Wednesday, 6 April 2011

QAL - piecing the outer circle

You can join this QAL at any time.  The starter post is here and the Flickr group is here.  This week we are piecing the outer circle.  The outer circle is much easier to piece than the inner circle because bigger circles are easier to piece than smaller circles.  The process is the same as piecing the inner circle and here it is step by step.

1.   [Ignore this instruction if you have come here from the chubby dresden tutorial as your outer circle section is in one piece.  Go straight to instruction 2.]  Sew together the four outer circle pieces to make a square with a circle in the middle.  Place the square right side down and press the seams anticlockwise.

2.  Place the dresden circle right side up and lay the outer circle over it.

3.  Mark each seam on the outer circle (I use pencil).

4.  Rotate the outer circle round (or flip it over), match a seam with a pencil mark and pin.

5.  Move along to the next seam and pencil mark and pin again.  I only pin at the seams but pin half way between as well if you like.

6.   Continue pinning until the whole of the outer circle is pinned to the dresden circle.

7.   Set your sewing machine to slow-medium (if you have a speed control) and to "needle down" if you have that option.  Start halfway between two seams.  Lower your needle into the fabric and then jiggle the fabrics so that the top and bottom are lined up to the 1/4" line just until the next seam.   Sew to the next seam, removing the pin before or as you sew.  Leave the needle down in the seam.

8.   Raise the presser foot and jiggle the fabrics so they are lined up for the next dresden section until the next seam ensuring also that there are no puckers underneath.  Sew to the next seam.  Repeat until the whole dresden outer circle is sewn.

TOP TIP: As with the inner circle, try to "ease" your fabrics as you go if you start to find you have a fabric build up on top.  If you ignore this problem as you go round, you will end up with a big bump of outer circle fabric at the end and have to do some major unpicking.

9.   Place the dresden right side down and gently press the seams out towards the edge of the block.

10.   Flip the block right side up, pump the iron up to hot, switch on the steam blaster and iron (I iron, I don't press) the block starting at the centre and ironing out to the edge of the block.

TOP TIP: If your block ends up not quite as perfectly square as you had hoped, don't worry, you can trim the blocks square before adding the first round of sashing.


  1. Eek! I've got to get moving! Looks great.

  2. I made a sprocket pillow last weekend which made me way less scared to try this since I know I can sew on a curve now, yay! My pips yardage should arrive this weekend or early next week... I don't think I'll be able to resist so I had better make a practice block this weekend! :)

  3. Looks like a lot of jigglin' will be going on here. *S*

    I've been waiting for this step to kick start me with the black I'm using on the outside - then I can make the decision whether to use it for the center circle too. I'm still conflicted.

  4. Uhhhh, so I s'pose I should get moving and cut my template, eh?

  5. Well done Lynne,
    you have explained the process well.

  6. Thank you this makes it all look so straighforward. I hope to get mine done by the end of the weekend.

  7. Woo-hoo can't wait to get this bit under my belt!

  8. I'm never going to get my Colorblock quilt quilted if I keep getting tempted by by bee parcels to make and your lovely quilt along.

  9. :) Oh thank goodness for some leave next week! I can do some catchup!

  10. Thanks Lynne, as always your instructions are great! Looking forward to the next step. Jxo


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