Sweet Sunshine Quilt: A Tutorial {Of Sorts}

Sweet Sunshine Quilt

This post contains very little slacker mom content, and it contains a lot of pictures. Just fair warning!

Sweet Sunshine Quilt

Early this month, my little baby celebrated her third birthday. Three! What’s up with that? Anyway, my February-due-but-born-in-March-thank-you-very-much born at home baby was the recipient of one of my very first quilts, so it seemed time to update her with a big girl quilt. This is a tutorial “of sorts” because while I won’t be giving you step by step photos or instructions, I will tell you what I did so if you have any sort of quilt experience, you can easily replicate it on your own. You’re welcome. ;)

The fabric in the Sweet Sunshine Quilt comes from the “Hello Sunshine” line by Lori Whitlock (for Riley Blake). It’s a pretty simple sixteen patch quilt using a strip-piecing method. The sixteen patches might look hard, but were seriously the easiest part of this quilt. This quilt used 2 Hello Sunshine rolie polies (aka half jelly rolls), and I used a total of 47 2.5″ strips in this quilt. It yielded exactly enough blocks with one leftover.

Sixteen Patches

Here’s a sixteen patch tutorial using the strip piecing method that I used. (Note that her strips were 2×7, I used 2.5″ jellyroll strips and sewed the strips together by the width of the whole strip. I also cut my rows of four into 2.5″ rows, leave a comment if I just confused you!)

One of the things that absolutely boggled my mind on this quilt was how to put the quilt on point, which means setting the squares on the diagonal. It’s actually really easy, but figuring out the finished size of the quilt beforehand was pretty much impossible for me. I’m not mathematically inclined, however. :)

Here’s a tutorial for setting quilts on point. I also found this pdf tutorial useful!

Sweet Sunshine Quilt

The quilt was going to feature plain white sashing, (I used a white Moda jelly roll and had tons of excess) but the mathematically disinclined did something really stupid (um, don’t cut all your white fabric into 8.5″ strips if you want to use white sashing for your entire quilt). I decided on pink cornerstones, so I cut some yardage (approx. 1/4  yard of this pink fabric) into 2.5×2.5 squares.

Here’s the sashing with cornerstones tutorial using the method I used.

Little Birdie Backing Fabric

I then decided to do something really crazy, and planned a bit of applique with some pretty intense embroidery. I enjoyed the process, but I fretted about every step. Clearly, it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for me. I used a high tech process of enlarging the bird fabric image on my tablet, laying the tracing paper on top of my tablet, and gently tracing.

Embroidery & Applique

I used the “starch and cereal box” method described here, except I used a Ritz Cracker box. ;) I found the Faultless starch at Walmart for $.98. I’ve done a bit of embroidery though obviously, I’m no professional, but I found this website helpful for various techniques. The stitches I used were a stem stitch, back stitch, satin stitch, and the french knot. (These are all very basic stitches so don’t be intimidated.) I hope the real embroiderers in the world won’t judge me too much on my less than perfect attempt!

Little Bird Embroidery

For the binding, I used a machine binding tutorial because I was super short on time–as in, staying up till 2 or 3 a.m. several nights in a row before her birthday. I used this one and unfortunately, it didn’t work well for me at all. Like, at all.  But being short on time as I was, it is what it is. (I should have tried it on a simpler project first!) I have since used this machine binding tutorial on another quilt and it worked much, much, much better. It might be my new binding method!


During one of my late night sew sessions, it entered into my sleep deprived brain that I should embroider a tag for the back. Of course! Why not! This was the last thing I finished, and I finished it on her birthday, at 2 pm, which unfortunately meant a lot of her birthday was spent with her siblings while I called “I’m almost done!” from the other room.

Quilt Tag Embroidery

I started this quilt about a month in advance but obsessed over every step. I spent a good week designing the quilt, then redesigned and reconfigured pretty much every step of the way. Attempting to figure out what the finished size would be put me in tears and reminded me of 8th grade math–it wasn’t pretty. The embroidery took about one million hours longer than I thought and I was so frustrated it didn’t work out perfectly. In the end, I haven’t been that fuzzy brain tired since I had a newborn and a toddler!

Was it worth it? Absolutely. I spent way too much time dithering around indecisively  but my fun, bright, spunky, hilarious, darling little three year old drags around this quilt and calls it “my Favorite Quilt.” Which is perfect, because she is my favorite three year old!

Opening the Quilt

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2 Responses to Sweet Sunshine Quilt: A Tutorial {Of Sorts}

  1. Oh my goodness, this quilt is gorgeous! I have big dreams that one day I’ll have the talent and skill to make something this beautiful, but that day is not close. Until then I’m making a ragedy jean blanket, that has taken me like 6 months because I’ve broken way too many needles and forget about it. One day it will happen. Until then I suppose I can admire your skills…

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