‘Peppermint Pinwheel’ Dresden block tutorial

I’m so excited to be part of the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild’s EZ Dresden Challenge blog tour today.  
This Challenge is in honor of Darlene Zimmerman’s 20th anniversary of creating tools and rulers for EZ Quilting.  One of these classic tools is the Dresden ruler, used to cut wedge-shaped pieces typically to create a very traditional Dresden Plate block.  
Here is my own traditional Dresden quilt created a couple of years ago. (And still un-quilted, I might add. I should really work on that…) There are lots of excellent Dresden tutorials that show how simple it is to create this very classic block. It has been fun as part of this challenge to see the variety of other ways to use this ruler and how versatile this tool really is!
This is the block that I came up with, using Darlene’s Dresden ruler.  My pinwheel has a diameter of 16″, and here’s a brief tutorial for how I did it.  (I suggest reading the whole tutorial through before you start cutting and creating.)
Fabric requirements for one block: 
  • 1/4 yard striped fabric and 1/2 yard white fabric
Fabric requirements for 41″ x 60″ quilt above
  • 3 different 1/4 yards of striped fabrics
  • 2 1/4 yards white fabric
  • 1/4 yard border fabric
  • 3/8 yard binding
  • 1 3/4 yard backing

The short-cut trick for this block is using a striped fabric. You could, of course, piece strips and cut them with the Dresden ruler as well, if you want a custom stripe.  I used this stripe from Bonnie and Camille’s latest collection Vintage Modern.  The stripe print comes in three color ways, red, pink, and gray.  (You can find this fabric here, herehere or here.)  A 1/4 yard gave me exactly enough fabric for the colored wedges for 2 blocks. If you want a little leeway for mistakes, get 1/3 yard.
From your 1/4 yard, cut 5 pieces of fabric that look like this: with a dark stripe at the top and at the bottom. My piece is 9″ wide and just over 7″ high.  (Of course, you can use any striped fabric you like, just make sure there is a dark stripe at the top and the bottom to create this effect.)
I then cut my wedges 7″ long, so line-up the 7″ line at the top of the fabric and cut fabric into the wedge shape.
Turn the ruler upside down and cut a second wedge. Continue cutting wedges alternating the ruler’s direction.
You should be able to get 4 wedges across a 9″ wide piece of fabric. (As you can see, I trimmed off the ends at the bottom to make the wedge exactly 7″.  Hindsight, I would have just left the bottom edge intact, so don’t feel like to you have to trim off that little piece.)   
You will need 10 striped wedges and 10 white wedges per pinwheel block. Using a 1/4 yard each of the red, pink, and gray stripes I was able to get 20 wedges from each – enough for two blocks of each color.  From the white fabric I cut three 7″ x wof (width of fabric) strips and cut them into a total of 60 wedges – 10 for each of the six blocks.
Using one striped wedge and one white wedge sew them together in sets of two. Combine 8 of the sets into sets of 4 wedges. Combine 2 sets of 4 wedges with a set of 2 wedges to create a half circle, always keeping the striped wedge on the same side of the white wedge.
Repeat the process with remaining wedges to create a second half circle and sew the two half circles together to create a whole circle/pinwheel.
From remaining white fabric cut 6 squares 20.5″. Fold into quarters and crease the sides. Unfold.

Using the four creases as your guide, line up your pinwheel lines with the creases. You should have 5 wedges per quadrant.  Turn your raw edges under a 1/4″ and carefully press and pin in place. You can then hand applique the wheel block to the backing fabric. I just used my machine to sew the edges down.

Once your wheels are sewn down, square up your blocks to 20″. Assemble the blocks together 2 across by 3 down. Cut your outside border fabric into (5) 1 1/2″ strips and add to the outside edges. Quilt and bind as you desire.

Now is your turn to come up with a project using the EZ Dresden ruler and if you do so, you could enter to win some amazing prizes.  September 1-6th you can go to the SLMQG site and enter your projects. All the details are found on the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild site.

For more inspiration, check out these other sites for ideas: 
Don’t have a Dresden ruler of your own? You can buy one at most local quilt shops, directly from Simplicity.com or from Amazon.  I also have one to give away! If you want the chance to win one, leave a comment on this post. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

If you are looking for more Dresden inspiration check out these rainbow Dresden wheels, my favorite Dresden quilt, and this Dresden circle pillow tutorial.


  1. says

    Love your use of the striped fabric.. it does a lot of the work in this quilt. Just a great looking quilt.<br /><br />And enter me please.. I would like to try this tool.

  2. says

    LOVE this quilt!! What a great idea to use the striped fabric and the backing is perfect!:) I&#39;m glad too you made a tutorial! Thanks for sharing!:)

  3. says

    I love how you&#39;ve used a striped fabric to create your block. What a great idea. I really love it. And your choice in backing fabric was just perfect. You need to get that quilted to show it off. I&#39;m sure you would get a lot of compliments because it&#39;s beautiful.

  4. says

    This is a great tutorial and I love the white and red striped fabric! Thanks for the links to the ruler, it may be time for me to get one :) x

  5. says

    I&#39;ve been holding out on buying myself a Dresden ruler, in the unlikely event that I win one :) I&#39;m just about fit to burst seeing what everyone has done. Your peppermints are too sweet! I&#39;m excited to try my hand at Dresdens. I was terrified of them for the longest, but now ican&#39;t wait to do some!

