“Sunbonnet Sue”

26 12 2013


My friend, Julia, is expecting a baby girl around Christmastime. This is baby #3. And since I made wall quilts for her boys, I asked if she would like a quilt for Elsa Rose, too. “Oh, yes, please!” was her enthusiastic reply.

Julia sent me fabric so I would know the color scheme she had in mind. Of most importance was a pair of valances (short curtains) that hung in her room as a girl. The large purple roses of the curtains coordinated with the other fabrics she sent:   a yellow solid, a purple gingham, and a neutral print (gray on white).


These two orphan blocks from my grandmother’s fabric/project collection served as inspiration for the quilt.  I traced a “Little Dutch Girl,” and then modified the pattern, drawing a larger bonnet and different feet/shoes.


I raided my box of purple fabric and my stack of green tonals and found several that coordinated nicely with the purple rose print. I decided not to use the yellow solid Julia sent. And, in the end, I didn’t use the dark purples from my stash either since the quilt seemed to be more pastel in nature. I thought about using the neutral, gray on white print as the background for “Sunbonnet Sue,” but none of the fabrics for the bonnet or dress contrasted enough with it. So I selected a white on white from my stash as the background square. I used “Steam a Seam” to attach the applique pieces to the 13 1/2″ white square and machine blanket stitched around the pieces with dark purple thread.

I planned to use the rose print as an outer border, but I wanted to use the print in the interior of the quilt, too. Fortunately, there was enough fabric to cut setting triangles as well as strips for the outer border.

Julia's quilt 1

I thought about adding a light green print border next. But my quilting friend, Jennessa, advised on a narrow separating border of medium green. Auditioning the medium green between the rose print and the light green print, I could see she was absolutely right.

Julia's quilt 2

The quilt now measured 24 1/2″ square, a perfect measurement for a border of 4 1/2″ Four Patches I made of purple gingham and light purple tonals. I made Square in a Square corner blocks, fussy cutting purple roses for the center squares. After the Checkerboard border came another narrow border of green and then the outer border of rose print.

Julia's quilt 3

The quilting design is an all-over of heart-shaped leaves and loops with white thread. The hat is embellished with a bow of dark purple ribbon and a triangular button. Medium green fabric for the binding finishes the project. I added a hanging sleeve and label on the back of the quilt.


Now Sunbonnet Sue is ready to welcome Elsa Rose into the world!




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