Jun 04

EZ Dresden Challenge Tutorial

Welcome to yet another wonderful stop on the EZ Dresden Challenge blog hop!


The Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild has paired up with Simplicity to celebrate Darlene Zimmerman’s 20th anniversary with EZ Quilting by hosting and sponsoring the EZ Dresden Challenge.   To see more details about this challenge, and to see the list of prizes, be sure the visit the EZ Dresden Challenge page of the SLMQG Blog.  They will be donated by these awesome sponsors!



My name is Tanya, and I am going to show you a fun way to use the EZ Dresden Ruler for this paper pieced quilt.


I’ve seen this quilt design, or some variation of it, floating around blog land, and I LOVE IT.  But, I am not a big fan of using up a lot of paper printing off templates. I have been trying to figure out how to make this quilt without having to use up a lot of fresh paper, and then Darlene Zimmerman’s EZ Dresden Ruler fell into my lap.  This was my ticket to making my own template using scrap paper.

After making many paper pieced quilts with scrap paper, I have found that some printer or photocopy ink melts under the heat of the iron.  Also, hot irons and scrap paper with crayon don’t mix.  Or rather, they do mix, in a bad way.   And, while I do find that newspapers and phone books provide plenty of paper and are easy to rip, I’ve had problems with the paper being too weak, and the ink rubbing off onto my fingers and fabric.  Recently, though, I have found a source of scrap paper that I love to use.  Do you receive the Money Mailer envelopes in your mailbox with a ton of advertisements (5.5 inches by 8.5 inches), and just toss them?  Well, let me show you what you can do with them.

Preparing your template squares:

First, throw out the small advertisements and glossy advertisements.  Then, cut your 5.5 x 8.5 inch advertisements into 5.5 x 5.5 inch squares.  If you don’t have the mailers, then regular 8.5 x 11 inch paper can give you two squares, 12 x 12 inch paper can give you four squares.


For a baby quilt (40 inches x 50 inches), you will want 80 template squares

For a twin quilt (70 inches x 90 inches) you will want 252 template squares.

Preparing your EZ Dresden Ruler:

  Grab a strip of tape as long or longer than your dresden ruler.

Draw a straight line from end to end.  This line does not need to be in the center of your tape.


Place your dresden ruler on your cutting mat and find the center.  Place your tape line on top of the center line.

Here is your ruler with a midline.


Drawing your Template:

Place your ruler above the template squares, making sure the bottom of the ruler rests on the bottom corner, and the midline goes from corner to opposite corner.


Draw on either side of the EZ Dresden ruler.  You now how your template drawn.  These lines are not the lines you will use to sew.  Rather, they are fabric placement lines.


Preparing your fabric:

Cutting the wedges are pretty easy.  Cut strips of fabric 8 inches tall and at least 3.5 inches wide.  Then, using the dresden wedge, cut along either side of ruler.  If you use really long strips of fabric, you can just flip your dresden ruler and cut your next wedge going the opposite direction.

I will be using Kona Snow for my background fabric.  For every template square you plan on using, cut out one 4.5 x 6.5 inch rectangle.  I made 80 squares, so I will need to prepare 80 rectangles of background fabric.

Since this is a solid with no marked front side or back side, I can cut these rectangles into triangles all in the same direction.  If you are planning on using a patterned fabric for the background, plan on cutting half of your rectangles into triangles with the cut going from top right to bottom left, and the other half with the cut going from top left to bottom right.  See image below.

Constructing your blocks:

Grab a handy glue stick, and glue the dresden wedge on each template square within the fabric placement lines.

Place one of the background triangles, right sides together, on to one edge of the wedge.  Before you sew, make sure the long side (hypotenuse) is the one aligned with the side of wedge, the thicker side of the triangle is up by the fat end of the wedge, and the smaller angle of the triangle is down by the skinny edge of the wedge.

Set your sewing machine to a stitch length to about 1.5.  The smaller the stitch length, the easier the paper will be to tear away.  Sew 1/4 inch away from the edge of the fabric.

With the first background triangle flipped out of the way, align the next background triangle on top of the other side of the wedge, right sides of the fabric together.  Sew 1/4 inch away from fabric edge.

Now, press the triangles to either side.

Trim the edges, using the paper template as your guide.  Now, your block should be 5.5 inches square.

