This Sunbonnet Sue Sisters Quilt will Make Your Day!

Apr 20, 2018 8:00:00 AM / by Gina Gempesaw

This Quilt Features Sunbonnet Sue and her Sisters!

Hi, fellow GO! Getters! It's Gina from Gem Hill Quilts. Do you come from a large family? I happen to have 3 older brothers and 3 older sisters and let's not even talk about cousins! Most of us live in separate towns (and countries!) that are thousands of miles from one another. Having a complete family reunion is usually impossible. However, around this time last year, my mother was celebrating her 85th birthday. So, for the first time in several decades, we all managed to be at the same place and at the same time!

Getting together showed me that the miles do not matter. Love and family remain. It is especially true of my sisters and I. We remain close.


Here we are at an Eagle Sanctuary. From the left, there's Susan (#1 sister), me, Joji (#3 sister) and Cherry (#2 sister).

Susan is the leader of group or the "general" as we lovingly call her! Cherry is fiercely independent, dabbles in embroidery and is a wonderful baker. Joji is our steel magnolia - tough, resilient and always classy. I have a little bit of all of them in me.

For this post, I liked the idea of making a "photograph" of the four of us as different Sunbonnet Sues! It seemed especially appropriate since we actually have our very own Sue (or Susan!).

Sunbonnet Sue is usually associated with the pretty and mostly pastel shades of 1930's reproduction fabrics. However, I thought, my sisters and I are better represented in darker and more saturated colors and prints. So, the resulting project is a bit unusual, fabric-wise. I hope you enjoy it and get inspired to make your own quilt version!


For this project, I used the #55061 GO! Sunbonnet Sue die, Shape 5: GO! Half Square Triangle-1 1/2" Finished Square from the GO! Qube 6” Mix and Match Quilt Block and Shape 10: GO! Signature Block - 3" Finished from the GO! Qube 6" Companion Set - Classics.

For the scrappy quilt background, I used the light colors and small prints that remind me of the 1930s.

Cutting directions are fairly easy. I personally used 8 assorted background fabrics, no more than a fat quarter of any of them. You can use more fabrics if you wish. From these fabrics, cut 48 of Shape 10: GO! Signature Block - 3" Finished and cut 96 of Shape 5: GO! Half Square Triangle-1 1/2" Finished Square.

Sew a pair of Shape 5 triangles with a Shape 10 patch to create a square unit. Press seams in one direction. Make 48 of these.

Lay these square units out in a 4 x 12 setting. While you can lay out these units in a multiple of ways. I love the idea of having X's and O's as the background as this quilt is all about love, family and sisterhood. So I rotated every other square unit to give that impression of X's and O's, depending on how you look at it.  Here's the "O" made with 4 square units:

Once you have decided on the setting, sew units within each row together. Then, sew rows together into a quilt top that measures about 12 1/2" x 36 1/2".

Layer the quilt top with batting and machine quilt as desired. I used a serpentine stitch on the horizontal and vertical seams for a nice quick and basic machine quilting. Trim excess batting off.

To create the Sunbonnet Sue figures, I used multiple scrappy fabrics, most of which I fussy-cut. Yes, fussy-cut with your die! It can be done!

The first thing I did was to study the GO! Sunbonnet Sue die. I realized that one 5" square of fabric would cover the bonnet, the sleeve and the shoe shapes. One 4 1/2" x 6" fabric rectangle would be sufficient to cut the dress shape and a 1 1/2" square fabric would be a good size for the hand.

Armed with this information, I cut a 5" square piece of paper as well as a 4 1/2" x 6" paper rectangle. I positioned the 5" square over the bonnet, sleeve and the shoe shapes on the die and marked the foam along the edges of the 5" square. Placing the 4 1/2" x 6" rectangle over the dress shape, I also marked the foam along its edges.

Then, with both paper shapes in place on the die, I ran it through the fabric cutter. Discarding the paper shapes of the bonnet, sleeve, shoe and dress, I was left with two wonderful templates that allowed me to see how to fussy cut the fabrics!

For instance, take the 5" square template and place it over the fabric for the bonnet/sleeve/shoe. When satisfied with the placement, cut the fabric along the edges of the 5" square template. Fuse a 5" piece of paper-backed fusible web on the wrong side of the fabric.

Place the fabric with the paper-backed fusible on the die, lining up the edges with the marks on the foam. When ran through the fabric cutter, this will yield a fussy-cut bonnet, sleeve and shoe shapes!

Do the same with the 4 1/2" x 6" rectangular template and fabric to fussy-cut the dress shape.

Cut a set of fussy-cut shapes for each Sunbonnet Sue figure. I used a 5" square of flesh-colored fabric to cut the hand shapes and, in one instance, cut an arm shape from the sleeve shape. This is because Joji is wearing a sleeveless little black dress!

If you wish for the Sunbonnet Sue figure to face left like Susan in this quilt project, place the bonnet/sleeve/shoe fabric right side down on the die. If she is facing right, then the fabric is placed right side up!

Layout the Sunbonnet Sue figures on the background quilt and fuse in place. Feel free to tilt the bonnet, the dress, and the sleeve/hand as you wish. In this project, the bonnets are all tilted down as though we are all avoiding the sun!

You may choose to stitch the edges down and machine quilt around each shape.

Then, with some buttons, pearls and rhinestones, I embellished each figure to correspond to each of my sisters. As you can see, I'm holding scissors, Joji is dressed to the nines in her little black dress, Cherry, the baker, is holding a cupcake and Susan has the five stars! Oh, and we all have fancy "diamond" bracelets!


Isn't that a lot of fun?!!

I can just envision this quilt made for a group of girlfriends instead of sisters! Also, just imagine getting the #55062 GO! Overall Sam die and create a "photograph" of your own family. I am tempted to create a wedding version of this project and dress Sunbonnet Sue in lace and pearls! So many possibilities.

The final step for my project will be to mount it on a foam board and possibly frame it. However, you can easily make your version as a table runner or a quilted wall hanging. So, finish the quilt as you desire!

Come and visit my site to see some of my other projects including several made with the GO! Fabric Cutter.


Topics: Education, Tutorials

Gina Gempesaw

Written by Gina Gempesaw

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