Sunbonnet Sue is a lovely addition to many quilts and I thought that she was just the lady for this Valentine quilt pattern. Actually it’s probably more accurate to describe it as a Valentine quilted wall hanging given that it measures 30″ wide by 36″ high. I have used two Sunbonnet Sues – I have no idea what the collective noun for them is but I think that a patchwork of Sunbonnet Sues has a definite ring to it!
I’ve used scraps for the squares at the bottom together with 1/2 yard of the pink fabric for the Sunbonnet Sues and the binding, and 20″ of the blue fabric for the sky.
One hundred and twenty 2.1/2″ squares from scrap, broadly split into dark, brown, green and blue sections.
Pink fabric: one 6.1/2″ strip cut across the width of fabric, four 2.1/2″ strips for the binding
Sky blue fabric: rectangle 20.1/2″ by 30.1/2″
Backing and wadding: 34″ by 40″ rectangle of each
Small amount of Bondaweb or other fusible interfacing.
Making the wall hanging background
To begin with, sort your scrap 2.1/2″ squares into eight sets of fifteen squares. Broadly I have used dark fabrics (blacks and purples) for the bottom two rows. Above these are two rows of assorted brown squares, then two rows of assorted green squares. These are intended to be the ground. Above these are two rows of assorted blue squares which are the start of the sky. Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.
For the rest of the sky cut a rectangle 30.1/2″ wide by 20.1/2″ high and sew this to the rows of patchwork squares.
This is the background of the Valentine wall hanging – now you just need to applique the patchwork of Sunbonnet Sues and the circles to form a heart shape.
You may have your own Sunbonnet Sue templates to use, but I have put the very simple templates that I used here. The bonnet and skirt are fairly obvious, the small shape on the left is her arm and the small shape on the right is her feet. Normally you would cut these from different fabrics, but I felt that there were so many different fabrics already in use that she would stand out better if she was made from one fabric only.
Cut two rectangles of the pink fabric about 6.1/2″ by 10″. Back both of them with bondaweb or some similar fusible interfacing. Place the two rectangles with wrong sides together. Pin the paper templates to the fabric, mark the outlines and cut them out. The reason that I have used two rectangles like this is so that I will get two Sunbonnet Sues, one being the mirror image of the other. That way you can place them facing towards each other – or more accurately towards the heart shape in the middle.
Place the skirt first. I have placed mine on the fourth square in from each side, with the bottom of the skirt resting on the top of the green row of squares. Now place the bonnet, arm and shoes in place and press or pin. I have tried to angle the bonnet up slightly so that she appears to be looking up at the heart.
Using fabric marker, draw a heart in the middle of the blue sky rectangle. This is a guide for when you place the pink circles there to give you a heart shape. Cut small circles from all the leftover scraps of pink fabric. I didn’t use a template for this, so that the circles would all be different sizes, giving them more of a random feel.
Place the circles within the heart shape. It’s worth taking a step back at this stage to view your quilt from a distance – my heart looked fine when I was close up to it, but from a distance it has a distinctly irregular shape!
If you’ve used interfacing you can now press all the applique shapes in place. Otherwise you will need to pin them – or a small dab of glue helps to hold them in place until you can sew them.
Finishing the Sunbonnet Sue Quilted Wall Hanging
Place the backing fabric right side down, then the wadding and then the patchwork top. Pin. For the quilting I stitched the circles down with small meander quilting and then echo quilted three or four times around the overall heart shape. For the rest of the sky I used a larger meander quilting than I had used within the cirlces.
I was a bit afraid that the Sunbonnet Sues weren’t very well defined so I zigzagged around them using black thread to help the parts of the applique show up better. For the rows of squares I just stitched in the ditch along every second column.
When you’re happy that everything is securely quilted, baste around the edge of the quilt, trim the edges and bind as for any quilt.
Here’s the video:
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