How to sew orange peel quilts

Orange Peel quilts quilts feature a pattern of repeating petal shapes which, when pieced into rows of quilt blocks, builds up to create the effect of interlocking circles. Here's how to sew them.

Orange peel quilts: what they are and how to sew them

What is an Orange Peel Quilt?

Orange Peel quilts have been around for quite some time. These clever quilts feature a pattern of repeating petal shapes which, when pieced into rows of quilt blocks, builds up to create the effect of interlocking circles.

They first appeared in published material in the 1800s and are also referred to as Lemon Peel, Melon Peel and Lafayette Orange Peel. Whatever you call it, you’ll fall in love with this charming design.

Find out how to use them to sew these beautiful  blocks in this free tutorial. Simply follow our steps and video guide below to begin.

Before you begin

If you’re new to curved piecing, you’ll need to cut 3 pieces of fabric to make an Orange Peel quilt block – a central petal shape and two outer corners which will sit either side of the curves to form a square block.

Luckily you can buy handy templates to help you cut these units of fabric, ready for piecing!

Advertisement

Step 1

Cut two (2) of the outer corner shapes and one central petal shape using our Free Orange Peel Template or shop-brought templates as your guide. Finger press the centre points on both units. With right sides together and the A background piece on top, place a pin where those centre crease marks line up.

 

Step 2

Place pins along the curve, easing the concave curve in line with the edge of the piece below. Use plenty of pins.

Note: the first background piece will be slightly longer than the peel shape, but this can be trimmed in line after stitching.

Step 3

Stitch the two (2) pieces together, slowly, with a scant 34in seam, keeping your needle in the down position and pivoting regularly.

 

Step 4

Clip into the seams at regular intervals to help the seam lie flat. Press the seam to one side.

Step 5

Repeat with the second background piece on the opposite side to finish the unit. Four (4) units make a block. Place under a heavy book to help keep it flat.

 

Advertisement

Technical tip

If you struggle to create a  perfect 612in square (unfinished), due to fabric stretching or inaccurate stitching, try cutting the outside edges of the A piece slightly larger. Then, use the straight edges of the template to trim the block square at the end.