Flowers in the Park Table Topper

Hi!  I’m Tilly from The Quilt Asylum, and our store owner Susan Allen has had the best time playing in Central Park with these fun Dresden Flowers.  Take a minute to see how easy this quilt can be!

1 Charm Pack (40 – 5″ squares)
7/8 yard background
1/3 yd EACH of 2 fabrics for block frames
1/8 yd for flower centers
3/8 yd binding
1-1/8 yd backing

I chose to use Central Park by Kate Spain, along with Bellas Solids in Stone and Yellow.

Easy Dresden Template Set by EZ

**Alternate sizing and fabric requirements using a Jelly Roll or Layer Cake can be found at the end of this tutorial.

Bigger Perfect Circle Templates by Karen Kay Buckley

Select 40 squares from your charm pack.  I usually take out two that are duplicates or contrast the least with the background fabric.  Make 8 stacks of 5 squares each.
Place the Easy Dresden Template on top of one stack of 5 squares, positioning the 5″ line at the top of the square.  You will be cutting 2 wedges from each square, so make sure you leave room to cut another wedge.  Don’t take the first wedge out of the center!

Cut out the first set of wedges.  Reposition the template with the 5″ line at the bottom and cut out the second wedge.

Repeat with the 7 other stacks of squares.  You will need a total of 80 wedge pieces.
I placed all my left wedges in one stack and all my right wedges in another stack.  By working with one stack at a time in the next step, I eliminated the duplication of fabrics in each Dresden flower.
Take one stack of 40 wedges to your sewing machine.  Pick up the first wedge and fold it right sides together vertically, aligning the wide upper edges and pin.

Sew a 1/4″ seam across the top of the wedge.  Continue chain piecing all 40 wedges across the top.

Here are my pieces all chained together.
Cut the wedges apart and clip the folded corners with scissors.

Finger press the seam open.
Turn the wedges right side out and push out the point using bamboo creaser included in your template set.  If you happen to have misplaced your bamboo creaser, a Purple Thang or any blunt-pointed tool will work as well.
Once all of your wedges have been turned, go to your ironing board and press down the wedge points to make flower petals, aligning the seam with the center of the wedge.  Press all 40 petals.
You have enough petals to make 2 flowers at this time.  Divide the petals into 2 stacks of 20, evenly distributing colors and patterns.
Lay out a set of 20 petals in a pleasing manner.

Pin the petals into pairs and take them to your sewing machine.

When sewing your petals together, you want to line up the petal points from folded edges along the long side of the petal.  Place your needle 1/4″ down from the folded edge, backstitch to the folded edge, then continue forward down the long side.  By starting 1/4″ from the edge and backstitching to the edge, you will eliminate those tiny thread “hairs” from showing on the front of your flower when you clip your threads.  The thread ends will be hidden on the back of your flower!

Chain piece the other 9 pairs in the same manner.
When all 10 pairs are sewn, press the seams open.
Arrange your pairs in a circle, and continue joining petals to make 2 flower halves. 
Join the two haves into one large flower.  Don’t worry if the edges of your petals in the center circle don’t line up exactly.  You’ll cover all that up with your flower center.
Press all the seams open.
Sew your second set of petals together in this same manner.  Repeat the entire process with the second set of 40 wedges to make 2 additional flowers, for a total of 4 flowers.
From your background, cut (2) 14-1/2″ strips.  I use the June Tailor Shape Cut template when cutting large pieces or multiple strips of th same size.  The Shape Cut has slots every 1/2″.  Fold your fabric – folded edge to selvedge edge.  Place the Shape Cut with the bottom line against the bottom fold of the fabric.  
Make a cut at the 0 marking to square up the left edge and then make another cut at the 14-1/2″ slot. 
Reposition the Shape Cut to make a second 14-1/2″ cut.  Open up the first fold, stack the two strips together, and cut (4) 14-1/2″ background squares.
Crease a background square lightly into quarters.  Place a flower ring on the background, aligning the four quadrants of the flower with the crease lines.  Pin flower to background.
At this point, you have several options for sewing your flower to your background.  You can hand applique or you can topstitch along the folded edges with your machine.  I chose to use Sulky Premium Invisible Thread and a very tiny zigzag stitch (1.0, 1.0).  I get the look of hand applique in just a fraction of the time!  
I would also suggest that you stitch down the flower center 1/8″ from the raw edges.This will keep everything nice and flat when you add your flower center.
From your flower center fabric, cut (4) approximately 4-1/2″ squares.
You also have a couple of choices when adding your flower center circles to your blocks.  You can hand applique by the method of your choice, you can use fusible web and iron on your circle, or you can machine applique.  I chose to machine applique, again using the Sulky Invisible Thread.  
I’m going to show you a slick way to prepare the circle using Karen Kay Buckley’s Bigger Perfect Circle templates.
The cardboard cover of your Dresden template set has a circle drawing on the inside cover.  It measures approximately 3-1/8″.  Instead of using that drawing to make my own template, I selected the Bigger Perfect Circle template that fit my flower best.  Perfect Circles are made of heat-resistant plastic.
Due to the translucent nature of the template, I could tell that this circle covered the hole by a 1/4″ all the way around.  FYI – this circle measures 3-1/2″ in diameter.
Trace around the circle on the wrong side of your 4-1/2″ squares using a pencil.
Cut out your circles, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Thread a needle and hand baste around the circle as if you were making a yo-yo.  Do not clip the thread.

