Sunbonnet Sue’s and Overall Bill’s

qs_to doris from motherSunbonnet Sue and Overall Bill appliqué patterns date back to approximately 1900-1915. Poorly kept records by Ladies Art Company (LAC), make documentation difficult, as reported by Hart Cottage Quilts. They also report that early appliqué patterns were difficult.

This changed around 1930. The Kansas City Star ran a pattern for Springtime Molly with “Sunbonnet Sue’ referenced for the first time in the caption. Additional similar patterns were printed by different companies in 1931, 1932 and 1933, in pattern books and in various newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune.

With innovations in dye technology producing colorful prints and designs, appliqué fever took hold and the Sunbonnet Sue’s and Overall Bill’s became popular patterns to use.

These appliqué patterns were evidently admired by the women and young girls in Athelstan, Iowa also, as these are the two patterns used in this set of 30 quilt squares.

DSC00199For an excellent history, with more detailed information on Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Bills, see Hart Cottage Quilts. Their web site is full of valuable information about quilting history.

Hart Cottage Quilts:



  1. That’s an interesting bit of history for a classic quilt pattern. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Thank you. This is one of those subjects where the more I learn, the more I discover I have yet to learn.


  1. Sunbonnet Sue’s and Overall Bill’s | Trisha Faye

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