*Isabelle a eu la gentillesse de fournir son texte en anglais et en français ... si vous préférez la version française, vous pouvez la trouver ici!
Presentation of the block
The Orange peel is a block consisting of four identical blocks in which are assembled a football shape flanked by two arched shapes that form a square. This block was first described in the 1895 annual catalog of the Ladies Art Company. However, popular legend has it that the block was created much earlier in the 19th century when the Marquis Lafayette came to Philadelphia. This distinguished guest was then offered an orange, a rare delight at the time, that he peeled by cutting the peel into four parts. A maid is said to have stolen the orange skin that would have inspired the quilt block in question. This is also why this block is also known as 'Lafayette orange peel'. This block is also known by other names. The most common being 'Melon patch', 'Joseph's coat' and 'Save a piece'. For more details on the origin of these names and the existing variants of this block, I recommend that you visit the Field Guide to Quilts site.
There are two distinct approaches to making an orange peel block, first by piecing, then by appliqués. This article discusses both techniques and their variations as follows:
- Raw-edge appliqués
- Reversible appliqués with fusible lining
- Needle turned appliqués and EPP
The piecing method is the original method dating from 1895. Appliqués later became more popular, in fact, it is easier nowadays to find appliqués method tutorials on the web. The piecing method gives by far the most elegant and satisfying results with sharp curves and perfect points. However, many quilters are reluctant to sew arches and curves and are more interested in the appliqué techniques.
The piecing construction method requires the use of a template. Click on the link below for one that provides a block of adequate size to contribute to the charity quilt project of the Guild. When printing, make sure that the measurements are accurate with the measurement marks.
|Get the Template|
Each complete block requires 4 footballs and 8 contours. On each piece, be sure to mark the assembly points with a water soluble marker or any other temporary marking tool.
Before assembling, each piece should be folded in half and the centerline be marked. First you have to assemble a football with a contour, right sides facing each other. The curves require patience and many pins! Match the center marks, then the tip marks and pin.
Then, continue to add pins between each pair of pins to spread the fabric evenly and make the piece stable and easy to handle without the risk of creating unsightly tucks.
Assemble by sewing ¼ inch away from the edges. Take care to reduce the number of stitches per inch when approaching the tips to get one last point directly on the tip of each end before rotating the piece to sew the other side. Personally, I prefer to start to sew on one side of the football shape rather than on a tip, to avoid creating weakness at the tips.
Press the seam allowances to the outside of the football shape.
Repeat for the second contour of the block and press again towards the outside of the football shape.
You must repeat this process for the other 3 parts of the block. Once finished, put the blocks together, first the top blocks together, then the bottom blocks together. To get a perfect orange peel block, it is very important to match the tips of the football shapes and to sew exactly on their edges. Pin more than necessary! The two blocks, once assembled, shall present two footballs whose points are fully visible, but that nearly touch at the center of the blocks. Press the seams of the pair of blocks on either side of the center line: one pair to the right and the other to the left to facilitate the final assembly. As for the half-blocks, once again you must take special care to adjust the tips. Pin again! Iron by opening this last seam.
That's it, you have completed an orange peel!
Appliqués - Raw edge appliqués.
The raw edge appliqués are appliqués where the pieces of fabric are cut exactly to the final size. They are then affixed directly to a quarter of a block. To assemble a block with this technique, you need to cut 4 squares of 6 ½ inches and 4 football shapes without seam allowances.
To facilitate the application of the appliqués, I recommend using a water-soluble spray adhesive, such as 505 adhesive spray. Sewing can be done by a straight stitch very close to the edge or, for a decorative effect or additional protection against fraying, by a decorative stitch. These last ones recall the tradition of the embroidery made on the heirloom crazy quilts and can bring a quirky touch. Be careful not to exaggerate, too many patterns is certainly moving away from modern aesthetics. But you do what you like - this is the most important!
It is then easier to assemble the four parts made with this technique then those made by piecing, because there is much less seam allowance to manage. Again, for a neat finish, take care to match the ends of the footballs and sew exactly on their edges. Pin more than necessary! The two blocks, once open, must have two footballs points fully visible, but almost touching at the center of the block.
Appliqués - Reversible appliqués with fusible lining
This technique is very popular on the web and there are many videos and tutorials that demonstrate it.
To make an orange peel block with this technique, you will need 4 squares of 6 ½ inches, 4 football shapes with sewing values and 4 other football shapes with sewing values cut into a fusible interfacing.
It is first necessary to prepare the "sandwiches" by assembling the football in fabric with the one in interfacing, right side of the fabric on the sticky side of interfacing and sew a seam around the contour of the pieces. Again, it is important to take care of sewing beautiful tips to get a nice effect once the piece is reversed.
This sandwich must then be reversed. To do so, it is necessary to cut the fusible interlining in its center. It is good to cut the entire center line of the football, not to facilitate the turning, but to have more control when fusing with the iron. Turn the piece inside out, but do not iron it. The shape is then affixed to the square of fabric. Care is taken to carefully place the fusible lining underneath so that it is perfectly invisible after ironing. Be careful!
It is then recommended to sew the shape with a straight stitch over its entire outline, but some quilters might want to drop that step in order to have football shapes more similar to those obtained by assembly. This is possible only if the planned quilting is to be dense.
Here again, it is easier to assemble the four parts produced by this technique than by piecing because there are seams to manage. For a neat finish, always take care to match the tips of the footballs and sew exactly on their edges. Pin more than necessary! The two blocks, once open, must have two footballs points fully visible, but almost touching at the center of the block.
Appliqués - Needle turned appliqués and EPP
The last technique is a variant of the appliqué technique. If you are familiar with any of these techniques, it may be easy for you to use them to affix the shapes on the squares.
To prepare these appliqués, it is necessary to cut the football shapes with a seam allowance. In the case of needle-turned appliqués, the seam allowance is marked by a basting thread. In the case of English paper piecing, a rigid form allows to folding the seam allowance to the underside of the shape. You must remove the paper at the very end by removing it from the bottom of the entire block. I personally have not experimented this last variant of appliqué for the orange peel, but some people swear by this technique!
The final assembly is identical to the previous appliqués techniques and the same precautions are required.
Modernizing the orange peel
While making this tutorial, I found that the orange peel is a difficult block to modernize in its construction. I found no wonky orange peel! On the other hand, in the composition of a quilt or part of a quilt, it is possible to integrate the aesthetic principles of modern quilts. Here are some suggestions.
Asymmetry / Negative space
Scale / Minimalism / Asymmetry
Colors / Omissions
And finally, I have put together a Pinterest board with some tutorials and inspiration. You can find it here: Orange Peel Pinterest board
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