Sunshine Shadow Quilt Pattern

Sunshine shadow quilt

Sunshine shadow quilt

The sunshine shadow quilt pattern is more often made using a trip around the world technique – that means making strips of squares, sewing them in a loop and then breaking into the loop at different stages to make the design.  It’s a simple enough way of making a quilt, but you have to concentrate to make sure that you always break into the loop at the right place.  After I had made the trip around the world quilt I was asked quite often how to make it larger.  So that started me thinking about a way of making the sunshine shadow quilt that could be easily made smaller or larger without too much effort – I’m all for the easy life.  I tried making a block and to my relief it worked:  you can make this quilt using just one quilt block, rotating it to form the design, and you can make it whatever size you want by just making more or less blocks.

This particular sunshine shadow quilt measures 76″ wide by 100″ long, using 1.1/2 yards each of red, orange, light blue, cream and white with 2 yards of dark blue fabric.  I have used forty eight blocks which are all 12″ square finished size.  Although there are three pairings of fabric (red and orange, dark blue and light blue, cream and white), I haven’t actually set them out as dark, light, dark, light.  I preferred the overall effect by placing the colours the way that you see them.  As ever, you can buy these fabrics at a 10% discount in this week’s special offer.

Sunshine shadow quilt block

Sunshine shadow quilt block

Cutting requirements for the sunshine shadow quilt

2.1/2″ squares:  288 each in all six colours

For the border you will need 2.1/2″ strips of dark blue:  two at 72.1/2″ long and two at 100.1/2″ long.

Making the sunshine shadow quilt block

You can use a certain amount of speed piecing to help, but you do also need individual squares.

Sew some of the fabric strips in pairs

Sew some of the fabric strips in pairs

So I sewed some of the 2.1/2″ strips of fabric together in pairs and left the others to be cut into individual squares.  For both the pairs of strips and the individual strips of fabric I have cut at 2.1/2″ intervals to create pairs of squares or individual squares.

Sunshine shadow quilt block layout

Sunshine shadow quilt block layout

Lay the squares out in six rows of six.  The red squares form one diagonal.  Above them are light blue, dark blue white, cream and then orange squares.  Because the orange square is in last position in row 1, it is then placed in first position in row 2, second position in row 3 and so on down the diagonal.  The cream square is in last position in row 2 so it is then placed in first position in row 3 and then follows the diagonal line.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the quilt block.  Make forty eight of these.

Assembling the sunshine shadow quilt

Rows 1 to 4

Rows 1 to 4

Lay the squares out in eight rows of six blocks.  Rows one to four are all the same as each other:  for the first three blocks the red diagonal goes up from bottom left to top right while for the second three blocks the red diagonal goes down from top left to bottom right.  There are in fact two ways that the block can be placed while still keeping the red diagonal in the same line, so just check that for the first three blocks you have the light blue square in the top left of the block while in the second three blocks the top right square is the light blue.

Rows 5 to 8

Rows 5 to 8

Rows 5 to 8 are also the same as each other, but with the red diagonals going in the opposite direction to those in the first four rows.  This time you want the top right square in each of the first three blocks to be orange, while the top left square should be orange in each of the remaining blocks.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

For the border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of the dark blue fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 72.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 100.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the sunshine shadow quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

I hope that you’ll agree that this is a quick and easy way of making such an eyecatching quilt.  I know that the true trip around the world quilt pattern has an extra row and column forming a cross in the middle, but I have tried to keep this quilt as easy and straightforward as possible.

Square sunshine shadow quilt

Square sunshine shadow quilt

In order to make it larger or smaller you need to add or substract blocks from both the sides or from both top and bottom – you need to have an even number of rows and columns in order to keep the design symmetrical.

In this version I have used sixty four blocks laid out in eight rows of eight blocks.  The final quilt is 100″ square.

