Sunday, December 14, 2008


This post is about Little Susie alright, but about a time in her life when she NEEDED someone. We all need someone. Thankfully it is not always a man--but in this case, it is. Sue needed a beau. Someone to dance with her, fish with her, marry her. He wore no bonnet, but a large brimmed hat. I take take that back. He does sometimes wear a floppy hat that resembles a bonnet. Hey--he has to "fit". His name is "Bill". So he is Sunbonnet Bill---NO---he does not wear a bonnet, I told you!! Large Hat Bill, then? NO--that is just not right!! There is one constant with Bill and it is not loud talking, cursing, or loud bodily functions as with most men---it is the fact that he always wears overalls. Ok--there ya go--his name is--Overall Bill. Took a long time for me to get that out, didn't it? Sunbonnet Sue loves Overall Bill.
We don't know for sure when Bill first showed up, but the earliest Bill dates in the 1920s by Nancy Cabot and Delores Hinson. These patterns call him Sunny Sam, Sunny Jim and Happy Jack. The most common names known are Overall Boy, Overall Sam, Sunbonnet Boy, Dutch Boy (wearing wooden shoes) , Straw hat or Straw Hat Boy, Fisher Boy, Little Laddie, Famer Boy, and Cowboy. Needless to say that the names were altered to suit the attire of the boy. Aunt Martha's Bill patterns are from the 1940s.

This is the Premier issue of Quilter's Treasure-featuring Overall Boys! It is dated December, 1993.
It gives some history and sketches of patterns
Mother made the quilt featured on the front of the magazine, called WORK WITH LOVE
The designer is Carol Scherer. He is admiring sunflowers. A large bandana is dangling from his back pocket and he is wearing a large straw hat that shields his eyes from the sun.
This is the second quilt she made from this magazine. Overall Bill Brings Home the Tree. Bill has cut the tree on a dark snowy evening and is dragging the tree home by lanturn light. Such a wonderful feeling you get as you travel with Bill to a simpler time when trees were cut in the woods and not bought in a store or a street corner. I can smell it now!

here is mom's quilt!

Here are more patterns and quilts that are given in the magazine.

These are Christmas Tree ornaments----

This quilt features a more grown up Bill that is taller and leaner and does work like shoveling and chopping wood. He also is shown holding a box of candy for his sweetheart.
Mom made an Overall Bill quilt for my nephew that I do now have, so I can't show you a picture. The same Bill was featured in each block and denim was the featured fabric. I believe each shirt was a different fabric and he was a thinner bill verses the pudgy one.
This is the only Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Bill Block that my mother made (that I know of). It was made for my husband and I for our 10th wedding anniversary. This information is embroidered on the bottom right corner.



lani said...

I go for the handsome hank as that is my boys name great piece of history thank s

Rhonda said...

Excellent post. I love Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Bill.

Anonymous said...

Bonne année de France ,merci pour tous les modèles et l'histoire de Sunbonnet.
HAPPY NEW YEAR from FRANCE ,thank you very much for the history of sunbonnet

Carol Jean / Lovethemsteiff said...

Hi Molly! I love your blog, and I love Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Bill. In this post you said, "Mother made the quilt featured on the front of the magazine, called WORK WITH LOVE
The designer is Carol Scherer." Well, I AM Carol Scherer!!! My friend said I could see this quilt if I did an internet search with my name and the word quilt. I'm so glad to see that someone made a quilt with my pattern. She did a wonderful job!!! I also started a quilt blog, but got bogged down with life, and it's just sitting waiting for me to get back to it. Maybe you would like to check it out. I'm going to add you to my friens list, and maybe you would like to add me to yours. I will come back again to see more of your blog. It's great! I need some inspiration to get me quilting again. Take care and thanks for sharing, Carol Scherer...I go by the name of Carol Jean in my blogs. Check out my quilt photo album at Webshots. The link is on my blog.

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