Month 1: Hometown Memories for the Dresden Neighborhood Sew Along

Hello and happy 9th day of the month!  My plan for the 9th day of the month for today and the next 11 months is to share a new source of inspiration for making a Dresden Neighborhood Quilt Block (or mini quilt … whatever you prefer) and to keep the fun going in the #DresdenNeighborhoodSAL

I’m really excited about today’s inspiration – Hometown Memories.  These Dresden Neighborhood blocks are a great way to create a memory quilt for yourself or as a gift. I designed three special Dresden Wedge Templates that are buildings you can find in my hometown – Port Washington, WI.  (hmm … this is related to the Project QUILTING Challenge this week too…)

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Port Washington WI Lighthouse Dresden Plate

There is double wide Dresden wedge that represents the towns lighthouse.

Port Washington WI Lighthouse Dresden Plate

A double wide Dresden wedge that represents St. Mary’s Church – an iconic church and view from downtown Port Washington.Port Washington WI Bandshell Dresden Plate

and finally a double wide Dresden wedge that represents the band shell down by Lake Michigan. 

You can get your very own templates for these three special Port Washington Building Dresden Wedge Templates on my craftsy page HERE.  Not from Port Washington?  That’s ok – these three unique buildings will look great in any neighborhood!

Today I’ll show you some tips and tricks on how to fit these special wedges into your neighborhood.  I’m not going to show you the whole process step by step though … that’s what the pattern you purchased is for.  If you are confused with anything from your pattern though don’t hesitate to contact me with questions via email:  lapaceksorchard {at} gmail {dot} com … I’m happy to help!

Each special building wedge is equivalent to TWO standard Dresden wedges. For example: if you decide to use one building wedge you would only need 18 regular Dresden wedges for the houses. 

REMEMBER: 1 Double Wedge replaces 2 Regular Dresden Wedges

Port Washington #DresdenNeighborhoodSAL by Kim Lapacek

I used all three special building templates so I only need 14 regular Dresden wedge houses.

My special buildings were all created using the Double Wide Dresden ruler as a template. 

Dresden Neighborhood initial layout

The Lighthouse

This template is going to be a combination of piecing and raw edge applique.  The base of the structure can actually just be a solid wedge.Lighthouse WedgeI cut a wedge that was 4” from the smaller end of the wedge for the base. 

The remaining details of the lighthouse will be fused on with Heat N Bond Lite.raw edge applique for Lighthouse Wedge

I recommend using Heat N Bond Ultrahold for any of the details you want to add that you don’t want to worry about stitching down to secure –for example, anything small like the windows on the lighthouse.

Lighthouse Wedge in Dresden Neighborhood

There are some small details on the lighthouse that could be stitched in with your sewing machine OR you could do some hand stitching to add even more interest to your piece.

Lighthouse Wedge in Dresden Neighborhood

I chose the hand stitching option and brought my neighborhood to my daughter’s basketball tournament to work on.  Before I left the house I used the blue end of the Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen to sketch out the lines I wanted to stitch. Aurifil 12 Wt 2692

Aurifil 12 Wt in 2692 was the perfect thread for stitching the details of the railing onto the lighthouse.


St. Mary’s Church

The shape of this Dresden Wedge building is unique and while you could trace it onto your fabric and cut it carefully out, I would recommend fusing this particular plate to Heat N Bond lite.  This is a situation where I’m really happy that ThermoWeb makes HeatNBond Ez-Print Lite sheets.  Fusible paper that can go right into your inkjet printer and print the template exactly!  This is much more accurate than tracing the details by hand.Heat N Bond EZ-Print Lite Sheets

Once the Dresden wedge is printed you can fuse it to the fabric you chose for the main church building.