Here’s the video:

I’m having some work done in the house next week so it looks like being a hectic week.  I’ve had to spend the last few days tidying my fabric away so that it isn’t exposed to builders’ dust – but it will be worth it!

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  1. I love this pattern. My mother made me a quilt exactly like this using all shades of blue. It was used for years and finally fell apart. I think it was my most favorite of all the quilts she made. Your directions are very clear and easy to follow. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Deb. What lovely memories that quilt must have had for you. I can remember keeping one quilt with good memories long after it should have been retired.

  2. Marilyn Mahabir says:

    I had a new kitchen about 2 years ago. A bit of a nightmare so but SO worthwhile everything I went through. It’s only a week or two out of your life!

    • Hi Marilyn. You are absolutely right – a fortnight is nothing in the overall scheme of things. Already there is enough done for me to look at the new units and sigh with pleasure.

  3. Marilia Correa says:

    I loved this one. So simple but as you said, demanding concentration. I will try to make it. Kisses.

  4. Sheila Belcher says:

    Hello Rose – what a brilliant way of making this Trip round the world version, and oh so many variations possible with the layout of the blocks. I love it. Many thanks for sharing. I always look forward to your emails and have tried lots of the patterns, but this one is an absolute must. Thanks again. Sheila.x

    • Thanks, Sheila. It was the idea of being able to make it smaller or larger so easily that I was aiming for – luckily it worked!

  5. You make such beautiful quilts-Rose.. Thanks for sharing !!!!

  6. Rose, I love this pattern.
    Thank you for making this pattern understandable with your tutorial.
    Have a lovely time in London.

  7. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Love this quilt and the colours. I think I can do this. Hope you have a great time tomorrow.
    You seem to be enjoying your new location. Our weather is suppose to be getting bad with snow. Nothing so far we have been lucky so far this year
    Enjoy your weekend and happy quilting

    • Thanks, Sandra. It’s definitely a lot easier (and cheaper) to get to London from here than it was from Ludlow. I hope your weather doesn’t get too bad, although it sounds like it will be a record breaking storm.

  8. Lovely pattern Rose??. Would like to make this one- maybe after the UFO’s are finished!?. Have a nice time in London?.

  9. Beautiful! Thanks Rose for sharing your patterns, another one for my “to Quilt” list.

  10. Wow! Great job at seeing the pattern. This is a far easier way of doing a sunshine-n-shadow/trip-around-the-world than laying out each square of fabric like I did when I made my sister a trip-around-the-world quilt. I will be bookmarking this for the next time I want to make one.

  11. Love the sunshine quilt. Good luck with your building. I have a saying – when you let builders into your house make sure you have a BIG box of Valium. As my daughter always remarks when I get upset “put things into proportion” and remember to keep in mind how much nicer everything will be when it is over. All the best and love from Fay

    • Thanks, Fay – I’ll bear that in mind. I’ve prepared next week’s work already so that I won’t get all stressed if I can’t use my sewing machine because the power’s off or something.

  12. Very colourful. On this very grey morning. A few hours of sunshine after lunch.

  13. Rose, Rose, Rose, I just love you. When you break things down for me I can actually make this quilt. I’m so glad I found your site. thanks again, pat v

  14. Hi Rose,
    Love your quilt. It certainly would be a challenge but worth the effort because it’s so beautiful.
    Re the Quartered Star Quilt pattern, I was lucky to have found more of the same fabric for the border so it was good that I didn’t have to start all over. I will start making the 1/2 square triangles today. I really am exited and I thank you for all your help. We are expecting a snow storm tomorrow so it’ll be a good time to stay home and sew.

    • Hi Claire. I’m so glad you found some more fabric for the border – definitely the best option. That storm heading your way sounds dreadful – definitely not a time to go outside at all.

  15. Beautifully dramatic.

  16. Sunshine in the Isle of Man for a change,and more with the beautiful quilt pattern.Thanks Rose

  17. Some much needed sunshine during the gloomy, Wintry season. Great, clear instructions as always.