Take the circle of fabric and your Perfect Circle template to your ironing board.  Place the template on the fabric circle (matching the drawn line) and pull the thread to gather the fabric.
Press the edges with your iron, keeping the gathering thread taut.
After pressing the edges, I will turn the circle over (while still holding the gathering thread) and press again from the front using a spritz of Mary Ellen’s Best Press or sizing.  You can now clip the thread, leaving a 2″ tail.  Once the circle has cooled, you can slightly release the gathering threads just enough to pull the template out.  Tug on the tail of the thread to gather the circle back into shape.
The package of Bigger Perfect Circles has 2 templates of each size.  You can press a second circle while the first one is cooling in order to speed up this process.
After your circles have been prepared, fold and finger press center creases in both directions.  Lay your circle on your flower, lining up the creases with the flower seams.
Pin in place and zig-zag stitch with invisible thread.
Using the Shape Cut Ruler, cut (4) 2-1/2″ strips from both of your 1/3 yard cuts for your block frames.
Subcut each fabric into (8) 2-1/2″ x 14-1/2″ rectangles and (8) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ squares.
Sew (2) Fabric 1 squares on to the ends of (4) Fabric 2 rectangles, and vice versa.  Press towards the rectangle.
Lay out your blocks as shown and sew the frames to the (4) flower blocks, pressing away from center. 
Lay out your blocks and sew them together.
Quilt and bind using (4) 2-1/4″ strips.
One 36″x36″ Table Topper!
** Alternate Sizing:  You can make these same blocks (and bigger quilts) with a Jelly Roll or a Layer Cake.  The sewing instructions remain the same.
Jelly Roll Quilt – 16 Blocks, 72″x72″
1 Jelly Roll (40 Strips)
3-3/8 yd background
1-1/4yd EACH of two frame fabrics
5/8 yd binding
4-1/4 yds backing
Cutting Instructions:
  • Cut (8) 2-1/2″ x 5″ rectangles from (40) Jelly Roll strips for a total of 320 rectangles.  Cut 320 wedges using the Easy Dresden template.
  • Cut (16) 14-1/2″ background squares.
  • From EACH frame fabric, cut (16) 2-1/2″ stips.  Subcut each fabric into (32) 2-1/2″ x 14-1/2″ rectangles and (32) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ squares.
Set the blocks 4 x 4.
Layer Cake Quilt – 20 Blocks, 72″x90″
1 Layer Cake (40 -10″ squares)
4-1/4 yd background
1-1/2yd EACH of two frame fabrics
3/4 yd binding
5-1/2 yds backing
Cutting Instructions:
  • Stack Layer Cakes into (8) stacks of 5 squares.  Cut the stack in half, creating (2) stacks of 5″ x 10″ rectangles.  With careful cutting, you should be able to cut (5) sets of wedges from each 5″x10″ stack.  Cut a total 400 wedges using the Easy Dresden template.
  • Cut (20) 14-1/2″ background squares.
  • From EACH frame fabric, cut (20) 2-1/2″ stips.  Subcut each fabric into (40) 2-1/2″ x 14-1/2″ rectangles and (40) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ squares.
Set the blocks 4 x 5.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial – maybe you learned something new!  My goal is to provide quality instructions while including a different technique, a tip or a trick to add to your assortment of skills.  If you are ever in the McKinney, Texas area, stop by and say hello.  You can also subscribe to our newsletter, view more tutorials on our blog, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.  See you next time!
Susan Allen

{The Quilt Asylum}