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The majority of nurseries we reviewed for our original Little Sunshine series opted for wall-to-wall carpeting to keep things soft and help muffle sounds, such as mom and dad trying to sneak out of the room and back to bed. Whether you have hardwood or carpet, an accent rug adds a great splash of color and helps protect the floor in the high-traffic, spill-zone directly in front of the crib. We feature the same pretty sunshine appliqué as is featured on our Little Sunshine Hanging Diaper Stacker, but in a jumbo size.

For our rug sample, we selected two canvas fabrics. Canvas comes in a variety of widths and is often at least 54″ wide, which will allow you to easily cut the main panels for a generously-sized accent mat. We used a standard 44″ width canvas for the side accent panels and appliqué.

Our rug finishes at approximately 40″ wide x 32″ high. If you don’t have the need for a nursery, it would also be great for the kitchen or bath!

Our Little Sunshine color combination uses a warm yellow with natural white, but there are dozens of other great colors from which to choose when working with canvas.

Sandwiched between the front and back panels are two layers of polyester batting. The canvas is 100% cotton, so the finished mat can be gently machine laundered or spot cleaned.

The Little Sunshine appliqué is offered below as a free PDF download. We’ve come up with a very unique template with precisely measured and drawn guide lines that allow you to correctly position each teardrop, insuring the rays are perfectly spaced all around the center circle.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 2 yards of 50″+ medium-weight solid canvas or similar for the main front and back panels plus the top and bottom bindings; we originally used 60” 8.5oz Brushed Canvas in Natural
  • 1 yard of 44″+ medium-weight coordinating solid canvas or similar for the appliqué and side binding panels; we originally used 44″ 9oz Big Sur Canvas in Egg from Robert Kaufman Fabrics 
  • TWO 34″ x 42″ pieces of polyester batting; we cut our pieces from a twin size pre-cut (72″ x 90″) of Soft & Bright Polyester Batting by The Warm Company
    NOTE: Batting comes in a variety of packaged sizes as well as off the bolt, so we find it’s most helpful to know your finished cuts upfront, then you can do the mental math to determine what you have on hand or what you need to buy.
  • ½ yard of paper-backed fusible web for appliqué; we used Wonder Under® fusible by Pellon
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
    NOTE: We used all purpose thread for our appliqué work; you could also use a rayon embroidery thread for this process if you prefer a brighter finish
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • T-pins to hold all the layers together

Getting Started and Appliqué Template Downloads

  1. Download and print the appliqué template pieces: Sun Appliqué With Guidelines and Sun Ray Appliqué. Print FOUR COPIES of the Sun Appliqué With Guidelines and ONE COPY of the Sun Ray Appliqué.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern/template is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on each page to confirm your printout is the correct size. 
  2. Butt together the four copies of the Sun Appliqué With Guidelines (each is a quarter of the circle) along the center lines, matching the arrows on the templates, to make one complete circle template. Do NOT overlap. Tape in place.
  3. Using the completed template, trace the sunshine circle onto the paper side of the paper-back fusible web.
  4. Using the Sun Ray Appliqué template, trace TWELVE rays onto the paper side of the paper-back fusible web.
  5. From the fabric for rug base and the top and bottom bindings (natural canvas in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 32″ x 40″ rectangles
    TWO 4″ x 42″ strips
  6. From the fabric for the appliqué and side bindings (yellow canvas in our sample), cut TWO 9″ x 34″ strips. Leave the remaining fabric as a block. Appliqué fusing and cutting steps are shown below.
  7. From the batting, cut TWO 34″ x 42″ rectangles.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Appliqué placement

  1. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the sunshine circle and the twelve sun rays to the wrong side of the appliqué fabric.
  2. Carefully cut out each appliqué shape: the circle and all twelve teardrop rays. Set aside.
  3. Find one of 32″ x 40″ base panels. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface. Fold the panel into quarters and press to set intersecting crease lines.
  4. Peel away the paper from the center circle appliqué. Very carefully (because now the back is a little sticky) fold this circle in half, right sides together. Align the center vertical fold of the circle along the vertical crease line of the base panel.
  5. Gently fold the appliqué circle along the horizontal and adjust as needed top to bottom to insure the center of sun precisely aligns with the intersecting center lines of the base panel.
  6. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the circle in place.
  7. Cut out the Sun Appliqué With Guidelines from the original paper print out. Make SURE you cut around the circle along the outside points of the twelve red guide lines that extend beyond the circle itself. This is very important because we have precisely measured and drawn these guide lines to allow you to match up the extended red line with the base of each teardrop to insure the rays are perfectly spaced all around the center circle. Clever huh? Why yes it is; but it only works if you very carefully cut out the circle.
  8. In addition, cut out the Sun Ray Appliqué, then cut this paper teardrop ray in half so you have a half template with which to work.
  9. Align the trimmed circle template with the fused circle. Pin or tape the template in place.
  10. Peel away the fusible web paper from one teardrop ray. Place the base of the teardrop at the exact end of one red extending guide line. Place the half paper template over the teardrop to clearly see the center line of the teardrop and to make sure the center of the teardrop is precisely in line with the red guide line. Lightly press the teardrop in place; do not completely fuse yet.
  11. Continue in this same manner, placing a ray at the end of each extending guide line.
  12. When all the rays are in place, check alignment one more time, using a clear ruler to insure each ray lines-up with its guideline. When all are perfect, follow manufacturer’s instructions to fuse all the rays in place.

