orange peel

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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Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

Woohoo! It’s finished!

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

You might not have been around when I first posted about this special project, so I should probably tell the story of how it was made.

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

Two hand-sewing enthusiast friends and I (Karen and Christa) decided to have a mini-quilting-bee together and make mini-quilts together. We each planned out a mini-quilt for ourselves, divided the work into three parts, and made little kits with fabric and thread and whatever else was needed.

We each of us made a third of each other’s mini-quilts, and now we each have a small piece of loveliness that we made together! (Thank you so much, guys!!!)

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

So each of us hand-stitched a third of these peels, then I assembled them and hand-quilted around each peel. My Instagram peeps helped me decide not to do any more quilting and to let it be simple this way, and they were definitely right. I was worried that the pink thread I’d used (Aurifil 12wt, in case you’re wondering) didn’t do a good enough job tying all the pinks together like I’d wanted, but the binding does it beautifully.

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

The binding fabric is my favorite fabric in the entire history of the universe. It’s a print from the V&A’s Quilts 1700 – 2010 exhibition – they produced a small line of fabrics reproduced exactly from quilts on display. This print is taken from a patchwork coverlet dated 1797 and it really is the most beautiful fabric I’ve ever seen. I’ve hoarded a small stash of it but I’m still afraid to use it for fear of running out. This is the first time I’ve been able to cut into it – it seemed fitting for such a special project!

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

I will still embroider a tag for it, and I’ll have to add a sleeve so I can get it up on my wall. But I’ll call it an FO anyway, so that anyone joining in the Orange Peel Quilt-Along can see it all finished!

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt FO

(Wanna know more about the Orange Peel Quilt-Along? Check out the schedule and join in over here!)

Orange Peel Quilt-Along Schedule

Orange Peel Mini In Progress

Guys! I’m so ridiculously pleased that we have a little Orange Peel-Along group! That’s so damn awesome!

I think there’s about ten of us in total, so far, and nearly every one of us (myself included) said that a Quilt-Along with a fast pace or strict deadlines would not work for them. I feel ya, guys, that’s why I don’t join in with more project-alongs! I always want to, but I know I won’t be able to keep up with so many other things I’m working on.

But you know how I love slow crafts. I try to always have one project in the works that doesn’t need to get anywhere in a hurry. Which orange peels are absolutely perfect for.

The natural way to go is for us to start talking about fabric choices and requirements right away, so we can all think about materials, then follow with tutorials for each step. There will be a few of those, then we’ll just be stitching away on our peels for a goodly while – but I’ll continue to post progress and ask you all to share yours at regular intervals!

I hope you don’t think my schedule looks rushed. I tried to strike a balance between a relaxed approach and steady progress. And I based my scheduling on each task rather than a strict once-a-whatever format. I felt some should be closer together for continuity (where they’re essentially two halves of one tutorial) and some steps need more time to complete. Also, these are not steps that have to be completed in their entirety before moving on like with other sewing projects – you’ll probably prep some, stitch some, prep more, etc.

So here’s our Orange Peel Quilt-Along schedule:


August 20: Materials List and Fabric Choices
September 3: Cutting Background Fabric
September 16: How to Make Orange Peels
September 19: How to Applique Peels
September 26 – November 5: Progress Posts + Link-Ups
(about every 10 days-ish)
November 22: Final Progress Post + Link-Up
November 24: Layout + Prepping Blocks
November 28: Assembling The Top


I’m going to leave it there for now, because I think we’ll have to decide along the way how to progress after that. I’m conscious that we’ll be creeping close the holidays from there on, and we might just want to just take a break until after the New Year. Or perhaps we’ll want these finished quilts to be gifts, in which case we’ll want to get on with it! So let’s decide how we want to continue from that point closer to the time, does that sound ok to you guys?

One thing I want to stress about our schedule: there is no keeping up. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are ‘behind’ if real-life-stuff means you can’t stitch your allotted number of peels on time, or like you can’t join if you’re not ready to start this exact second. We’re not going to be that kind of Quilt-Along, right?! Whether you’re ‘on track’ or not, I really hope you’ll check in and share your progress (or lack of, that’s fine too, you know we’ll all be able to relate!) – it’s not a race!

I’ll put a link-up widget at the bottom of each post so that you can add a link to your blog / Flickr photo / whatever to show your progress. (I considered a social media tag for those of us on Twitter or IG, but I don’t want anyone who doesn’t use those apps to be left out.)

I’ve also made this button for you to stick on your blogs, if you like! (Just right-click, save as, and then add to your blog sidebar or in your related posts like any image. If you add it to your blog sidebar, you can link it to button-button.co.uk, or this post with the schedule, or use this one to link up to all related posts.)

Orange Peel Quilt-Along!

One last thing, I wonder if everyone planning on joining would leave a comment below to say hi to the group, and leave a link to your blog / flickr / whatever-you-like in the comments? It’d be nice to ‘meet’ each other, dontcha think?

I so excited for us to get started! Meet back here on the 20th and we’ll start talking fabrics!

Anyone Up For An Orange Peel Quilt-Along?

Hey dudes! Remember this:

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt

My Orange Peel Mini-Quilt, co-made by my stitchy friends in our little miniature quilting bee. I did share the finished applique, but I forgot to keep you posted after that. Whoopsy!

Here’s my the state of my mini now (hand-quilting in progress):

Orange Peel Mini In Progress

I love it so much. And I loved making it so much. I was almost disappointed that the ‘peels’ were so easy and quick to make. I enjoyed the process so much that I wanted it to go on for ages, but it only took an evening or two to stitch my portion. I just wasn’t ready to be done with them!

So, I’m going to be making a new, larger Orange Peel Quilt (larger quilt, that is, same peels, ’cause they’re such a nice size) and I’m definitely going to put together a tutorial for it, coming very, very soon.

Orange Peel Mini In Progress

But I’d really love it to be a sew-along! I don’t know at all if there would be any interest, but I’d love it to be a longer-term, step-by-step sort of thing, where were can all play together and share our progress, etc. I’ve been wanting to be more involved with you all, not just hiding here behind my screen playing show-and-tell, and would love a project we could all do together!

Orange Peel Mini In Progress

Just so you’re informed: the way I do orange peels is all hand-stitched applique, and it is absolutely fool-proof! A great introduction without having to feel intimidated. I was thinking I’d make a fairly decent-sized lap quilt, but also offer dimensions and approximate fabric requirements for a mini in the size shown here. This is a great project for scraps and perfect for doing a few every night while you catch a quiet moment in front of the tv!

I won’t get my hopes up yet, but if you were interested, how would you like it to run? Step by step over many weeks? Making use of a link-up widget? Would you want it to start right away or give you some time to finish up other projects first?

All input is appreciated!