May 13, 2008

Sunbonnet Sue: Free Quilt Patterns

We all know Sunbonnet Sue. Some of us love her, some of us have appliqued or quilted her and some even remember her from childhood days.

Whether you know the pattern as the Sunbonnet Sue, or the Dutch doll, Bonnie Bonnet, or as the Sun Bonnet Babies....she's been made into quilts, painted on nursery walls, appliqued onto clothing and goes back to our grandmother's or even great-grandmother's time.

Many of the illustrators of the late 1800's and the early 20th century drew playful children with big hats or bonnets, but only a few are recognized as being Sue's earliest illustrators. The first is Kate (Catherine)Greenaway (1846-1901) who as a British book editor who often drew pictures of children, especially sweet girls in bonnets on her greeting cards. 

Many of her designs were used on the patches of fine Victorian crazy quilts or appeared in early editions of Smithsonian magazine. These were probably Sue's very first appearance in quilts.



But it is another illustrator, Bertha Corbett Melcher, who is officially regarded as the "Mother of Sunbonnet Babies." Bertha illustrated children's Primer books in the early 1900's and her books depicted girls with their faces hidden by their bonnets. 

Her drawings caught the eye of a Primer illustrator Eulalie Osgood Grover, and the two women began a collaboration what would last for many year, through many different Primer books.

An early Housekeeper magazine reprint of that article describes this time of her life. Although most of her time was spent on her Sunbonnet Babies, she was a recognized artist in her own right and worked in water colors, oil, and ivory miniatures.

0, we are the Sun-bonnet Babies.
Good morning, and how do you do? We came all the way the other day,
From a bottle of ink for you.

We all are so very polite,
We never so much as look,
But laugh away about our play,
All through this wonderful book....

A little girl that once I knew
Read this book completely through;
Read it every word, and then
Read it all right through again!
by Bertha Corbett Melcher

Reprinted from THE HOUSEKEEPER, September 1907

Sue & Sam Paper Pieced Block

Sunbonnet Sue Doll

Sunbonnet Sue Gardens..requires McCalls sign in

Sunbonnet Sue and Overalls Sam Quilt - Here's My Heart Quilt ...

Sunbonnet Sue's Click here for the Sue Pattern
Click here for the Sam Pattern

Umbrella Lady Quilt

Bride Sues

Free Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Pattern

Shown below...a Sunbonnet (shaped like a bonnet) Sewing Case...a Vintage Pattern!

This pattern is quite the charmer, it’s a unique Sunbonnet Sewing Case which has the brim of the bonnet holding needles while the bonnet itself is a small drawstring pouch to hold sewing supplies (like threads, a thimble, small pair of scissors, etc.). This pattern is from 1936.

Fabric: Use gingham, cotton print, silk or velvet.

Cutting Instructions:

Picture of Pattern Pieces - Click For Larger -
  • Cut section (1) on fold of material.

  • From section (2) cut 1 pair for outside and another pair for inside facing.

  • From section (2) also cut 2 cardboard pieces for stiffening and 2 white flannel pieces (for inside needle section) omitting the 1/4 inch seam allowance.
  • Join each section (2) to facing leaving long straight side free, insert cardboard. Repeat for other side.

  • Sew tape to form casing on underside of section (1) finish lower edge with narrow hem and draw gathers at other edge into 6-1/2 inches. Join the gathered edge to one edge of section (2).

  • Buttonhole the curved and short side of each white flannel section (detail 2) using 2 threads six strand cotton. Turn in seam allowance of facing and slipstitch to position over the raw edge of each flannelette section.

  • Slip ribbon through casing, draw together and tie a bow.

Pattern Download

Both the image file and a pdf are available below

(First save to your desktop before printing; Don’t check “Fit To Page” and it should print out true to size.)

The pattern won’t print off true to size so you’ll need to enlarge it (measurement details are included in the pdf).

About 14 results (0.26 seconds)

Jan 20, 2010 ... Two-thirds of a yard of average material will be enough. Vintage Sunbonnet Pattern (1952). The proportions shown on the chart should remain, ...

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Sep 5, 2012 ... Here's a charming set from my vintage pattern collection that features a sweet sunbonnet girl performing daily tasks around the home.

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Pattern Found At Vintage Sunbonnet Sewing Case. This pattern is quite the charmer, it's a unique Sunbonnet Sewing Case which has the brim of ...

Oct 28, 2009 ... Sunbonnet Gal Days Of The Week: {Embroidery}; Fruit Designs: Applique & Embroidery Patterns; Scottie Dog Days of the Week: {Cross Stitch ...



Quiltdivajulie said...

Thanks for another wonderful post -- I "rescued" my sister's Sunbonnet Sue quilt and re-made it for her (Christmas 2006)... originally pieced by our grandmother, used until it was nearly threadbare, now reborn for another generation or two to enjoy...

Anonymous said...

If im in the situation of the owner of this blog. I dont know how to post this kind of topic. he has a nice idea.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog..thru a search on google...and I wanted to ty for sharing the SunBonnet Sue...links....

Ocean Dreams said...

Best Sunbonnet Sue, Sam and Bonnet Babies links that I've seen so far. Thank you so much for sharing all of your free patterns with us. Amazing collection of graphics of the Sunbonnet babies!

JanetSue said...

while in Nevada, my friend took a picture of a raffle quilt which featured sunbonnet sue blocks but instead of the traditional hat, each sue had a flower for the head/hat...very cute... have you heard of this pattern or where it might be purchased?

Unknown said...

Saw a pieced sunbonnet sue & sam quilt yesterday. Each block was made with 1" (or 1.5") squares, 144 in each block, six sue and six sam blocks. Has anyone see this pattern before?

Unknown said...

Saw a pieced sunbonnet sue & sam yesterday. It was made from 1" (or 1.5") squares, 144 squares in each block, six sam and six sue blocks. Has anyone seen this pattern before. I found just one block in my searching so far. Thanks.

Unknown said...

I would like to find a pre cut kit if possible.Any ideas where to obtain one.

Unknown said...

I would like to find a pre cut kit if possible.Any ideas where to obtain one.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Here is one link and potential source:

Michele Bilyeu said...

And here is another link and potential source:

Unknown said...

Does anyone know where I could get the pattern of Baby Sunbonnet Sue Crawling? My mother-in-law had the pattern but I can't find it now?