  6. says

    I&#39;ll admit, the traditional Dresden doesn&#39;t really get me going, so all of these entries for the contest that have been cropping up all over blogland have been fun to look at, but haven&#39;t really beckoned me to consider them. But this…. this I like. I may have to take the plunge on this Dresden thing after all. Thanks for the alternative idea!

  7. says

    What a fabulous design! You&#39;ve inspired a similar design that just popped into my head… Hmm, must try it out some time. Thanks!

  8. says

    I love your peppermint pinwheel block! What a wonderful use of stripes! This is a great tutorial and very newby-friendly. Thanks!

  9. says

    Oh Amy, I would love the Dresden quilt ruler. I have just started quilting and absolutely love it! I want to make all my Christmas presents this year. Your blog is very inspiring, Thank you for taking the time.

  10. says

    how fun..I like the stripey version a lot! So cute. I have been using your tutorials as I&#39;m working on a quilt top. I wanted to thank you so much. When I post about it, I&#39;ll link to you as your tutorials have been invaluable! Love your blog!

  11. says

    Wow, another amazing project on this blog tour! I have been so inspired by the projects I&#39;ve seen. I never had an interest in a Dresden ruler before this tour but now I feel like I need one! Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. says

    Nice use of stripes on your quilt. I would think you could get a wide variety of effects depending on the stripe you use. Did you also just turn under 1/4 inch on the inner circle? That seems like it might be hard to do.

  13. says

    When I was going to art school one of my classes made us make an advertising campaign for ice cream. I chose to do a specific flavor: Jolly Peppermint Dango, which was a Christmas peppermint ice cream with a hint of cinnamon. I still want to make it. Why am I so lazy?

  14. says

    nice idea, using big stripes fabric instead of making your own stripes. love the wheels! there&#39;s going to be a big run on big stripe fabrics at the quilt shops!

  15. says

    I love how the striped fabric really adds a whimsical touch to this. The colors are fantastic with the white and the backing is just perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  16. says

    Love this quilt Amy! You make it look so easy peasy :) thanks for your tutorial. I would love to win one 😉 thanks for the chance!

  17. says

    What a fun quilt! So many great designs with this ruler. How inspiring!<br /><br />Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.<br /><br />usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

  18. says

    I love love this quilt. I love the quilting too. I inherited some Dresden blocks and was wondering how to quilt them. Thanks for the inspiration.<br /><br />C_kaminsky at yahoo dot com

  19. says

    Love the dresden – I would love to try to win the ruler as I do not have one. Thank you for the tutorial!!!!! It is great!!!<br /><br />sandyb720 at gmail dot com

  20. says

    Hi Amy really love your quilt it is so modern and would look lovely in my living room. I sure hope that I win one of those dresden rulers as I can&#39;t find one up here in Canada at least close by.

  21. says

    Your dresden quilt is amazing &amp; such a clever way to create a new &amp; unique block – even better that it&#39;s deceptively easy, with the use of striped fabric! Thanks for the inspiration &amp; for the chance to win one of these great rulers.

  22. says

    I love your dresden. I just used some of that striped fabric and still have some left. Please put me in your giveaway and thank you for the inspiration and giveaway!

  23. says

    I am seeing so many projects with this ruler. There are so many choices on how to use it I really want one. I have some ideas for this. I would love to enter my completed project in September too. Your quilt has inspired me. Thank you.

  24. says

    I really like your pattern, it makes me think of windmills ;-)<br /><br />I would love to win the ruler as I do not have one and would like to try a modern design.<br /><br />Michelle

  25. says

    I just love the fabric you picked for the back of the quilt! I took a gander through the rest of your blog and loved and enjoyed your work.<br />Thanks for sharing and being a part of the ruler contest!<br />Mindy

  26. says

    So glad you posted this – and so glad I read ALL the way through it, I would have been sewing strips of fabric together to make those stripes!!!!! LOVE love this quilt, it&#39;s definitely on the &#39;to do&#39; list. Genius – THANK YOU.

  27. says

    Yet another fun design. I&#39;m just loving this Dresden kick! I would love to win the ruler to make some of these things that keep showing up on my pin boards!

  28. says

    I love your pinwheel design! I love that it could be Christmasy, but could still be used year round. The ruler is definitely something I could use; it looks so useful!

  29. says

    I love this!! And the striped fabric makes it so much easier! What about the centers? Is there anyway we could get an upclose picture of the circle and how you finished those edges? Thanks!

  30. says

    I love this quilt!! It&#39;s so awesome. Thanks for the chance to win. I am definitely going to make a quilt like this in the future and it&#39;s marked away in my TO-DO folder 😀 Thanks!

  31. says

    How much fun! I love the little Starlight Mints candies, and your quilt reminds me of those! This would be a fun quilt for anyone to make.<br />Thanks for a chance to win! After all this blogging, I can tell this ruler would be great to have and use.

  32. says

    I am a new quilter and this makes dresden quilting look far less intimidating, thanks for that! it&#39;d be awesome to win a dresden wedge tool.

  33. says

    Beautiful! I just started to gather my first quilting tools, I hope to show some final work soon. In the mean time I will keep visiting and learning more from you. Thanks!

  34. says

    Oh, so many ideas you&#39;ve inspired here! Now if only I could find the motivation to go with the inspiration. Maybe the ruler would be just the ticket? Love the quilt!

  35. says

    ack!!! i love those sripey dresdens! you are a genius!!! i read 3 posts from you and now i have 3 new projects i want to try. the bummer is i&#39;m trying to work on my WIP&#39;s, just like you. you are NOT making it easy for me! (but i love the inspiration all the same.) 😉


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