Friday, May 25, 2018

Coming Soon: 1970s Dresden Plate

This wildly colorful 1970s Dresden Plate quilt is something special.
Dresden Plate is an applique block pattern that became popular around the early 20th century, particularly in the 1930s. It is not a rare pattern by any stretch of the imagination. It is in fact one of the most popular 20th century quilt patterns, along with Double Wedding Ring and Grandmother's Flower Garden.

Several years ago, when I was doing photography for the statewide quilt documentation project here in Oregon we saw so many Dresden Plates, I almost wished I would never see another one.

Last night, I was glad I never really made that wish. I was looking around on eBay to pass the time before picking up my girlfriend from work, and discovered this wildly colorful, 1970s Dresden Plate quilt.

If it took more than five seconds to hit the "Buy It Now" button, I'd be surprised. This quilt is a head-turner. I wanted it the moment I saw it.

Dresden Plates are usually made of scrappy fabrics in a variety of mostly pastel colors and prints on a white background. If you search eBay and other places for Dresden Plates, you'll see a lot of them.

This example is a little outside the box. It was made during another prolific period in American quiltmaking-- the 1970s-- but rather than white, each block has a bright color as the background fabric.

Using colors in the background makes the quilt very lively. It's an eye dazzler. That's why I stopped in my tracks when I saw it.

The quilt includes a lot of handwork, such as hand quilted circles running through the intersecting points of each group of four blocks, and blanket stitching around the perimeter of each appliqued plate.

The wild use of color is very 1970s. I love seeing lime green, bright orange, royal blue and hot pink together.

The maker of the quilt must have had a lot of fun making it. No two blocks are the same, and that's part of the reason why it stands out.

I do not have a lot of Dresden Plate quilts in my collection. Years ago, when eBay first started and I was looking at thousands of images of quilts each day, Dresden Plates seemed like they were a dime a dozen.

I was looking for things that were much more unusual, rather than the same quilt thousands of people made.

The quilt is 74" x 88" and is coming from a seller in Florida. Looks like it is in very good condition. I can't wait to see it in person!


  1. Happy to see you've rescued another great 70's quilt. I spied a few 40's prints in this one too. I love a deep scrap bag quilt!

  2. What a find!!! It is a treasure!

  3. So many different fabrics from the days when there was more home garment sewing. Nowadays all of our stashes are fabrics bought from a quilt shop rather than leftovers from other projects. I'm making a 1930s style DP right now and I almost want to make one like this next. Almost.