St Mary's Church WedgeTo keep it extremely accurate, I used my Double Wide Dresden Ruler to cut out the bottom and sides of the church.  I then carefully cut the rest of the details with a small, sharp scissors

St Mary's Church WedgeWhen you’re ready to sew your church wedge into the whole neighorhood plate be sure to peel the paper off.  This will leave you with a shiny, almost rubbery feeling surface.  I discovered that it fed through my sewing machine better with the fusible side down towards the bed of the machine.  You may have to play around and see what works best on your machine.

sewing together

Because the church wedge has fusible on it, the seams cannot be pressed with an iron when adding it into the neighborhood.  This is where a tool I got in one of my Fat Quarter Shop Sew Sampler Boxes came in handy!  It’s a Clover Press Perfect foot.  It allowed me to press the seam sharply without using the heat of an iron.Clover Press Perfect Foot

Once the church plate is pieced, the remaining details of the church will be fused on.  Due to the intricacy’s of the church details I would recommend printing a second church onto the HeatNBond Ez-Print Lite sheets.  You can then fuse this sheet to the main detail fabric and cut out the shapes you need.

Remember, if the details is small and you don’t want to have secure it in place with stitches trace it onto Heat N Bond Ultrahold for fusing.

hand stitching details on Dresden Neighborhood Quilt

I chose to hand stitch the intricate line details of the church on with Aurifil 12 Wt in 2692

The Bandshell

Bandshell Dresden Neighborhood WedgeJust as the church was, the bandshell is an odd shaped wedge.  I printed the pattern onto HeatNBond Ez-Print Lite sheets to get the main shape of the building.  Heat N Bond Lite FusibleMost of the details can be directly traced onto fusible since direction doesn’t matter.  The flag however must be flipped to maintain the proper direction.  To do this I simply printed the template onto regular paper, flipped it to the back and traced the reverse image of the flag.  I then used that reverse image to create my template on the fusible. You can see how I forgot about this at first and had to cross out the tracing that was in the wrong orientation.

When you sew the bandshell into your neighborhood you’re going to want to follow the same method as the church. B sure not to iron it and instead use the Clover Press Perfect foot to create a crisp seam.

Wedges - Port Washington Dresden Neighborhood by Kim Lapacek

I had fun picking out a few special fabrics for the regular house wedges in my Port Washington neighborhood.  Since it was my hometown it’s where I went to school and I was a bit of a nerd in school. In fact, for Senior awards I won the award of “Teacher’s Pet.”  Not sure if it’s something to be proud of but I really liked school! The girl with the books on her head and reading a book is a perfect example of me growing up.  The fish in the fish bowl represents one of the biggest festivals in Port Washington – Fish Day!  It’s the worlds largest one day outdoor fish fry and if you’re ever near Port Washington on the third Saturday in July I’d recommend stopping in to check it out.  Skulls were necessary since it’s a harbor town and the High School Mascot is the pirate.Seagulls -Port Washington Dresden Neighborhood by Kim LapacekAnd of course I needed to include a touristy seagull house.  Port Washington has tons of seagulls AND tourists in the summer!

Port Washington Dresden Neighborhood by Kim Lapacek

My first Dresden Neighborhood block for the #DresdenNeighborhoodSAL is complete! I hope you found some inspiration in my post and give these special buildings a try. 

One more note before I go.  Since this is going to be a busy, scrappy quilt I will share one trick of mine to help make the blocks relate to each other. 

Scraps for future Dresden Neighborhoods

Any fabric I used that I had a decent piece left, I saved and I will use as I continue to make more Dresden Neighborhood blocks.  Now I probably won’t use all of them, but one or two at least.

Dresden Neighborhood House Wedge

I also cut out a few Dresden wedges from the background fabric that I hope to incorporate into one or more of the 11 Dresden Neighborhood blocks I have yet to make.

After I make the next block, I’ll add the fabric scraps into this bin and continue the process until I’m complete.  By mixing even a little of the same fabrics throughout the piece it will blend dresdenSALtogether better.

Now it’s your turn!  Let’s see what you come up with for your first Dresden Neighborhood for the #DresdenNeighborhoodSAL!  Feel free to share photos in my facebook group “Quilt and Dream Along with Kim Lapacek”, post to instagram with the hashtag #DresdenNeighborhoodSAL and/or link up below!


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*some posts on this blog contain affiliate links to vendors such as Amazon - at no additional cost to you. The small amount of affiliate income I earn allows me to bring you free patterns and DIY tutorials, as well as pay for domain fees. For more information, please visit my Disclosure Statement and Advertising Policies page.