Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunburst baby quilt details - Part 1

As promised, I've got some details for you about the way I constructed this quilt top. The blocks are basically a variation of a Dresden Plate. But the entire block (with the exception of the center circle) is pieced into a square, rather than appliqued on to a background.

My 12-block quilt top measures 41.75" x 54.75" with each finished block measuring 12.75" square. I know it seems an odd size, but I wanted the quilt to only use one width of backing fabric (about 42"-44"), and this just barely meets that requirement. I had to monkey around making a few different sized blocks to reach this magic less than 42" mark, and when I finally arrived at this size quilt top, I stopped testing :)

To make this same sized quilt top you'll need the following:

* 2.5 yards of a background fabric (I used Kona Snow)
* 1/2 yard of dark accent fabric (chocolate brown in my quilt)
* 1/4 yard cuts (WOF) of 6 different prints (extra to use for scrappy binding)
* Stack n Whack 15 degree Fan Ruler

*** EDITED January 12, 2016.  Please note that in order for these instructions to work as written you MUST use the Stack-n-Whack 15 degree Fan Ruler.  Other 15 degree rulers have different top and bottom dimensions, and using them will potentially result in a much smaller or even non-existent center circle opening when all your wedges are sewn together. ***

The 15-degree wedge is important here because with it you get 24 wedges per circle, and in order to make each circle into a square block, you have to first cut it into an octagon. 24 wedges/8 sides means you can make each side of the octagon with 3 wedges. I know, I know, you're thinking "what the heck is she talking about?", but just trust me here. It will all be clear a little later in the construction process.

You're going to cut the wedges from strip sets. Cut your fabrics as follows:

Background fabric:
(6) 1.75" WOF strips
(6) 6.25" WOF strips (set these aside to cut into wedges later)
(3) 4.75" WOF strips subcut into (24) 4.75" squares
(5) 2" WOF strips (set aside for final border)

Dark accent:
(6) 1.25" WOF strips

Colored fabrics:
(1) 4.25" WOF strip from EACH color

Make strip sets from each colored fabric as shown:
4.25" colored strip
1.25" dark accent strip
1.75" background strip

Sew each strip set with 1/4" seams. Each sewn strip set should measure 6.25" x WOF.

Press both seams toward the dark fabric.

Aligning the wedge ruler on the strip set using the bottom edge and the 6.25" mark at the top, cut the right waste edge from the strip set.

Flip the strip over and align the wedge ruler on the left cut side of the strip set, cutting your first wedge.

Now you'll have to flip the ruler top-to bottom for each new cut. See how one wedge has the colored fabric on the skinny edge of the wedge and the other one is reversed?

That's what you'll get by flipping the ruler, and you'll have enough wedges (12 of each kind) from each strip set for two quilt blocks with very little waste :)

Here's a photo of all my completed wedges. I've got 14 sets because I wanted to have a couple of blocks left over to make into decorative pillows :)

You've also got to cut your background 6.25" strips into wedges to alternate with the stripped wedges. Cut each of the (6) 6.25" background strips with the wedge ruler as shown in the above photos, and you'll have enough background wedges to make 2 blocks from each WOF strip.

Whew! That's a lot of information for one day. Check back here tomorrow for Part 2!


  1. When I saw the quilt, I was hooked. Can't wait to see how this goes together and then get started on one myself. It really is a striking quilt! Great job

  2. This is a cool quilt and looks like fun to make. Great instructions!

  3. I am SO excited that you are telling us how to do this....Thank you so this design, Shelley!

  4. I must be missing something but what does WOF stand mean? Also, if the fabric measurements give us 2 blocks and your finished quilt has 9 bursts (which I am guessing is a block) then we need to multiply it by 5 to get more than 9 bursts/blocks?

    1. Hello Bobbins! I'm replying here since your blogger profile is set up as "no reply" and I cannot access your email address. WOF means "width of fabric". You'll need traditionally cut 1/4 yards (9" x 42") as opposed to fat quarters.

      My quilt has 12 sunbursts made from 6 different print fabrics as listed in the supplies above. If you'd like to make a larger quilt, you'll need a 1/4 yard cut for every set of 2 sunburst blocks you'd like to have in your quilt. For example, if you wanted to make a quilt with 20 sunbursts, you would need 10 different 1/4 yard cuts of fabric to make up the colored parts of your sunbursts. You would also have to adjust the quantities needed for the background and accent fabrics as well.

      I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have other questions, and thanks for stopping by :)

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your instructions with us. I love your quilt.

  6. I do not know what I love more - the pattern or your clear and detailed instructions. I would love to share this on my forum with other quilters. Please let me know if that is acceptable to you.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Preeti! Please let me know specifically what you would like to share and where it would be shared. I'm so glad you found the directions clear and detailed :)

  7. I want to share the Sunburst quilt tutorial on the Missouri Star Quilt Company's Forum.

  8. Hi Shelley,
    I was immediately in love with this Sunburst quilt and knew I wanted to make this for the first grandchild in my family. I cut my first strips and wedges and was so eager to sew. My local quilt shop did not have the 15 degree stack n whack, but did carry the creative grids 15 degree triangle which they said could be used. However, not only am I not getting the open circle after making my first 3 wedges, I am not able to make a full sunburst. After sewing each wedge, my seam falls right in the middle of the small edge which is so tight when joining the sets. What am I doing incorrectly? Please help if you can. Your instructions and pictures are so clear and easy to understand which is why I can't figure out what I am doing wrong.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      I tried to email a response to you, but you are set up as a "no-reply" commenter on Blogger which means I don't have any idea where my email response to you ended up.

      Anyway, I'm sorry you're having problems with this quilt block. I actually received an email from another quilter who tried to use a Creative Grids 15 degree ruler and had a similar problem.

      I believe different rulers may have a narrower tip than the Stack n Whack, thus causing the lack of a center opening you mentioned. The width of my ruler at the skinny tip is approximately 3/4". The center opening of my finished circles is 2", and around that center edge there is a scant 1/4" of each individual wedge showing.

      If the ruler you are using is truly 15 degrees then mathematically speaking you need 24 wedges to make a circle. But if the narrow edge of each of your wedges is more narrow than mine cut using the Stack n Whack ruler, the resulting center circle is going to be much smaller or even non-existent.

      Can you experiment with cutting some more wedges from scrap fabric? Try to find the marking line on your ruler that will give you a 3/4" cut narrow edge and use that rather than the ruler end. I'm hoping this makes sense; it's so difficult to try and explain things without photos.

      I hope this helps you. The only other advice I can give you is to double check your seam allowances. A scant 1/4" really works best with this block.

      Best of luck! Let me know what happens next.

  9. Me ha encantado tu colcha y tutorial. Sera uno de mis proximos proyectos. muchisimas gracias


Thanks so much for stopping by and reading a little bit about me and taking the time to comment! Have a wonderful day!


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