Growing up I was lucky to live 2 miles down the road from my Grandma, who was an avid quilter. Even though she had dozens of grandchildren, I always felt a little special because I lived the closest. She made me several quilts, and even tried to teach me to sew, over the years that we were neighbors. I love all the quilts she made me, but one of my favorites was the Sunbonnet Sue quilt she gave me when I was young.

After she passed, I inherited all of her sewing supplies, which includes many unfinished quilts and lots of pieces already cut and ready to sew. I recently went through those things and came across her Sunbonnet Sue templates. So, when I was tasked with creating a springtime pillow project, it was easy for me to decide what to make: a Springtime Sue quilted pillow. Made with pretty spring colors and floral fabrics, it’s sure to brighten up a room and make you smile! Today I am sharing a step-by-step tutorial, along with my grandma’s Sunbonnet Sue patterns, so you can make one too!

Supplies Needed

  • Eight 5 1/4″ squares of white fabric
  • Eight 5 1/4″ squares of assorted green fabrics
  • Four 3.5″ squares of yellow fabric
  • A 12.5″ square of background fabric
  • 1/4 yard of binding fabric
  • 1/2 yard of pillow backing fabric
  • 19.5″ square of batting
  • 20.5″ square of lining fabric
  • 22″ zipper
  • Three buttons
  • Scraps of black and flesh tone felt pieces
  • 1.5″ x 2.25″ scraps of fabric for her legs (cut two)
  • Embroidery thread
  • Spray n Bond Quilt Basting Spray
  • 1 package of Medium weight Heat n Bond interfacing
  • Springtime Sue Templates

Sewing Instructions

  • Make the pinwheels:
    • Draw two diagonal lines on the back of all of the white squares
    • Place white square right sides together with a green square, and sew 1/4″ on either side of the drawn lines.
    • Cut the squares four times: horizontally, vertically, and along the drawn lines. You will have eight half square triangles from each larger square.

    • Press toward the darker fabric, and trim each square to 2″.

    • Arrange four of the squares in a pinwheel pattern and sew it together. You will have two complete pinwheels from each white/green square sewn together.

    • Repeat for remaining white/green squares. When finished, you should have 16 pinwheels measuring 3.5″ each.
    • Sew the pinwheels together in strips of four.
    • Sew a pinwheel strip to the top and bottom of the 12.5″ white square. Sew a yellow square to the top and bottom of the remaining two pinwheel strips, and sew those to the sides of the white square. Set aside while you prepare your applique pieces.
  • Prepare the applique:
    • Trace the pattern pieces for the dress, bonnet, and arm onto the non-bumpy side of the Heat n Bond interfacing. Cut out the shapes and include a little extra for a seam allowance. Roughly cut the fabric pieces for each shape. Place the bumpy side of the interfacing toward the right side of the fabric, and sew along the drawn lines. Sew all the way around.

    • Cut a small slit in the interfacing and turn each piece right side out.

    • Cut out the hand and shoe pieces from the scraps of felt.
    • Make the legs by pressing under a scant 1/4″ along the long edges of the 1.5″ x 2.25″ pieces of fabric.
    • Spray these pieces with a little Spray n Bond basting spray, and arrange all applique pieces in the center of the white square. Once you are happy with the placement, iron all pieces in place.

  • Add the details:
    • With your embroidery thread, stitch a ribbon along with her bonnet, and add some flower stems to her hand.
    • Sew a colorful button to the top of each flower stem.

    • Layer your pillow top, batting, and lining fabric together, and quilt as desired.
  • Make the Pillow Back:
    • Cut the backing fabric into two pieces:
      • 18.5″ x 15″
      • 18.5″ x 6″
    • Sew in the zipper:

    • Trimming from the bottom, cut the pillow back to an 18.5″ square.
  • Cut two 2.25″ x WOF strips of the binding fabric. Sew strips together and attach binding using your favorite method.
  • Stuff with a 20″ pillow, and enjoy!
    • NOTE: I always use a pillow insert slightly larger than my pillow so it’s extra fluffy!

Thanks for sewing along with me! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!