Star Dresden Pillow

I bet a lot of you saw Nicole’s Star Dresden Tutorial a few weeks ago, right? Wasn’t it great? I knew I had to make one right away.

Star Dresden Pillow

I have to confess: for whatever reason I’m not really drawn to the traditional Dresden block. But something about Nicole’s idea of making the inside of the petals pointy as well as the outside just completely transforms this for me. Maybe it’s the star shape that then appears in the center, which has a vaguely Islamic feel to it. It goes pretty well with my Palatina Pillow, don’t you think?

Star Dresden Pillow and Palatina Pillow

I modified Nicole’s instructions slightly to make twelve petals instead of thirteen. The template I used is here if you want it. I basted both the front and back pieces to batting and some muslin before assembling the pillow. The only quilting I did was some hand quilting around the star. The starting point for my fabrics was this cute custom bundle from Fabricworm, with some other fabrics from Amy Butler, Tula Pink, and (no surprises here) Carolyn Friedlander thrown in.

Star Dresden Pillow Detail

I was about 90% done with this two weeks ago before I left on a trip (hi, future in-laws!), but I had a little snafu with the binding. I’ve never made a pillow with binding before, and I didn’t make it wide enough to cover the multiple layers of batting. So frustrating! I had to buy more of the binding fabric to redo it, because by that point my heart was set on it and nothing else would do. Here’s the back closure.

Star Dresden Pillow Back

Another confession: there is just the tiniest voice in my head that’s telling me the star shouldn’t be quite so off-center. I was trying to be all modern and out-of-the-box, but the voice says maybe I went just a little too far. It’s telling me to take my seam ripper, remove the dresden, and make a whole new pillow. I’ve decided to ignore that voice. Sometimes you just have to draw a line in the sand of your own craziness.

However, this brings me to another thing I feel compelled to share with you, which is that I finally figured out how to use my seam ripper… as a ripper! Don’t laugh. I don’t know quite how this eluded me for so long. I had been using it to pick out individual stitches from one side of the seam, but somehow I never thought to position it so that it could slide along the seam between the two layers and pop-pop-pop them apart in one fluid motion. I feel like I discovered the freaking wheel, you guys!

In other news, I’m excited that the Penny Sampler class starts this week. I’ve got all my supplies and am rearing to go. Now that it’s been driven home to me what newbie sewer I am, I just know I’m going to learn a ton!


  1. I love the way those modern fabrics mix with the traditional dresden. And the hand quilting in the center star is a great idea – when I saw the tutorial the star center didn’t pop out at me.

    Off to experiment with my seam ripper…

  2. OMG! It looks gorgeous!!! I love it! And i’ve been itching to try your Palatine pillow, i’m so going to pick up some more Field Study and make one to match my Dresden pillow! It’s like they were meant to be together… man i’m cheesy.
    And your comment about the ripper, too funny! Careful when you use it that way though, the number of times i’ve pop, pop, popped and then ripped the fabric, shockingly high!

  3. So clever and such a great project! With respect to the dresden being “too far” off centre, here is my .02 worth. In the photo where you have featured this pillow alongside your Palatina pillow, you can see the dresden sits higher and to the right and in the shot, it is nicely balanced with the lime green dotted binding which sits on the lower left side. I think they balance each other off beautifully and if I were you I wouldn’t second guess the placement for a minute!

    Thank you for sharing and inspiring. As usual, lovely, lovely project and photos!

  4. This is beautiful, Cari! Of course I am biased (towards miss snips and anything dresden!) but your take is truly lovely and the handquilting is a perfect touch :) In other news, looking forward to following your penny sampler adventures — I might not have time to undertake Rachel’s course right now but I’m looking forward to living vicariously through all my quilty friends nonetheless :)

  5. Oh my gosh you are the cutest haha love the seam ripper bit. I mostly just pick out individual stitches myself but it can be pretty revolutionary :) your pillow is stunning. It looks amazing with your Palatina pillow (which I’ve been trying to try!). I really see what you mean about the Muslim architectural details shining through on this version of the Dresden plate. It reminds me a lot of wall/ceiling carvings I’ve seen on various trips.

  6. lovely! i like the off-center layout

  7. I love this style of the Dresden. I’m planning on making another Dresden quilt using this technique. Your pillow looks amazing!

  8. this pillow is cute as a button! and I love your hand stitching:)

  9. I love this pillow and dresden! Love the hand quilting too! Just perfect!

  10. One day, when I’m feeling gutsy, I totally need to do an “inspired by Cari” sewing project. As always, I’m in awe. Your pillow looks incredible!!

  11. Cute pillow! Great fabrics! I especially like the blue fabric with the flowers.

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

  12. Gorgeous pillow! Snips’ tutorial is awesome.

  13. I think your placement is perfect! I love the hand stitches too. The binding really adds to it, so worth the re-do. I have used my ripper like that, but occasionally sliced my fabric if it gets hung up. My mom is a seamstress and uses a razor blade!!! Scary for me, I think I will stick to the ripper:) Rule #1: No bleeding on the quilt!

  14. I like your pillow. Nice work! Have a nice week!