Appliqué stitching

  1. Find one of the batting rectangles. Place it flat on your work surface.
  2. Place the top panel, with all the appliqué shapes fused in place, on top of the batting. Center the fabric panel on the batting. There will be about 1″ of batting extending beyond the fabric all around. Pin the layers together. We used T-pins. Be generous with your pinning, you want to minimize shifting.
  3. Thread the machine with thread to match the appliqué shapes in the top and bobbin.
  4. Set up your machine for a dense satin stitch. We used a medium width zig zag with the length set to almost zero. You want a clean, tight stitch. Practice first on scraps to test your settings. If you are new to appliqué, check out our appliqué tutorial. We chose to do a raw-edge appliqué.
  5. Your needle should run right along the edge of the appliqué shape. Go slowly, and remember to stop, with the needle in the down position, if you need to pivot or readjust. You are stitching through the fabrics and the batting, so you should not need any additional stabilizer.
  6. When all the appliqué work is complete, bring the finished panel back to your large work surface.
  7. Find the remaining 32″ x 40″ plain fabric panel and the remaining piece of batting.
  8. Place the plain fabric panel wrong side up and flat on the work surface. Center the second piece of batting on top of this panel; the batting will extend beyond the fabric panel on all sides by about 1″. Lay the appliquéd fabric/batting panel on top, aligning the two fabric panels on all four sides (you’ll need to lift up the batting to check the fabric panel alignment). Re-pin through all the layers.
  9. Trim the batting (both layers) flush with the fabric panels (both layers) on all four sides.

Top and bottom bindings

  1. Find the TWO 4″ x 42″ binding strips.
  2. To create the binding, fold the strip in half (so it now measures 2″ x 42″) and press to set a center crease. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Fold in each long raw edge so they meet in the middle at the crease and press.
  3. Then refold along the original center crease.
  4. Repeat to create the second binding.
  5. Make sure all your rug layers are securely pinned together, then flip the entire thing so it is now right side down (appliqué side down) and flat on your work surface.
  6. Open up one side of the binding. Place the raw edge of the opened side along the top raw edge of the rug layers. Center the strip; it will extend beyond the rug at either end. Align all the raw edges and pin the strip in place.
  7. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the base/binding fabric in the top and bobbin.
  8. Stitch in the ditch of the binding’s fold line across the top.
  9. Trim the seam allowance back to approximately ¾” and trim away the excess at the ends so they are flush with the main fabric panel.
  10. Flip the rug so it is once again right side up.
  11. Wrap the binding to the front, encasing the raw edge. The binding should cover the original seam by about ⅛”. Pin in place.
  12. Topstitch the binding in place across the top.
  13. Repeat to attach the bottom binding.

Side bindings

  1. Find the two 9″ x 34″ strips. Fold back the 34″ sides ½” and press well.
  2. Fold the strip wrong sides together, but don’t exactly match the folded edges. One side should be just a bit shorter than the other as shown in the photo below – it’s only about an ⅛”. Press the fold.
  3. Flip the rug so it is wrong side up.
  4. Use a clear ruler to measure 3″ in from one raw side edge. Using a fabric pen or pencil, draw a vertical line at this measurement.
  5. Open up the fold on the slightly shorter side of the binding strip. Align this raw edge on the drawn vertical line.
  6. Center the strip, it will extend beyond the rug both top and bottom. Pin in place.
  7. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the binding fabric in the top and bobbin.
  8. As above, stitch in the ditch of the binding’s fold line along the entire strip.
  9. Flip the rug back over so it is again right side up. Fold the binding flat out to the side. Press.
  10. Lift up the layers to allow you to fold the binding right sides together against the wrong side of the rug. Align the raw ends and pin in place. As they were above, the folded edges are slightly off set.
  11. Switch to a Zipper foot. Stitch the binding ends together, running your seam right along, BUT NOT ON, the bound rug layers.
  12. Repeat to stitch the opposite end of the strip.
  13. Trim back the seam allowances to approximately ½” and clip the corners.
  14. Turn the binding right side out over the side of the rug.
    NOTE: The outer fold of the binding is not right up against the layers of the rug; there is a little bit of room in there so the binding lays flat and doesn’t bunch. The width of the binding should be 4″ when finished.
  15. Press well and pin in place across the front of the rug.
  16. Topstitch in place, staying as close as possible to the folded edge.
  17. Repeat to attach the remaining 9″ strip to the opposite side.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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