Dresden Plate Clock

What time is it?

I knocked my sewing room atomic clock off the wall the other day and damaged the display, so I decided I needed a new clock.  I searched Amazon, Etsy, and eBay for sewing-themed clocks and decor and found a lot of cute things, but nothing that spoke to me enough to buy.  In my search, I ran across a few pictures of a handmade clock using a vintage quilt block design called the Dresden Plate, and I fell in love with it.  The original purpose of a Dresden Plate quilt was to use the smallest fabric scraps so nothing went to waste, and this random piecework style seemed to suit my crafting and sewing style.

This is my version of the Dresden Plate clock.

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Traditional Dresden Plates have 16 petals, but my first Dresden Plate blades were made using a template I accidentally found online at The Crafty Quilter that yielded 12 blades per Dresden, perfect for clock making.  I chose a 12″ x 12″ x 1″ square artist’s canvas to mount my clock to, and found that a 5″ tall blade created a Dresden with a final diameter of 11-1/2″ including the center circle.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

  • A 12-blade Dresden Plate — quilted to a piece of coordinating fabric at least 14″ x 14″ or bigger so it wraps around the canvas frame to be secured in place on the back.
  • Batting — I used white fleece on this, since the fabric content really didn’t matter. The fleece was almost too bulky on the corners of the frame.
  • 12″ x 12″ artist’s stretched canvas — available in the crafts section at Walmart, or any crafting store like Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s, as well as Amazon
  • Clock works kit — the kit you choose is partially determined by the depth of your stretched canvas frame.  I bought the 3/4″ kit for the 1″ deep canvas.  Available at Michael’s or Amazon.
  • Staple gun
  • A tube of E6000 glue or a hot glue gun
  • One piece of shim or other long flat wood, at least 12″ long

After sewing the Dresden, I applied it to the background fabric with a running top stitch, and quilted the background fabric with a simple echo outline of the petals.  You can get as creative or simple as you want.  I centered and stretched the finished block on the canvas, and secured it using an electric staple gun, stapling it to the back of the canvas’s frame, much like you’d reupholster a chair.  Find the center of the Dresden Plate by putting a straight pin through it from the front, and mark that location on the back of the canvas.  Clip a small hole where you marked the pin, put the stem through the fabric from the back and on the front, assemble the hands on the front as directed in the clock works instructions.  Finish by hot gluing the back of the clock works to the shim so it is straight and won’t move, and secure the shim to the frame of the canvas with hot glue.  Be sure you don’t cover up the dial adjustment or battery case on the back with the shim.  My mounting was disappointingly askew on my first clock, but it will be better next time. Trim any excess fabric on the back, hang and enjoy!

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In Search of the Perfect 5″ Quilting Block

A Garage Sale Treasure

20180220_193731_Film1.jpgThis isn’t a product review, the product featured is discontinued.  It’s more of a testimony of what you can do with some creativity.  A couple of years ago, I found a Fiskars® Fuse Creativity System® letterpress/die cutter at a garage sale. From what I’d read it was designed for paper crafting like cutting shapes for making cards or scrap booking, neither of which are hobbies I ever took up. MartMan was impressed with how substantial the Fuse was, so he bought it. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so it sat in my sewing room, under my sewing table. In all the time I’d had it, all I had done with it was some embossed coaster type things for work.

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Corn filled neck warmers

After my recent sewing room reorganize effort, I tried to sell the Fuse on a re-sale group online. It didn’t get much interest, which brings me to my discovery. Originally I had pulled it back out to make some tags for neck wraps I’m making. But I’m not really a paper crafter and it wasn’t a particularly creative experience.

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I work with fabric, including quilt blocks for bags and pouches. The most time consuming part of the process is cutting all those perfect squares. If you don’t have a perfect square, you will play heck getting perfect points on the finished block and having a nice looking finished panel. I sat and looked at the Fuse wondering if there was a die available for it that would cut fabric, in particular, 5″ squares. A Google search brought me to a video from MaterialGirl338 on YouTube where she used an Accuquilt® die to cut fabric in her new Fuse.

I knew fabric cutters like the Accuquilt GO!® existed, but at $250 to $400 for the starter set, I couldn’t justify it for my hobby crafting. But the Accuquilt cuts perfect, intricate shapes just by rolling the fabric and die with the appropriate shims through the press — a press that looks a lot like a Fiskars Fuse. Accuquilt has fabric cutting dies in a variety of shapes that Fiskars never manufactured, including triangles and squares for making quilt blocks. The cutting dies also look suspiciously a lot like the Fuse dies. It occurred to me, could the Fuse be used with other manufacturer dies to cut fabric? After some more digging, the answer is a resounding YES.

So, I purchased the optional Fuse Adapter kit*, still readily available on Amazon and eBay, and the 5″ square Accuquilt GO® die. Within a few minutes, following the instructions on the info card, I was making perfect 5″ squares in a fraction of the time I’d been spending. It’s fabulous. It accommodates up to five layers of quilting weight cotton, cutting two 5″ squares on each piece of fabric in one pass.

 

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I looked on Craigslist, and even today I see used Fuse units for sale, usually around $50 for the base unit kit — about a third of the original price. I purchased the optional Adapter Kit for $45 new, and the Accuquilt 5″ square die for $30, new. Between the used base unit, and the new Adapter Kit and die, for about $125, I’m cranking out 5″ squares like a pro.

20180323_210321_Film1.jpgThe info card that came with the Adapter kit lists a number of different die manufacturers that the Fuse will accommodate, including Sizzix®, another very popular die cutting system.

I’m keeping the Fiskars Fuse. And oh, look at the calendar — it’s the end of March, so it’s almost garage sale season again here in Kansas City.

*Although I can’t endorse it, I have seen one YouTube video where the author is using inexpensive Lexan sheets in various thicknesses from the hardware store instead of the Fuse Adapter kit and achieving good results in her Fuse.