Dresden Plate Quilt

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Twenty Dresden ‘plates’ pieced from pastel patterned cottons.

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Twenty Dresden ‘plates’ pieced from pastel patterned cottons. Ice-cream cone border in alternating white and yellow patterned fabric. Backed with white cotton and bound with the yellow fabric used for the border.

Pastel fabrics are typical of quilts produced during the first part of the twentieth century. Old patterns were given a modern twist by incorporating these fabrics, brighter than the darker materials traditionally used. The Dresden Plate pattern is a reworking of the Fan block, which became popular at the end of the nineteenth century: four Fan blocks have been placed together at the corners to form a circle. Each plate segment has been cut from pastel dress fabric, sewn over papers and then stitched to its neighbours. Once completed, the individual plates were appliquéd onto a plain white cotton block.

This example has been given an extra twist by the way yellow material is used. Every plate is dissected into quarters by this fabric, producing, in effect, the appearance of a yellow cross in each block. This material has been used to make the ice-cream cone border – an embellishment often featured on Dresden Plate and Fan quilts.

One person did all the piecing for this quilt. The quilting, however, was undertaken by several people: the ladies of the Northbrae Community Church. Each section of fabric has been outline-quilted. The centre of each plate has two circles quilted into it. This circular design is repeated in the white, stylized star shapes (reminiscent of Mariner’s Compass patterns 1972.158) between the plates.

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Object Name

» quilts


From 1930 to 1939

Further details »


» cotton (textile)


» piecing
» appliqué (technique)
» quilting
» sewing (needleworking technique)
» patchwork

Production place

» Berkeley, California


» Textile Collection



Object number


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