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Sunbonnet Sue - stitch On the girls?

Sunbonnet Sue - stitch On the girls?

Old 08-11-2020, 08:51 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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Default Sunbonnet Sue - stitch On the girls?

I'm working on my first quilt (story below, if you're interested) and I'm wondering about the FMQ. I like swirls, loops and paisley for the filler, rather than the traditional long diagonal lines found on lots of Sunbonnet Sue quilts.

I've seen a SBS quilt with hand-appliqued girls that did use an overall stipple pattern, and one with amazing feather circles around the girls, but it's sometimes hard to see details in gallery pics.

But do I quilt my filler design *over* my fused-and-zig-zagged girls? I used a 3mm buttonhole stitch with matching thread for each piece (bonnet, dress, apron, shoe, hand, accessories). Leaving the girls totally unquilted would make for big gaps for the batting to shift around.

Do I quilt a single line right next to the buttonhole stitching and save the FMQ paisley for the backgrounds? Would off-white top thread stand out too much?

Background: My mom ambushed me with this project.

I recently went home for a week to give my parents a little company during COVID-19 quarantine. My mom pulls out .. of baby clothes she saved from my sister and me. She's been schlepping these around for 50+ years (awesome 70s prints!) with the intent of making quilts with them for each of us daughters.

She has Sunbonnet Sue quilt that my paternal grandmother made for my dad. My grandmother died before I was born, and we don't have many heirlooms from that side of the family, so the quilt is a real treasure

My dear sister doesn't have a crafty bone in her otherwise very talented body, so this project fell to the two of us.

My mom and I photographed all the washed and ironed baby dresses for posterity before cutting them up (that was ..). We spent several days choosing which fabrics went together and what accessorief the girls will have. One is fishing, since my dad took us a lot. One has a little yellow dog to commorate Lemon, our beloved and long-lived mutt. There's a frog. And balloons. And rosette flowers. We had a ...

I'm home now and have finished appliquéing the girls onto squares and have started sewing the sashing (?) and plain calico blocks together to make the first of 2 queen-sized checkerboard quilts.

I'm a knitter and do other crafty things, but I haven't seriously sewed in decades.

I've been watching YouTube tutorials like crazy and even installed Pinterest back on my phone to gather FMQ pattern ideas.

I bought a free-motion presser foot and a walking foot for an exorbitant amount on eBay since my late Viking 1100 1970's machine has been abandoned by Husqvarna. I spent more on these two presser feet than the dang machine is worth in trade-in. But I live this machine.

I've spent hundreds of dollars on sewing supplies and built a table topper to make a faux drop-in desk with a big-ass platform for quilting (40"x30")

My neglected home-improvement projects are languishing and my dear husband is getting frustrated at waiting on me to organize the basement, but I am obsessed!

I've just got to practice a ton to gain some muscle memory and control over free-motion stitching so I don't ruin my quilt.

When I'm done with mine, I'll decide if I've had enough before I offer to quilt my sister's SBS.

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 08-11-2020 at 02:18 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 08-11-2020, 09:00 AM
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Location: Western Washington
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Check out Lori Kennedy (https://lorikennedyquilts.com) and Angela Walter (https://quiltingismytherapy.com) as they both have a lot of tutorials on fillers and motifs that may help you decide. You can find them both on YouTube. Be sure to post pics when you get quilts completed.
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 72

Oh! The quilt bug really bit hard! LOL! If you leave the girls unquilted they will puff out from the rest of the quilt. Unless the rest of the quilt has lots of spacing between stitching lines. If that makes any sense. I'm not a historian so I don't know if there was a right or wrong way to do SBS. My grandmother's pieces were all hand pieced diamonds, a few are hexi's. No appliqued quilts that I know of. She always quilted about a quarter inch from her seams.
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Old 08-11-2020, 02:00 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 3,005

What an awesome project! When I began FMQ I followed Leahday.com. She has many videos that start from the very basics of setting up your machine for FMQ and then goes on through many different designs. One of her early projects was to do a FMQ design for each day of the year. Some much useful information in one place.

When you choose a batting for your quilt, it will tell you how close together the quilting should be. That can vary quite a bit depending on the type and brand. Personally, I prefer Quilters Dream batting, all types, I've never had a problem with them.

I have done a fair amount of applique quilts and prefer to quilt only the background and not through the design. Sometimes I like to add a little detail to the applique piece and this can be used to help anchor the it if need be. It sure sounds like your buttonhole stitch was quite detailed and I would be surprised if you would need more. Just for comparison, I just completed quilting a quilt that is all appliqued butterflies in 10 inch blocks. I did an outline stitch just outside each butterfly and then a pebble stitch all through the background. I used double batting because I wanted the butterflies to stand out.

Can't wait to see your quilt!

Last edited by suern3; 08-11-2020 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 08-11-2020, 03:08 PM
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I would decide on my fill and loops or paisleys would look nice. The large appliqués will get wrinkles if there is no quilting in them. I would do my background fill and while doing it, I would stop at a spot where you can do a line of stitching along the bonnet where it attaches to the body, I would go across the dress part with a line a stitching and put a heart in the center of the dress and then continue with my background fill.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:58 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
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I am a visual gal. Would love to see a picture of the Sunbonnet Sue blocks you have made. What size are they?

I looked up a lot of SBS quilts, and most quilting was done to emphasize the lines on the SBS....the arm, the hat, even made ripple lines in the dress skirts. You can do swirly's, circles, wavy lines, meadering https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...RST&ajaxhist=0 or sunbursts or little dogs and cats, flowers. Anything you can visualize and find a way to keep stitching, without cutting your thread, can be considered a quilting stitch. If you fabric is flowery, maybe trace some of the flowers.
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