Sunshine Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library

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Skill Level: Confident Beginner

A Sunshine quilt block is perfectly pointy with our free paperpiecing patterns to download in both 6" and 8" finished sizes.

Generously cut patches and the ability to sew on a line are the only skills needed to make this fun block.

If you're a machine embroiderer, you'll find that the center square of the 8" version is large enough for a 4" embroidery design (as long as it looks good on point).

Rise and shine, it's time to get started on our Sunshine quilt block.

Sunshine quilt block tutorial

General Instructions

All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".

I switch my presser feet during construction, using an open toe applique foot for paperpiecing and my favorite quarter inch foot with a guide for assembling the blocks.

And finally, heavily starched fabric makes cutting and piecing more accurate, in my humble opinion. One of the added benefits is that you can fingerpress many of the SAs instead of hopping back and forth between the iron and your sewing machine.

Step 1: Download the patterns

To download any of our free paperpiecing patterns, you MUST HAVE ADOBE READER installed on your computer. Get it here if you don't already have it.

WHY ADOBE?

It's simple. My patterns have dashed placement guides to make the positioning of the first patch totally foolproof. With Adobe, they show exactly as intended—a dashed line. In other programs they render as a solid lines which makes it confusing for a beginning quilter.

To start, open the downloaded file, and select the "Print" option.

Under 'Page Sizing and Handling' in the Adobe print menu, set 'Custom Scale' to 100%. Click here to see where it's at on the page.

If you use something other than Adobe, you'll need to set 'Page Scaling' to 'None' to print at '100%'. Printing at 'Actual Size' tends to print blocks at weird sizes.

Choose your finished size from the table below and print the corresponding page.

PRINT the Sunshine Paperpiecing Patterns
Finished
Block Size
# of
copies to print
Link to
PDF Patterns
6” 1 6"
8” 1 8"

Use the information on the printed page to measure your block to confirm that it's the correct size.

Read my review of 6 paper piecing papers available on the market

Not sure which paper to use?

Check out my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.

Which one will you choose?

2021 Showcase Fabrics ~ Get ready to drool!

Click any of the images below to see the full collection, individual fabrics and find pricing/ordering information.

Check out ALL the current Fabric lines showcased on this site in one place.

Step 2: Cutting for a Sunshine block

Sunshine patchwork designSunshine design

Sample Size: 8" finished / 8½" unfinished

Grid: 8x8

Attribution: Ladies Art Company

All of the measurements in the cutting chart below are for squares, i.e. 3-1/8" means to cut a patch 3-1/8" x 3-1/8".

As the patches get smaller, you'll probably want fabrics that read more like a solid—either tone-on-tone or low contrast fabric designs or actual solid fabrics.

In person, the sample block doesn't look quite as busy as it looks in the photos.

The center square for the 8" block is large enough for a 4" machine embroidery design as long as it looks good set on-point.

Don't forget to subcut #1-#6, #8 and #9.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Sunshine Quilt Block

~ Paperpiecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Sub
Cut
Finished Block Size
6” 8”
1 Background 1 Symbol for a quarter square triangle 3-1/8” 3-5/8”
2, 4, 6 A 12 Symbol for a half square triangle 2-1/8” 2-3/8”
3, 5 Background 8 Symbol for a half square triangle 2-1/8” 2-3/8”
7 Background 1 na 3-5/8” 4-3/4”
8, 9 A 2 Symbol for a half square triangle 3-5/8” 4-3/8”
10 Background 4 na 1-1/4” 1-1/2”
Unfinished Block Size na 6-1/2” 8-1/2”
Grid Size na 3/4” 1”

No, your eyes aren't fooling you. The #7 and #8/#9 patches for the 6" finished block are cut the same size.

Flea Market fabric line by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs. Available from Fat Quarter Shop.

Step 3: Assemble the units for a Sunshine quilt block

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16-20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6mm). This perforates the paper. It also stabilizes the seam when you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down when you stitch. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe applique foot (sometimes called an 'embroidery' or 'satin stitch' foot) if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4" before and after the solid stitching lines. ALWAYS. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam. Then press it open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. 

