Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

Orange Peel Quilt-Along!

Yay! It’s time to get started! Though today we’re just going to talk about getting started, really – what materials we need for our projects and what kind of fabric choices might work.

But first, a little disclaimer: this is my very first quilt-along – as a host or participant! I’m just doing this as it seems logical and pleasant to do, I don’t have any previous experience to build on. Also, I’ve checked out all of your links and I’m sure I don’t have any better quilting / sewing knowledge than you guys do. Seriously, you people have mad skillz, have you seen the beautiful things you’ve made?!? I’m sure you will all have good tips to share or have different ways of doing things – pretty please share those as we go along, either in the comments or in your own posts about the quilt-along! I don’t pretend to know better and learning from each other is definitely part of the benefit of sewing together!

Ok, I feel better, let’s go.

First up, let’s talk fabric. Here’s my choices for this project:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

My backgrounds are going to be the dark navy fabrics, my peels will be the pinks. I haven’t actually come across an orange peel quilt this way, dark with light peels. I really hope it works out as well as it looks in my head!

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

The fabrics for orange peels are all about contrast and how much of it you want. For the original wall-quilt, I went with low volume backgrounds and darker peels in a strict color scheme:

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt

Karen, who is quilting-along with us, mentioned the other day that she likes the low volume backgrounds, but doubted she’d have enough in her stash. I pointed out that at least two of my wall-quilt backgrounds don’t seem like they’d be low volume, but once they are contrasted with a darker fabric, they work perfectly. This Melody Miller horse print would never seem like it could be background fabric, but lookit with this extremely dark fabric from Lizzy House’s Catnap line:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

This combo is a little more typical, but also uses the print style to contrast:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

Or you could go with pairs of light / dark solids:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

Or maybe solids that are different colors but closer in intensity, for a lower-contrast quilt:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

The possibilities are endless, of course: you could make all of your peels from one fabric, if you have a couple of meters of something perfect in your stash. You could have all the peels in solids and all the backgrounds in prints, or vice versa. You could contrast by colors, or use scraps or even vintage sheets!

Whatever you choose, just consider what amount of contrast you want and make sure your fabrics work in pairs to give you the look you want!

Fabric Requirements:

(Two notes: Double-check that your fat quarters are a full 18″ tall, you’ll need every inch of height and a wonky cut could mean you’d need an extra fat quarter to make up the difference. Also, the background and peel fabrics are minimum requirements – you might find that you prefer a layout with more variety in prints, or that you need a bit more of your peel fabrics if you choose any prints that are directional or need to be fussy cut to get stripes even, etc.)

Wall Hanging Size: 30″ x 30″

  • 4 fat quarters (FQ) background fabric
  • 4 FQ peel fabric
  • 1 yd / 1 meter of backing fabric (or a 34″-ish square)
  • 34″-ish square of batting
  • 1 LQ (long quarter) binding fabric

Lap Quilt Size: 60″ x 60″

  • 16 FQ background fabric
  • 12 FQ peel fabric
  • 4.5 yd / 4 meters backing fabric
  • 2 yd / 1.75 meters batting (assuming width is at least 65″)
  • .5 yd / .5 meter binding fabric

Notes for customizing the size of your quilt:

  • Quilt size is based on 5″ finished peel blocks. If you want to change the size of your quilt, simply chose a size that is a multiple of 5″ – or a multiple of 10″ if you want it to be symmetrical (which you probably do).
  • To find the number of peel blocks you need to make, simply multiply the two sides: to make a baby quilt that is 40″ x 40″, each side will be 8 blocks long. 8 x 8 = 64 peel blocks, so you will need 64 background squares and 64 peels.
  • One FQ will give you 9 background squares or approximately 12 peels. Using the example above, 64 ÷ 9 = 7.1, so you will need 8 background FQs. 64 ÷ 12 = 5.3, so you will need 6 peel FQs. Does that make sense?
  • If I can help you customize your quilt in a different way, just let me know!

One more thing about fabric for this project: the nice thing about this pattern is that you really make just one block at a time, there’s no need to have every bit of fabric ready right now. My stack is ready to go because I’ve had this stack pulled and waiting for the right project for about a year. But you can always use what you have to hand and add to it as we go! And if you want to use scraps or other cuts, start gathering and I’ll talk about what to cut next time.

