The Orange Peel Quilt Tutorial

The Orange Peel Quilt: Easy Quilting Tutorial with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. Jenny demonstrates how to make an impressive looking Orange Peel Quilt using a simple interfacing technique and 5″ squares of precut fabric.

For details about this project click here:

Transcript (Downloadable PDF):

Hi, it’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company and I have a great project for you today. Take a look at this quilt behind me. I know this looks tricky, but this is so simple. You are going to love this. This is EASY.

So, you guys know I love blue and white, anyway, and I have a big dish collection of blue and white. And this reminds me of that. I just, it’s just so much fun to me.

So, to make this quilt you are going to need 4 packets of 5 inch squares, 42 squares in each, and you are going to need 4 of these. And we used the Bluebell by Nancy Gere for Windham. Just a gorgeous line of fabric. You are also going to need 4 packets of precuts, 5 inch squares that are a solid. This is going to be your background fabric that you are going to set your blue football shape onto. We also have this football shaped template and, I mean, it just works perfect for this job and it’s called Circle Magic Plus, and you are going to need some fusible interfacing. This is because I’m going to show you a super easy way to do applique and it uses this fusible. You are going to look for something really lightweight that has fusible on one side only. So, and you’ll need probably 8 yards of that.

So, let me show you how to make this block. Okay, so let’s get started. The first thing we are going to do is, we’re going to take our blue fabric and you can actually stack these and cut, you know, two or three of them at a time. We are going to lay our template, our Circle Magic Plus Template, diagonally right across it and we’re going to go ahead and cut that out and you just want to go slow and keep your rotary blade right along the edge of the template. It’s a little different when you’re cutting curves, but your normal rotary cutter should work with this. And you just go all the way around and your piece should look like this when you’re finished. It will look like this little template, little football.

Now we are going to do the same thing with our interfacing. So, we’ll get our interfacing out and interfacing is very thin, so you can actually cut several of these at a time with the interfacing, and we’re just going to do the same thing. We’re going to cut right around it, like this, and then we’re going to pull this around and cut up this side. There we go.

And this is a super cool way for doing any kind of applique that you want to do. This makes it quick and easy with no mess and it gives you the look of needle turn.

So, now you have your fabric and your interfacing all cut out and what we are going to do is, we’re going to lay our fabric down. We’re going to take our interfacing and we’re going to feel for the bumpy side. The bumpy side is going next to the fabric. I know that sounds a little crazy, but trust me on this. It works.

We’re going to line it up on there and we’re going to take this to the sewing machine and we’re going to sew ¼ of an inch all the way around the outside edge, completely enclosing it. So, let’s go over here and do that. I’ll move my chair here a little bit. There we are. Make sure it stays lined up. Mine got a little wonky in my travels to come over here. There we go. And I lay my presser foot along the edge and I just sew straight off the end. And then, bring it back and come straight up the other side. So, put your little presser foot right along the edge of it. Just like that.

And then we have this piece, right here; it’s completely sewed. And what we are going to do, I’m just going to trim this end, right here, and I’m just trimming it, not cutting through the stitches at all, but trimming it so it’s a little closer because I’m going to turn it. So, to do that, I lift these fabrics so they are away from each other and I’m going to cut a “V” in the interfacing and I’m just going to cut a big slit, right here, to make it a little easier and then we are going to turn it right sides out. So, I reach in here for the corner and I push that corner out on both ends and then I run my finger along the seam so it stays nice and curvy and I close my scissors or use your purple thing or something like that for these points. You want to try and get the points pretty nice and pointy.

And then you have this piece, right here, but what you will notice by turning it around, now the fusible is on this side. So that’s when you take your piece of background fabric, your 5 inch square, and you are going to line up your little football shape on there and we are going to press that down. Alright, so now we are just ironing this down on here and it’s to hold it in place. That’s going to hold it in place. You want to make sure your points are a ¼ of an inch away from the edges so you can take your seam in there because we are going to sew these together.

Alright, so there’s our finished little peel and we need to go stitch around it; I like to use a blanket stitch. So I’m going to go over here to my machine and I’m going to find my blanket stitch and I am going to go ahead and stitch that and just stitch right along the edge. If you make your blanket stitch fairly narrow, you really can hardly see the stitches and then it looks really like it’s been hand appliqued on there, but this is a great way to put applique on because all you do is, you machine sew around it and flip it. It gives you nice, clean edges. Looks like you did all that hard needle turn work. All the work without — or — all the look without the work.