Your blocks are complete!  Arrange them as you want, and sew them into rows.  I personally like to sew my squares into rows first, and then remove the paper.  However, you can remove the paper first and then sew the squares into rows.  Press the seams however you want them (I pressed mine open) and then sew the rows together.  Press with the iron again, and you are done!  You have a crisp looking paper pieced quilt, and you only used paper that was on its way to the garbage anyway!

Here is the finished quilt.

I quilted my quilt with a free motion loopy design, and then I bound it with Kona Raffia.  But, in honor of the challenge itself, I had to add one more thing to this quilt.

It needed a traditional dresden plate for the back.  Hand applique and all.

*Edited to add*

I have since made two more quilts using this tutorial.  You can see them here and here.

Would you like to win a free ruler to begin your own Dresden Quilt?  Leave me a comment on this post telling me your summer vacation quilting plans.  I’m in the process of making orange peel templates in hopes to make my first hand appliqued quilt.  I’d love to hear what  you are up to this summer.  Comments will be open until Friday, June 8 MST, and then I will announce a winner on Friday, June 9th.  Good luck everyone!  Remember to link up your final projects in September on the SLMQG.com blog.  I can’t wait to see them!

Be sure to visit other blogs during the EZ Dresden Ruler Blog Hop.

June 1
Salt Lake MQG: Kick Off www.slmqg.com/

June 2
Lee: freshlypieced.blogspot.com/

June 3
Kati www.fromthebluechair.com/

June 4
Victoria: bumblebeansinc.blogspot.com/
Tanya: www.squaresandtriangles.com

June 5
Val: howaboutpinkplease.blogspot.com/
Leigh: leedledeedlequilts.blogspot.com/

June 6
Amy: amyscreativeside.com/
Elisa www.stitchoutsidetheditch.com/

June 7
Katie: www.swimbikequilt.com/
Emily: emsscrapbag.blogspot.com/

June 8
Melissa: happyquiltingmelissa.blogspot.com/
Brooke: pitterputterstitch.blogspot.com/

June 9
Nicole: mamalovequilts.blogspot.com/
Amy sukie.mt-wudan.com/

June 10
Elizabeth: www.dontcallmebetsy.com/
Colleen: www.thebusybean.com/

June 11
Faith: www.freshlemonsquilts.com/
Deonn: quiltscapesquilting.blogspot.com/

June 12
Angela: angelaflicker.com/
Barbie: thequiltingmill.blogspot.com

June 13
Amy: www.diaryofaquilter.com/

June 14
Jessica: sewcraftyjess.blogspot.com/

June 15
Salt Lake MQG: Wrap-up www.slmqg.com/




  1. Kate says:

    Clever! That is a great way to make that quilt.

  2. kaholly says:

    I love this little quilt and what a great tutorial. Thanks! I have a baby quilt to make this summer and this just might be the one!! In the meantime, I am busily working on my dresden plate challenge entry, and in the evenings I am handquilting a raggedy ann and andy quilt by kaaren at The Painted Quilt.

  3. Mel says:

    Awesome instructions! Thanks for doing this!

  4. I’ve never been the first to leave a comment before! Since I’m in Italy, we will be making a trip to Switzerland (Bern area) with all 3 kiddos in the car. It’s a 6 hour drive with just 2 adults, and at least 9 driving with the kids and all the stops we made. I’m also planning on making 2 pirate quilts- one for each of my boys. I’ve loved checking out everyone’s quilt from the quilt group (I really miss monthly meetings!). Loved this one too! -Julie

  5. Brooke says:

    Awesome, Tanya! I have a pattern for making this quilt and I didn’t really want to bust out the templates. Now I know exactly how I’m going to do mine! Great tutorial, and the finished quilt is gorgeous!

  6. Mary says:

    You are very clever! Thanks for sharing a wonderful tutorial. Your quilt is wonderful!

  7. Deonn says:

    Tanya, what an innovative way to use the dresden template ruler – love your quilt!

  8. Laura says:

    Afte seeing this, I think I’m going to have to make it my next project. I’m loving all fhese different ideas for the dresden ruler.