If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.

It really just depends on my mood.

Remember as you follow this paper piecing tutorial, the printed and the fabric sides of this block are mirror-images of each other.

At last!

Let's sew!

Sides

Sunshine quilt block - sides

Make 4

Stick a #1, backside of fabric to unprinted side of pattern, with a dab of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick.

Position #1Use the dashed guidelines for easy positioning (arrows).

With RST, position the long edge of #2 even with either the left or right side of #1 (it doesn't make any difference which is stitched first.)

Line up the edges of #2 with #1.

Stitch on the line between #1 and #2, starting and stopping past the outside dashed line (see arrows).

Stitch, starting and ending past the outside dashed lines.

Trim the SAs to 1/4" either with your scissors or with your rotary cutter.

The seam allowances are trimmed on the #2s.

With RST, position a short edge of a #3 with the trimmed edge of a #2.  For easy placement align the other short side of #3 with the #1 patch. (see arrows)

Position #3

Continue in the same manner: positioning, sewing and trimming for the remaining #3-#6 patches. After the sewing is complete this is what a side unit looks like (below).

A side unit before and after trimming.

Repeat for all four side units.

To trim them to size, lay the 1/4" mark on your ruler directly over the solid outline that surrounds the block. Trim. Repeat for the three remaining sides.

Sunshine quilt block - center

Center

Make 1

Use a dab of gluestick to adhere the #7 square to the unprinted side of the paper between the guidelines.

Position #7 between the guidelines.

With RST, position a #8 on the #7. Line up the point of the patch with the corner of the unit. (see arrow)

Center the #8 patch, RST, with the #7 center square.

Stitch, starting and stopping a 1/4" from the ends of the solid line between #7 and #8. Repeat for the opposite #8. Press.

The center unit with two #8s added.

With RST, add the #9s in the same manner. After stitching, trim away the dog ears to reduce bulk.

Trim away the dog ears.White arrows point to the two dog ears that were trimmed away. Trim all.

Press and trim the unit to size.

Position the 1/4" mark on your ruler directly over the solid outline that surrounds the block. Trim. Repeat for the three remaining sides.

Remove all the paper from all the paper pieced units.

Return your sewing machine to your everyday settings.

The remainder of the block is stitched with traditional techniques.

Install your favorite quarter inch presser foot. Adjust the needle position if needed. Increase to your normal piecing stitch length.

Step 4: Assemble the Sunshine quilt block

Arrange the units into rows. All the points are at the outside edges of the block.

Lay out the patches into rows.

With RST, stitch the units in each row together.

To help encourage a good match at the points in the center of each side, I use pins. Insert a pin through the wrong side of the side unit at the very bottom of the 'V'(right arrow). Insert the pin through the right side of the center, again at the very bottom of the 'V' (left arrow).

Pull the units together and pin on both sides of this 'matching pin', pinning the rest of the seam as you normally would.

For more detailed information on this pinning technique see Perfect Points for Impeccable Patchwork.

Pinning for perfect pointsMy pin came out at the point (left arrow) and went back in at the point (right arrow).

After stitching, SA are pressed away from the bulkier side units.

The units are stitched into rows.

With RST, stitch the rows together.

If your Sunshine block is a bit lumpy. Try my favorite pressing technique for exquisitely flat quilt blocks. You'll be amazed at just how simple it is!

Our Sunshine quilt block is finished!

Share your work to inspire other Quilters!

If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:

  • On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns.
  • Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at julie@generations-quilt-patterns.com.

I love seeing your work!

Our readers do, too!

For even more blocks to make...

Click here to learn about my favorite quilt book resources that inspire my patchwork designs.

For you, are quilt block designs like potato chips...

...you can't have just one?!!

Check the amazing resources I rely on for all the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of a spot in YOUR quilting library, CLICK HERE.


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