Alright, now here is our little finished block, right here. How cute is that? I mean that is darling. Then you are going to put these together in a four patch. So, I have some other ones done here and we are going to put these together so that all the points point to the middle and this is our four patch, right here. So, we are going to go ahead and put this together and stitch ¼ inch seam right down the side, just like this, and it gets pretty close to that peel on the bottom, but that’s alright. And then we’ll press this back, right here, and I’m going to press this one as well, and then you just put these together with all your points pointing to the middle just like you would a four patch. So, you have this little seam here in the middle and you just want to turn those right sides together and nest that seam up and sew that together. Isn’t this fun?

Alright, now you’ve got your square, your block sewn together, just like that, and you are going to be able to just sew rows together and you really just sew them right to each other. See how that works? Just like that? And then you just add your next row on. There is no sashing, no nothing. You want them to meet and it makes kind of these circular patterns that circle in and out and around. I mean, it just looks gorgeous.

So, once you get your four patches together, you are going to put 6 across the top and 7 down and it’s going to make a quilt that is about 65 x 74. As much as I love blue and white, I wanted to see what it was going to look like in a different fabric, so I put together this little table runner, right here, and, I mean, I think it’s just darling no matter what fabric you use. This is a really fun quilt. They are commonly called Pumpkin Seed Quilts or Orange Peel Quilts or Football Quilts. Whatever you call them, we hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • Ruth Larry King

    I can’t wait to make this. I collect nurse figurines. You make quilting look so easy!

  • Gretchen

    How pretty! I think I’ll make a table runner for spring. Little petals….:). I collect fabric! Also antiques and antique quilts. Love your tutorials Jenny!

  • Mary

    Thanks for the tutorial!! This quilt is so versatile. I collect fabric also, so I’ll be using some fabrics out of my stash to make this.

  • Susan

    I am going to make this one, thanks Jenny ! I collect tea pots and cups.

  • Alma Oralia Brown-Alvarado

    i need to make this one…maybe in yellow. I collect elephants with their trunks up. I have be told that they bring good luck. I really love all you tutorials. Keep the GREAT work.

  • Kim

    What color solid did you use with bluebell fabric?

  • Susan G

    Hi Jenny!!! love your tutorials!!! I did purchase the template a while back. Red is my favorite color so I’m thinking red and white. I collect fabric – Out of control actually

  • Lyn

    Where did you get the lazy susan cutting mat? I have the square one, but like the round one in this tutorial much better. Thank you!

  • Davina

    Hi Jenny, another fabulous tutorial! You are so wonderful. I collect stamps!

  • Ediee

    Looking at this quilt I probably never would have thought I would try sewing it. But you Jenny Doan have convinced me again, this is one I have to do. I thank you so much for these tutorials they are wonderful!!!!!!

  • Roz

    The orange peel quilt is absolutely gorgeous. I collect old creamers that look like cows that cream comes out of their mouths.. Also, collect depression glass. I love any old glass!!

  • Susan

    Love this quilt, LOVE LOVE LOVE the blue and white!! I collect everything! I should probably be a hoarder. I collect fabric, yarn, beanie babies! But you mentioned blue and white dishes. My friends’ grandmother died and they gave me her set of Currier and Ives blue and white dishes. it was not a complete set, but I spent some time at the flea markets and put some feelers out, and I have almost 12 place settings of them now, with some accessory dishes as well. Love blue and white dishes!! Can’t wait to see you gals again in May!!!

  • Jen

    Hi Jenny, Love this! Please tell us what fabrics you used to make the little quilt showing up in the left side of the camera view. I believe its a table runner, love those colors and want to make this with something like that. Thanks!

    So what do I collect? Quilt patterns, fabric, rulers, and templates!

  • Nancy Laventure

    What do I collect? Tons of fabric, a toys like rulers, templates…even thread! Anything to do with quilting! LOVE!

  • fran

    Hi Jen love your tutorials .I would like to the charm pack you used for the table runner on the side of screen ? thanks for your tuorials alot I’m a beginner

  • Linda

    I collect pillsbury doughboy items

    • BeckyMSQC

      Awe! That is a really neat thing to collect. I collect everything and anything with pigs on it!

  • Linda

    Hi, Jenny~ I just want to say I LOVE your tutorials! I am a beginner quilter, and they have helped me so much! I collect antique cups and saucers and teapots. 😀

  • Cindy Frasier

    I just made this quilt for my mom for Mother’s day. I can’t wait to give it to her. Every time she see me working on a quilt she’ll say” blue and white is my favorite colors”. So she will be very surprised to get this quilt. She also collects blue and white dishes.