  9. Kathie L says:

    Very ingenious way to make this block. I’ve admired it, and now know how to do it. Thanks. This summer I will be making a quilt using a Julie Herman pattern, one of my favorite designers. Kathie L in Allentown

  10. Jo says:

    What a lvely quilt. I so wnt to try this ruler. My summer plans include a dirt bike print rag quilt for my granson and a bug jar quilt. Thank you for the lovely giveaway!

  11. Becky Greene says:

    I plan to finish my niece’s wedding quilt and then make a picnic quilt for the Fourth of July! Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Ramona says:

    I love it when a tool can be used for many things. Thanks for sharing this tutorial with us. Very well done. I do love the dresden on the back. :-))
    My summer plans…To finish: tshirt quilt for daughter, patchwork chevron I need to back and quilt, two random quilts in progress. To start: Lancaster Diamond Challenge (daisyjanie.typepad.com), 1912 Titanic Sewing Project (vintage clothing), Over and Under quilt (Kim Beckett) in Nightshade (Tula Pink). Want to try an Urban Runner quilt (sewkindofwonderful.com), and now I want to try the dresden!!
    I really need to learn my limits!

  13. pam cole says:

    hoping to do some camping with our first time ever trailer…in my dreams it is all fixed up the cutest curtains and quilts and cushions….xo thanks for the giveaway, fingers crossed

  14. VickiT says:

    Great idea on using the Dresden and another I never would have thought of in a million years. Thank you for the tutorial.

    Summer plans here are sticking around the house pretty much. I am hoping to get away for a nice, romantic weekend at some point since we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this summer.

  15. Becky G says:

    Thanks so much for your wonderful tutorial. You put a lot of effort into it & covered a lot of info. As to summer quilting plans…. UFO reduction, making some headway on that! 8 rag throw quilts for grandchildren & one larger throw for family Christmas exchange (huge family!). Thinking summer plans may run into fall! Thanks for a chance to win.

  16. Colleen says:

    Love it Tanya! I never would have thought of this ruler for that layout!

  17. Naomi A. says:

    Super cute block/quilt! I’ve got a few projects in mind for this summer, a memory quilt from my kiddos first year clothing and a throw size quilt for my sister. What I’m most excited about is trying to have my kiddos help me make our own batiks (simple wax resist stamps using cookie cutters etc and using craft store dye) and then I’ll make a “couch quilt” with a flannel backing for snuggling under.
    reality? I’ve got 3 kids 4 and under…I’ll be lucky to get the supplies together for these quilts. 😀

  18. Sharon says:

    I would not have thought of using the dresdan for a template for this block – I use a cardstock template. Very nice quilt and love the heritage block on the back.

  19. Laura says:

    This seems so simple with the ruler! The quilt came out really great! This summer I am planning on making a quilt for my brother to go off to college with and making a wedding quilt for my best friend!

  20. Mary C in WA says:

    How clever of you to make this quilt from the Dresden Ruler and I like your homage to the challenge on the back. This summer, my plans are to go to the Sisters, Oregon and Buggy Barn Quilt Shows. I hope to squeeze in a Shop Hop somewhere in there also. Thanks for the chance to win this versatile ruler.

  21. Nichole says:

    What a cool and new way to use a dresden ruler! My summer quilting plans are based around english paper piecing because it’s so portable ! I’m going to use hexagons for one quilt and diamonds for stars for another.

  22. Diann Cornell says:

    Summer quilting plans:
    1. Finish a Christmas quilt. Only one more border and the top will be done.
    2. Finish a cat quilt for my daughter. The quilting is about half done.
    3. Disappearing 9 patch. I’ve never made one of these before. Not started but I have the fabric for the top.

  23. Sallie says:

    Finishing the binding on a bull’s eye quilt and quilting a jelly roll baby quilt. Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Jennie P. says:

    I want to make some quilts, but I have so much gorgeous fabric that I’ve been stashing, I can’t decide what quilt blocks or patterns would really do them justice. So right now I’m in limbo figuring that out. Thanks for the chance to win the awesome ruler!

  25. karenkay says:

    great way to use the dresden! I am working on a Dear Jane quilt !

  26. Patti says:

    thanks for a great tutorial! I’m going to be quilting at home this summer, but when I do get away there are quilt shops to visit along the way…

  27. Kim says:

    This summer I will be dreaming up a creative way to use that Dresden ruler. Thanks for the tips!

  28. jmniffer says:

    Very cool quilt! I would never have guessed this was made with a dresden ruler! Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial.

  29. Page says:

    Wow. It’s amazing all the things you can do with that simple ruler! I can’t believe it. I really want to try it.

  30. Jude Jones says:

    I am working on finishing up some wips and a Halloween quilt for my daughter” Thanks for the chance.

  31. Machelle says:

    How very clever! The back is great. I may have to think outside the box and consider entering this challenge. This summer I am hoping to organize my sewing space and finish the quilt I started for my daughter 2 years ago! It its a medallion quilt in aquas
    and browns.

  32. Tricia says:

    That is a great way to use the ruler! Thanks for the giveaway!

  33. Joyce Mitchell says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I’m working on a queen-sized quilt for our bed. Will have to make it in quarters & then put together with a quilt-as-you-go technique. Thanks for the chance to win.

  34. LeAnne L says:

    I am so impressed with how you used this ruler. Now I really want one. No vacation plans here.

  35. Jenny Cameron says:

    Love your work!
    I’m inspired to creat a quilt this summer for my bed. Hubby is not interested in sleeping under flowers and so have to think outside the box! Circles – may just cut it!

  36. Kathleen says:

    I love this quilt…it is so uniuque…I am definitely going to be making one of these…I am currently working on a quilt…I have all of the blocks made and now need to iron them good, trim and put together…thanks for the giveaway….

  37. Lisa Marie says:

    Love your quilt and your technique is very creative! This summer I plan to make a stack of quilts to give as Christmas gifts. Plus some bags and baby quilts just for fun.

  38. Gill says:

    My summer quilting plans have just changed! I want to make this quilt!
    Thanks for a great tutorial!

  39. Elizabeth McDonald says:

    First, thanks for the WONDERFUL tutorial for this quilt! (I am bookmarking it six ways to Sunday!) This summer, my big project will be a quilt for my son, who is getting married in Japan in July.

  40. Alyssa says:

    I have the summer off from college, and I’m learning applique! I started with the raw edge pez quilt tutorial by canoe ridge creations! Thanks for the chance to win!

  41. MarciaW says:

    This is a great idea – like the pattern. Thanks for the chance to win an ez dresden! Perhaps there is a Dresden quilt in my future. alternate email mlwright29(at)hotmail(dot)com
    My summer project will be a baby quilt for my grandniece (I hope we will do less kid sitting this summer so will have some time.)

  42. CathyH says:

    Long list. I hope, most of all, to finish the hand quilting on a scrap quilt I started a few years ago.

  43. Sandra Davidson says:

    I love the quilt it is really beautiful and maybe I will attempt to make it this summer especially if I win the ruler which I can’t find up here in Stratford. Blessings Sandra

  44. Carla G says:

    I’m planning to get my first quilt quilted by machine. But first I have to finish some clothes for my kids for summer. I’m planning to take my sewing machine out on our deck & sew while the kids play. 🙂 Thanks for a chance to win! 🙂

  45. Annie says:

    Its the summer of traveling.. Just got back from California, heading to Ohio in two weeks, then off to South Dakota right after that.

  46. Carol in E Tn says:

    I am a fan of Dresden’s too! Great tutorial using the ruler.

  47. michelle says:

    i have a purse pattern I want to make, a baby quilt and then try some of the cute small projects I’ve collected that will be fun to make as gifts.


  48. Alexis A says:

    I LOVE this quit! Thank you so much for the tutorial. This was definitely added to my quitting list for the summer, whether I win the template or not.

  49. Bearpawquilter says:

    This summer I will be binding my Bento Box quilt for a wedding gift for my son and his fiancé who are getting married in July. I will also be working on getting our new golden retriever puppy house trained. Next I will be working on some curtains for our home. Those have to be made before any new quilts get started.

  50. LizA. says:

    I’ve always loved this pattern –what a cleaver way to make it. Thnx for sharing. As for summer plans–doing all the home improvement stuff and cleaning/sorting of 22 years of stuff so I can get my house on the market in the fall.

  51. Hilachas says:

    My quilting plans for the summer are to continue creating UFOs. For some reason, I keep seeing great new projects I just have to start. I’ll probably also be worken on my Dresden project. I need a Dresden ruler. Thanks for the opportunity to win one.

