric and weaken it.
    I said that is what I would do if it were mine. Of course, I would check the fabrics first to see if they were strong enough to be washed. I would also check the seams to see if they would hold together. If the fabrics were too weak to be washed, I am not sure what I would do with the project.

    I know that many others do not let their fabrics touch water before they are cut. That is their choice. I've had enough unpleasant surprises to take the extra step. Many others have said they have never, ever, ever had any problems.

    The unpleasant surprises I had occurred with gentle, tepid water washing - which is why I try to make sure that items that I expect to be washed can tolerate the process without bleeding and (much) further shrinkage.

    I had acquired this cute skirt with an adorable appliqué on it (it seemed to be made of cotton). It was a yard/rummage/garage sale purchase and it smelled a bit funky. I washed it by hand (actually, in water in a dishpan - but I swished it around by hand) - and when it was dry, the appliques had shrunk a lot - so much so that it was impossible to iron/press the fabric under them flat.

    Also - if one (or more) of the fabrics in the Dresden plates has bad manners, it/they could be replaced comparatively easily before they are attached to any background fabric.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 04-25-2018 at 08:05 PM.

  10. #10
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    Some ways I have managed to weaken fabric

    by scorching it with an overly hot iron
    by bleaching it
    by leaving it in the sun too long
    by hanging a heavy item on the line on a very windy day
    by letting it twist in a washer or dryer

    I've heard that hydrogen peroxide can also weaken fabric.

    I have found so many ways to goof things up - I'm sure I'll come up with a few more -

    I'm just trying to share my mistakes and what did not work for me.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 04-25-2018 at 08:09 PM.

  11. #11
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    Well, this topic sure got off the question, didn't it? Hey, I remember the 70s and 80s. That was an era of poly blends and before quilters thought they didn't need to be purists in what they used in their quilts. They used what they had and some of those poly blends were nice. Unless you find the plates to be unacceptable to be handled (dirty or too smelly), I'd look at them for what was used and, if they are not something totally out there, I'd put them on a background of a size that is pleasant to you and quilt it before washing. Once that is secure on the background and quilted, it probably isn't going to shrink appreciably. As to background size, I agree with those who have mentioned what you want to do with the "blank" space and sashing, considering the size you hope the quilt to be. Congratulations on the rescue of these and wanting to finish your mother's work. She will be pleased to be looking over your shoulder! Wow--60 of them!! (Again, I recommend not washing until those plates are stabilized. You may end up with them falling apart.)
    Last edited by illinois; 04-26-2018 at 03:41 AM.

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    Audition different sizes. Figuring in sashing and borders, how big do you want the quilt top to be.

  13. #13
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    Do you like an "open" look - lots of "blank" space around the Dresden Plates?

    Or do you like them looking more "closed in" by almost touching the sashing or each other?

  14. #14
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    I checked my Dresden plate quilt (a gift from a friend) and it has 12.5" plates and is on a 15" finished background. It has a 3" finished sash. I have some plate blocks I bought at an estate sale and they are 8.25" on 12" unfinished background. The sashing for that one is cut at 3" unfinished.

    I'm with klswift, just try it on different sizes and see what you like. Dummy up the sashing, too and see how wide you think that should be. Dresden Plate is so pretty, you can't possibly go wrong.

    bkay

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