Other Materials Needed:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

  • Rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat, sewing machine (for later), iron, etc.
  • Sharp fabric scissors, paper scissors
  • Reynold’s Freezer Paper – if you are in the UK, the cheapest I’ve found (so far) for a roll is right here at the Cotton Patch. If you are elsewhere and can’t find this anywhere, please let me know and we’ll figure out the best alternative. It really is a handy thing if you can get it though!
  • Tweezers
  • A pencil
  • Thread:
    • Machine-sewing thread to match your background fabrics – I’m using Aurifil 50wt
    • Hand-sewing thread to match your peel fabrics – I’m using Aurifil 40wt (shown here as 50wt, for you eagle-eyes, because it had to be ordered) because I want to try it for hand-stitching, but you don’t need any special kind of thread as long as it matches your peels.
    • Any old thread for basting – something that contrasts your peels will be easiest to see. I use the leftover bits on spools or bobbins for this.
  • Hand-stitching Tools:
    • Small scissors
    • A thimble, if you like that sort of thing – I use the sticky leather pad type
    • Hand-sewing or applique needles – I have a different pack shown, but I just ordered these a few minutes ago. I think you want something thin and not too long, but really, needles are personal and you’ll find what you like best as you work.
  • Sewing pins! They sell special applique pins, which are really teensy, but I don’t think that’s necessary myself, we’re not working that small.
  • A 5.5″ square quilting ruler will save you a lot of time if you are making a larger quilt. This is totally optional and we won’t need it for ages anyway, but I mention it now in case you see one on sale or something!
  • Binding clips, such as Clover Wonder Clips – again, optional and not until the very end of the process.

I think that’s it! Other than fabric and maybe the freezer paper, I imagine you’ll have most of this in your standard toolkit already. So go collect your materials and fabrics and we’ll come back on the 3rd of September (in two weeks) to starting cutting up our fabric. In the meantime, when you decide about fabric or just want to ponder some options or whatever, leave a link to a photo or blog post here so that we can all drool over each other’s choices!

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9 Comments on Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Materials and Fabric Choices

  1. Karen
    August 20, 2014 at 12:34 (4 years ago)

    Right, that’s it. I’m going into the cupboard. Will link up later with fabric photos!! xxxx

  2. Sarah
    August 20, 2014 at 14:45 (4 years ago)

    Your pink and blue fabric pull is lovely! I’m super busy at the moment so sadly don’t have time to join in but I’ll be cheering from the sidelines for you ladies!

  3. Anne
    August 20, 2014 at 15:14 (4 years ago)

    Hilarious. I pulled a few fabric options last night and one of them was pink for the background and dark blue for the peels. Bit, I think I’m leaning towards something different … I just don’t know what, yet.

  4. wendy
    August 20, 2014 at 16:10 (4 years ago)

    I’ll try to have a think about this and link up at the weekend. I also need to add the button to my blog.
    A couple of things…
    firstly, if anyone in the UK can’t get hold of Freezer Paper, I can share as I have a full roll, just message me. I bought my from ebay in the end though I had seen it in HObbycraft (when I went to buy it they didn’t have any… typical).
    Secondly, you’ll be a great QAL leader, and we’ll be great QALers!
    I love your fabric choices, but did have a thought – have you held the lighter fabrics over the darker to make sure you can’t see through them? I know with a lot of light prints, a dark print will show through

  5. Robin Cassady-Cain
    August 20, 2014 at 19:18 (4 years ago)

    Right, I want to make a quilt for my mom, and since she’s not a small woman, I think I need something that’s more like the size of a twin quilt, so I think I will make it 70″ by 90″. By my calculation, I need 28 FQ for the background and 21 FQ for the peels?? Burgundy backgrounds and mostly pinky/reddy fabrics for the peels, I think. I’ll post once I actually manage to accumulate some!

    • julie
      August 22, 2014 at 09:21 (4 years ago)

      Hi Robin! Yes, I did the math as well and came up with the same numbers! You will need to make 252 blocks in total. I think it’s possible that I may join you in a larger quilt, because really I’d like to make it as large as my time and fabrics will allow – but I’ll see how it goes as we go on. :)

      Looking forward to seeing your fabric choices!

  6. Rebecca Bell
    August 21, 2014 at 15:57 (4 years ago)

    Your fabric choices are lovely Julie! It’s going to have a lot of impact with the dark background, it will look so good. I better get thinking about what I’m going to use. I’m out of cash so can’t buy new fabric for this project and I officially have the world’s smallest fabric stash so it shouldn’t take too long!

  7. Jenny
    August 22, 2014 at 09:10 (4 years ago)

    Can I ask a question – it will affect which fabric I choose. Will the peel pieces fit in a 5 inch charm square? I have a lot of charms from swaps I’ve been in and not used yet :) Thanks!

    • julie
      August 22, 2014 at 09:20 (4 years ago)

      Hi Jenny –

      Unfortunately, they won’t fit a charm square! The finished peels will exactly fit a 5” square, so with their seam allowances, they will be larger than a charm square.

      I don’t know if it will help, but I a layer cake might be a way to go if you want extra prints for peels. You would definitely get two peels from every 10” square, possibly three if you cut carefully.

      Of course you can also resize yours slightly, and print the template (which I’ll post when we get to the peels) to be slightly smaller? It might take some fiddling with the printer to get just the right size, but it’s doable. I did think it would be nice to be able to use charms, but felt that the peels were exactly the right size on a 5” square. Larger and they wouldn’t be so cute or as wall-hanging-friendly, and any smaller would make a lap quilt a much more daunting project. :)


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