Why dip your toe into foundation paper piecing when you can jump head first? Join me & Fat Quarter Shop for the 2024 Vintage Sunburst Quilt Along!
The Vintage Sunburst block has a lot of pieces with odd angles and for me, would be an absolute nightmare with traditional piecing.
Thanks to the foundation paper it’s not a problem anymore! And it comes in two sizes for even more interest.
If you’re interested in sewing along make sure to check out the Jolly Jabber article about The Vintage Sunburst Sew Along and follow #vintagesunburstqal on Instagram.
Sewing officially starts in January, with everyone sewing 4 blocks a month, but you can do quite a bit to prepare ahead of time.
The easy part is picking up the foundation paper kit, it includes 2 of the 12″ Vintage Sunburst block pads and 2 of the 8″ block pads along with a printout of the pattern/fabric requirements.
You’ll need to make 18 of the 12″ blocks and 17 of the 8″ blocks. The kit will give you enough papers to make 20 of each so you do have some wiggle room for mistakes (which is great because it’s nearly impossible to pull out the tiny stitches you use for foundation paper pricing!).
You can find all the dates and relevant info for the sew along on The Jolly Jabber Vintage Sunburst announcement.
If I had to pick one of those tools to be the MVP it would be the ruler hands down. I bought one at a garage sale on a whim and I absolutely love it.
Before I threw myself into foundation paper piecing I was using it to trim snowballed corners and flying geese so it’s nice to finally let it shine in the roll it was meant to play.
Picking the right fabric can be a bit of a nightmare, at least it is for me when all I see is potential. I want to make all of the quilts in all of the fabrics.
Instead of leaning into that absolute insanity, I find it helpful to give myself some criteria to whittle down the options.
Going into this project I knew I wanted to lean into the vintage vibes without going historical. That’s not exactly a statement that should mean anything to anyone but me, but I know what I mean.
All of the fabric is going to be cut into fairly small pieces so I was looking to avoid any collections with a majority of large or medium-scale prints, that alone knocked out a lot of options.
I also knew I wanted a lot of color and a dark background to make the patchwork pop. But working with solid black makes me cry so I knew I was looking for a collection with a low-volume black print.
Finally, the pattern calls for 42 fat quarters which is a HUGE bundle. Most are in the 20-30 range.
Your options for readymade bundles with that many fat quarters are going to be few and far between but I did come up with a few ways to get around it.
With those things in mind, I pulled up the Fat Quarter Bundle page and started scrolling.
The easiest way to find large bundles is by sorting by price (more fabric costs more money). As of December 2023 there are only a handful of options for fat quarter bundles with 42+ pieces.
Almost all are from Laurie Holt including Bee Vintage, Bee Patriotic, Flea Market, Calico, Bee Plaids, and Stitch. The only non-Lori bundle I found was a Kimberbell bright rainbow bundle that would make a very cheerful quilt.
My crazy brain came up with two ways to work around this without abandoning coordinated bundles.
You can absolutely pick your own fabrics for this, I always encourage people to make quilts that they like. I just know that I can’t.
I need a specific level of coordinated chaos in my sewing or I know I’ll abandon the project. My life has gotten much easier after I started fighting myself and this is an easy way to give in.
Half Yard Bundles
Most fabric collections have 20-30 fabrics which isn’t enough fabric if you’re using fat quarters, but it is if you’re using half yards!
Cutting the number of fabrics back will make your quilt less scrappy overall, which might be your vibe anyway. It also gives you a lot more options for fabric lines.
I almost went this route, I was really tempted to use The Old Garden half-yard bundle. I loved the rich colors and the deep blue is almost the color of my bedroom walls.
Honestly, I have (some) of the fabric I am using and I’m still second-guessing myself so maybe I’ll make a quilt with that fabric in the future.
Even though they aren’t exact I was able to mock up a few different blocks using Electric Quilt. Let me know what your favorites are in the comments!
I’m very picky about color so I rarely mix collections but I know a lot of designers create their fabrics to coordinate and it can give you gorgeous results.
When it comes to mixing collections my mind immediately goes to Kim Diehl. She has a very distinctive style that carries through all of her fabric lines with her use of bright, saturated colors and grandma couch prints (I mean that in the nicest way possible).
After some soul searching (I realize it’s not that deep but also it is) I decided that my dream Vintage Sunburst quilt would be a chaotic mix of colors on a dark background.
If I’m going to be putting this much effort into a billion tiny pieces I want each and every one of them to show!
Right now I’m waiting for Quiet Grace to be released but in the meantime, I’ll be working with the Kim Diehl Scrappy Bundle and a black background print.
I’ll be using a few different black prints for the background, I plan to stick to one background for each block but that could change as we go!
Once you’ve settled on your fabric and you’ve got your paper pads in hand you can get into the real meat and potatoes.
The first thing you’ll need to do is cut apart the sections of the block. Each sheet of paper makes 1/4 of a block and you need to cut the 3 sections apart on the dotted lines.
Organization is my nemesis and I know the sheets are safest in their little pads so I’ll be doing this step immediately before I start sewing.
I’ll be making 4 blocks a month from January through September and that’s a long time for me to not lose anything.
There is a cheat sheet on the back of the cover that gives you all the measurements for cutting your fabric for each section.
It wasn’t until I read this that I realized that you’re supposed to use the background prints for the small center sections. I’ve made exactly one 1/4 of a block and I’m committed to my chaotic vision (and those small sections are perfect for using up scraps!).
The only way I can keep up with projects like this is with a project box (or bag) where I can keep everything together. I’m usually sewing 3-300 projects at the same time and it gets chaotic quickly!
Right now I’ve got my fabric, pattern, and papers chilling in a clear tote with a lid to keep my cat from taking up residence.
Will you be sewing along?
Check out my Quilting page for more info or start here: