Friday, May 7, 2021

Good Day Sunshine Tutorial / Beauties Pageant 128

Five years ago, I posted a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew for my Good Day Sunshine Quilt. A lot has changed in those five years—most notably, Sew Mama Sew shut down, taking with it tons of information and inspiration—but other things haven’t, and this project, born from my abundance of scraps and love for modern chevrons, is as versatile and relevant today as it was back then. I post it here because I think it’s too good not to. : )

Organizing Your Scraps

Before we delve into the super-simple tutorial, however, let’s talk scraps. I’ve mentioned before that I like scrappy projects with a clear palette and structure. I know that’s not true for everyone, but I thought I’d walk you through how I approach organizing my scraps and pulling a project from them ...

The only hard-and-fast rule I have to scrap organization is that I don’t keep anything smaller than a 2-inch square. (That may pain some of you. I used to keep only pieces that were 2.5-inch squares or larger, so I’ve loosen up over time!) Some scraps—usually the ones that are on the small side or are weird shapes—get cut into 2-inch squares or 2.5-inch squares and get stored in plastic bins based on size. All my larger pieces get sorted by color and neatly arranged in a single dresser drawer. (For real. See a pic here.) I tend to keep Art Gallery scraps, Alison Glass scraps, and other bits I deem extra special in their own Ziploc bag. 

Determining Your Palette

Those beautiful fabrics on the left of the picture below, from Josephine Kimberling’s Turkish Delight line and the foundation for one of my Sew Together Bags, established the palette for Good Day Sunshine’s pixelated chevrons in true blue, grassy green, gold, gray and navy. Since I was using white as a background color, I tried to use it sparingly in the chevrons to achieve good contrast between them and the background.

When I had culled through my scraps in search of those five colors and had cut all the 2.5-inch squares I could, I had 284 squares—less than half of what I needed! So I went back to my scraps and found the gray floral (bottom left in the picture below). It featured some of the colors I was already using and incorporated orange, which expanded my chevron palette to six colors. I took a second pass through my scraps with my revised plan and found almost all of the 580 squares this quilt calls for.

Cutting From Yardage

Like I said earlier, developing a cohesive palette is key for me when sewing a scrappy quilt, but even my overflowing scrap bin has its limits. I decided to trim a few 2.5-inch strips from yardage so I could better balance the colors for this quilt. A width-of-fabric strip yields 16 squares, adding good variety to the quilt while still leaving a chunk of yardage in the stash for future projects. 


Sewing Good Day Sunshine




580 patterned 2½" squares for the chevrons (just over 2½ yards of fabric)
2 yards of solid fabric or 25 solid jelly roll strips for the background
½ yard of fabric for the binding*
3½ yards of fabric for the backing*
64" x 76" piece of batting (this provides approximately 3" of overhang on each side)

Finished size: approximately 58" x 70". All seams are ¼".

* If you like wiggle room to account for a miscut or two, buy a bit more binding and backing fabric.



Note: Cutting instructions presume 42" of usable fabric after selvages are removed.

If you’re using yardage for the background, cut (25) 2½" width-of-fabric (WOF) strips. Then subcut those 25 strips or your 25 solid jelly roll strips into rectangles:

    • Cut (19) 2½" x WOF solid strips into (95) 8" x 2½" rectangles.
    • Cut (2) 2½" x WOF solid strips into (14) 6" x 2½" rectangles.
    • Cut (2) 2½" x WOF solid strips into (14) 4" x 2½" rectangles.
    • Cut (1) 2½" x WOF solid strip into (14) 2" x 2½" rectangles.


    Sewing the Base Strips

    Sew the 580 patterned squares into strips of five, for a total of 116 scrappy 10½" x 2½" strips. There’s no need to overthink the fabrics you use in a particular strip, but try to distribute colors evenly.  

    If you like to press your seams open, iron now. Otherwise, you can wait until later and press to one side so that your seams nest nicely.

    Sew 87 of the 95 solid 8" x 2½" rectangles with the 116 scrappy 10½" x 2½" strips to create 29 strips that look like the picture below.


    Laying Out and Completing the Strips

    Determine the order in which you want to lay out these strips, trying to distribute the colors evenly throughout the quilt top. Sew the remaining rectangles as illustrated below.

    A: 8" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; none on the bottom

    B: 6" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; 2" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    C: 4" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; 4" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    D: 2" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; 6" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    E: none on the top; 8" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    If you are sewing your seams to one side, iron now, alternating the direction between columns.

    Sew the completed columns together. It’s important to note, however, that the bottom of each A column and the top of each E column are ½" longer than the other columns. Wait until you’ve matched seams and sewn the columns together before trimming off that excess.

    Finishing the Quilt

    To make the backing, cut your 3½ yards of backing fabric into two rectangles: 63" x WOF. Sew them along the long side. Quilt and bind your project.


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    1. What a great scrappy chevron, Michelle!! Thanks for (re)sharing your pattern here!

    2. Good Day Sunshine is a scrappilicious beauty! Thanks for the tute!

    3. That is one lovely quilt! And you have such pretty scraps too!

    4. Wow. That is so cool. I need to see whether I have enough scraps (who am I kidding?) to do one like this.

    5. What a beautiful quilt and thank you so much for the tutorial. I can see this one on my quilt to do list. Thank you for hosting the link party and happy quilting

    6. Reposting this "lost" content is very nice of you! I am sure there are people out there looking for scrap quilt ideas :) xo

    7. I think most of my prints qualify as scraps, so I don't particularly save scraps in any specific way, but my print bins are always at the ready for something fun. :) Thanks for hosting the Beauties Pageant each week and for sharing this generous tutorial again.

    8. Fabulous pattern! Pinning!


    9. Another great scrap quilt, thank you for sharing your pattern!

    10. Oh, I remember those good 'ole days of Sew Mama Sew. I wish blogging was still like it was then. I miss the blogs of dozens of people who have stopped blogging. Your design and tutorial are wonderful! I made a scrap quilt very similar to this, but the zig-zags ran vertically instead of horizontally. It's a very fun design for using scraps.

    11. Super tutorial, thank you! As soon as I saw the photo of your quilt I was pinning it (pintrest) in my scrap quilt section as I have a big shoebox full of 2.5" squares that this will be perfect for using up with.

    12. Wonderful. I, too, don't keep anything small. LOL

    13. Love that chevron. Pattern writing seems to be high on the list for those scrappy bits this week. 😉

    14. Thank you so much for the tutorial.. love the pattern :))


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