Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Burst of Sun in Fabric

Inspiration can come from anything. Or anyone. The trigger for the Sunburst Table Topper came from the planting done by one of my neighbors. The bright golds and orange colors are absolutely perfect as summer draws to a close.

Sunburst Table Topper 

I wouldn't have thought of this design at all if the neighbor hadn't planted a long, long row of sunflowers right next to the sidewalk. They grew and they grew until they were well over 10 feet high and topped by huge golden blossoms with dark brown centers. Every day as I've walked by I been compelled to stop and see what these fascinating plants have been up to. The golden petals have faded and are now dropping as the seeds ripen into black gems.

There was also a need for a small table topper. This one is only 18" in diameter. There's a little round cabinet in our family room that desperately needs a new topper. A Christmas topper has been sitting on it all summer because I have nothing else the right size. Spilled water soaked into it sometime during the winter and ruined the wood. It went undiscovered for several days, but that by the time I found it permanent damage had been done. I'm a bit tired of looking at poinsettias for months on end, so a new topper was definitely in order. Poinsettias will get their turn again soon enough.

As long as I was making something new, I chose to work on some brand new techniques. I'm always up for a challenge, and I've never made Dresden plate blocks. My experience with hexagons is limited as well, but the combination of those two patterns seemed perfect for my little burst of sunshine. I had a lot to learn!

I had originally thought to make this as the top portion of a square or octagonal block. Then I discovered that the pointed ends of the Dresden plate sections are made with the edges already turned under and completely finished! This wouldn't need to go onto another piece of fabric for background. Nice!

I'm getting ahead of myself just a bit, though. Let's start with the hexies. Lovely hexies, pretty hexies. Must they be stitched together by hand? It's so tedious! So I got out my handy dandy invisible polyester thread and set my machine for a very short, very narrow zigzag stitch.

Then I pushed those little basted hexies tightly together side by side and connected them the easy way! This was fun! In on the left, in on the right and done.

I liked this so much that I skipped the hand applique, too. I connected the hexies to the inner Dresden plate in the same way I'd connected them to each other. Then I used the technique one more time to sew the inner Dresden plate to the outer one. Not totally invisible, but definitely close. A word of warning, though. If you do this, make sure you get polyester, not nylon invisible thread!

I may have made a mistake in the cutting of the pieces. I should probably have cut the outer Dresden a few inches up from the bottom of the template. As it is, there is some fabric wasted when the excess is trimmed off. I decided to leave it like that, though, because the centers of the two Dresden plates line up perfectly and it's much easier to center the inner ring on the outer one. 

Now we get to the finishing of the table topper. This is where I was getting ahead of myself. In order to have those points at the outside of the topper I needed to make some alterations in how the batting and backing were attached. 

The batting had to be cut smaller than the quilt top.

The backing was trimmed just 1/4" larger than the quilt top all the way around and the inner points were clipped back to the batting. 

Unfortunately, not all hand stitching was eliminated. But, it seemed like a great tradeoff. Stitching around the outside was nothing at all compared to all the applique I might have done by hand!


Wishing you many golden days as the weather grows cooler. 


  1. I love this. Is it available somewhere or did I miss something. I have so many of your patterns and just love them. Haven't seen though. Thanks and thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Nevermind ... seeing it, buying it! Thanks

    1. Too funny, Rosemary! So happy you found it.

  3. Karen, what a beautiful design !!! Can't wait to make one of my own :)