  • Jacqueline van Koesveld

    I finished the top, without problems thanks to your fab tutorial. I used Chocolats and Roses from Moda for the peels and Faded Memories from Moda for the background. It looks very yummy and sweet. I’ll finis

    • Wendi MSQC

      Hi Jacqueline! We would love to see pictures of your quilt it does sound yummy.

  • Jacqueline van Koesveld

    I’ll finish the quilt with a scalloped edge, with your tutorial, I’ m sure I’ ll succeed!

    • Wendi MSQC

      Jacqueline I have every confidence in you!

  • Kathy

    This is sooo pretty, Jenny does such wonderful tutuorials, explains everything so well. I was wondering where the revolving board she is using can be purchased? Thanks.

  • Lea Jensen

    I’m in the process of making this. I’ve used one layer cake and am getting an extra petal and a two-inch square for use in future projects. I made it with only 5.5 yards of the fusible. I was able to cut at least four petals from the interfacing at a time by folding my yardage up. So far, so tum.

    • Wendi MSQC

      Thank you Lea or the quick tips!

    • Betty

      Lea, thanks for sharing your idea of using a layer cake, etc. I was thinking of using one of the many jelly rolls I have. I hope you will post your finished quilt.


    I adore you and your great tutorials!! Hope to someday make it to your shop…I am a little confused, you mentions that this template is the circle magic plus…is this in your notions area?

  • Darlene Hissem

    I love blue and white too! I can certainly understand collecting the dishes. I am a teddy bear collector and must limit how many things I collect. After all, where would I find space to put all my fabric?!!

  • Amber Zona

    I collect a LOT of different things, but vintage sewing machines is one thing I love, though I don’t buy them much anymore. They take a lot of space! I also collect toy machines, but the vintage ones often cost far less. They all look lovely in my sewing space. Thanks for another great tutorial!

  • Darlene Willard Lyons

    So ordering supplies to make this and need clarification on which fusible to pick – Heat n Bond Fusible interfacing or Fusible Featherweight to Midweight. Who has used what or what do you recommend?

  • Dianna Michie

    Jenny, I love all your tutorials. I would really like to make that lovely table runner you showed on your ‘Orange Peel’ lesson. Do you have instructions for it – I am new to quilting and just purchased the orange peel template. Thank you so much!

  • Dianna Michie

    I actually make Prim dolls – tea dyed raggedies and black dolls. I guess I would say I collect doll patterns! I have also drafted my own patterns. I have taken a couple of quilting classes a few years ago and would like to make some small wall hangings and lap quilts as throws for my living room.

  • Parents need to parent


    I had a lightbulb moment. If you had your background fabric as a layer cake and folded into quarters and then added the football fabric and appliqued one football into each quarter, it would go together even faster. I love this look and my son served his mission in Holland, so I have already bought the Bluebell to make him a blue and white “Delft” quilt.

    Thanks for all your great ideas.

    Audrey in Virginia

  • Thanks for making the template a daily deal last week so I could find this great quilt. I’ve been collecting french fabrics for a while and this is the perfect quilt to feature them. Can’t wait to get started.

  • Dianna Michie

    I really enjoyed the Orange Peel Quilt tutorial – it is lovely! So I purchased Jenny’s ‘Block’ book with the actual pattern in it (Spring volume 2 issue 2) and I was so impressed with the whole book, it is done up so beautifully – gorgeous photos and I love every single story Jenny tells with each of her quilts. You are so amazingly talented, WOW, not only a fantastic quilt designer, but a wonderful writer as well. I just love this book!! P.S. I became a Great Grandmother yesterday, June 11, 2015 to a beautiful, healthy Boy named Ayden – he would be the first grandchild of my daughter, Jenny whom we lost 2 years ago. He is such a special gift to our family and I am totally in LOVE!

  • madeline

    I collect blue and white fabric – going to make more quilts with all my collections. I love all these tutorials, they are so helpful. I do have a question, I was wondering if you are familiar with the carpenter’s block?? Would you be interested in preparing a tutorial on it. Thanks.

  • Jessica Leigh Bullock

    Quick question: When ironing down the football shapes to the background fabric, do you need to iron with steam for 10 seconds (per the interfacing directions), or do you dry iron just long enough so it stays in place for sewing? Thanks!

  • Diane

    I collect dust! I’m just so busy sewing, crafting, and enjoying your fabrics, there’s no time to rid myself of it! 🙂

  • Laura Davis

    This is my favorite! In fact, I am finally making a quilt for myself and this is what I chose to make! It’s going to be sent to you for quilting once the top is done. Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorials.