Thursday, November 16, 2023

Saucer Sunbonnet


Happy Thursday!

Sorry but I had posted this early yesterday by mistake.

Back when I regularly lectured on quilt history, one of the most requested programs by guilds was Project Sunway, a history and display of a variety of sunbonnet quilts.  I encouraged my audience to be interactive and received some very interesting insights to the textiles I presented.

One that very few people liked:

"She looks like a flying saucer," one audience member yelled. 

"Alien Sue," another member chimed in.

I still laugh when I think of these wonderful quilters.

This particular pattern was featured after the 1933 "Century of Progress" World's Fair in Chicago.  It was probably the most interesting quilt contest ever done and a great book on it is this one:

Afterwards, Sears-Roebuck capitalized on the popularity of the contest they sponsored and the surprising amount of entries.  The sunbonnet pattern of this post was featured in a Sears catalog that stated, "Where you there?"  

It's a modern take on a hoop skirt and at least this pattern is appliqued.  Other modern sunbonnets of the time were offered pieced...with curves and piecing well above my skill set.

Laura Wheeler, 1937, Sunbonnet Girl:

Dainty Sue, 1939, Needlework Arts Patterns

I suppose a woman was supposed to look dainty even as she hoed the garden. 😕

None of these are my favorite patterns but they are indicative of the times.  Do you like any of these patterns?

Tomorrow is Flower/Friendship Friday.  If you have anything to share, please email me at

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I like the first Sue, the one most people didn't like. I think it looks like her skirt is blowing in the wind.

  2. Lol on "Alien Sue"! I bet you had some fun audiences. Those patterns are pretty amazing. I actually made a little "Strawberry Shortcake" wall-hanging back in the 1970s (when nothing was beyond my capabilities - lol!). Strawberry Shortcake was a popular doll at the time, I think my daughter had one. I simply made up the pattern and did some very rustic applique. Who knows what I used for backing, it is long gone. So that was my Sunbonnet Sue, done before I even knew the first thing about quilting.