  52. Dolores says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. It looks so very easy. I think I’ll try it with bright colours for a baby quilt that I have to get done by September. So that’s my summer vacation quilt plans.

  53. Lisa McGriff says:

    This summer I plan to make 4 lap quilts for Christmas Gifts for my mom, sister and two daughters… I have a lot to do!

  54. Connie says:

    Great tutorial, thanks for sharing! No big plans on going anywhere this summer, just enjoy our time at home.

  55. mom C says:

    I have a couple of must finish quilts before I dare start thinking about dream quilts. And other sewing projects. Hopefully, the summer will last long enough to get the must dos done. Thanks.

  56. Gunilla says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial, so good to know! This summer I will be making things for friends, but also finishing a happy quilt in red, yellow,pink and orange!

  57. Karrie Smith says:

    This is one of the best tutorials ever! And such a beautiful quilt! I would love to challenge myself and make one of these this summer. I have a lot of projects to do; some blankets for my best friend’s kids, and some quilts that are going to be Christmas presents this year. I’d like to make something for myself, and I’m really liking what you made! thanks for the chance to win

  58. patty says:

    I have lots of projects for this summer. I have two lists on my blog – one on May 17th and one on May 30 outlining the quilts I need to get done for this year. I am just taking it one project at a time and plowing thru the list. I think I need to update the lists with the addition of the dresden plate quilt challange!

  59. Leslie says:

    Hi Tanya! My summer quilting vacation will be a 5-day visit to our cabin in Lake Tahoe (Nevada side, right on the lake). MY BFF and I leave our handsome men at home with the kids and spend 5 days on the deck over the lake – sewing machines, cutting table and iron set up so we can sun ourselves while we sew and chat and drink wine and chat and sew and eat chocolate and…you get the picture. We do take some time to play on the lake and go for hikes, but we normally get at least 2 quilts completed, start to finish, in 5 days. It’s our 22nd annual escape! Woohoo!

  60. Sew Very Sherry says:

    Clever twist on the EZ Dresden design! It reminds me of the crossed canoes block. I am finishing a miniature wall art quilt for our state fair and working on a Dresden plate quilt. Mine is a ‘lemonade from lemons’ version but I may make one for this challenge. thanks for the ideas!

  61. Martina says:

    What a fun quilt! Love it! I am planning to handquilt some of my Ufo’s during summer!

  62. Nancysue says:

    Love your tutorial on the block. Sooo many possibilities in the layout 🙂 Thank you!

  63. thunder says:

    Love your quilt 🙂 thanks for sharing.

    our summer vacation is going to be at the end of summer, we will be doing some traveling, going to see my Momma, and one of my sisters. we are hoping to meet up with some quilting friends, I have met on line !!

  64. Susan says:

    Just found your tutorial and love the idea. I love the idea of recycling the mail inserts. I bet after doing these for some time and getting used to the process, you could do them without the paper even. Sew, the sides on and press the seams open. I bet you could put the right side down on your cutting mat and put a “finished” block right side down on it to line up for the position and then rotary cut around the outside edges of the “finished{ block for the 5.5” block. If you knew where to line up your cutting square, you wouldn’t even need to stack the blocks to get the cutting lines. What a great idea! Thanks for the links to other ideas for using the dresden ruler. I bought a dresden ruler with the idea of making a dresden plate and haven’t even taken it out of the wrapper yet. I will – just need more time. Thanks again for the tutorial. I’m enjoying looking around your site. Thanks for taking time to blog and share with the quilting community.

  65. Letitia says:

    I was too impatient to wait for my ruler to come in to make this quilt, so I made a cardboard template. I also didn’t use the paper templates, since I have to cut down each square anyway. I just made sure the white triangles were big enough and then I sewed the pieces to the sides of the wedge. I did mark the center of each wedge, on the top and bottom, with a washable fabric marker. That made it easier to make sure that I was cutting each square correctly. (I lined up the center marks on my cutting board and used a 51/2″ square to cut each one to the correct size. I LOVE the finished quilt. “Sew” Pretty!!

    • Tanya says:

      That is so great! Sounds like a lot of work, but I am a fan of using what you have around the house. I recently pieced another scrappier Dresden wedge quilt. I still need to quilt it, but I am in love with it already. I would love to see your finished quilt. Did you post a picture of it on Flickr or a blog? Thanks for sharing!