I spent the entire day, I mean the ENTIRE day yesterday, experimenting with various applique techniques. I had a basic pattern from Moda Bake Shop, for a 4.5 inch block unit that I was using for a template.
And here's my issue. The orange peel section is too big for the 4.5 inch square. There isn't enough seam allowance to sew it to another block.
I got out my June Tailor plastic template. Beautiful. From what I read, the tip to tip measurement of the orange peel unit should fit perfectly on a square one half inch larger. I thought I had it all figured out, but this is the result:
Seam allowance too big. I must have figured wrong. Also, making these 4.5 inch square units was making me crazy because the orange peel section wasn't lining up just right to match the others.
I decided to use one consistent background square so I could more successfully match up those points that come together in the center.
Whew, that is so much better. Ferrgetabout scrappy backgrounds. Not doing it.
I am still not sure if my template for the "peels" is the right size. It seems to me if it were 1/16th or 1/8th inch smaller, things would be better. But that would be a weird measurement.
I am not kidding, I tried about a dozen applique methods, trying to decide did I want to do this on the machine or by hand. I used starch, I used glue (huge messes with both), I did freezer paper, double freezer paper, tracing a template and drawing a line on the right side of the fabric, using fusible interfacing, using fusible interfacing with the center trimmed out (what a waste of fusible), using machine applique with freezer paper and having to slash the back of the unit to yank out the freezer paper (HATED that method the most), and who knows what else. I did it on the machine, with a zig zag stitch and with a blanket stitch. I did it by hand. I tell you, I could have half an orange peel quilt made with all the experimenting I did yesteray.
Here are my conclusions at this moment in time--the method I prefer to use for applique is simple needle turn. You trace your template on the right side of the fabric, stick it to your background with glue or pins and start sewing. No starch, no mess. No hours and hours and hours of prep. No wrecked manicure. And you get to sit down and start sewing right away. And if your thread matches your applique piece well, your stitches are invisible. Stitching the blocks is so quick with this simple shape. FIve to ten minutes per unit. By hand!
What I am not sure about is what template to use. With this block, you want your seam allowance to be just so, and I am not entirely satisfied with my results. I guess my final results are close to a quarter inch, but it would be nice to have just a teensy bit more room for play.
Any of you out there who are using an Orange Peel template--what is working for you?
UPDATE AT DAWN----
So I am up at the crack of dawn continuing the experiment and using your tips, and here's what works--
Make my scrappy background squares 4 3/4" instead of 4 1/2". Now my template fits better. Sew four scrapy background squares together. Mark a dot 1/4" in from each corner. Do needle turn applique and everything comes out great!
These pieces aren't stitched down, but you can see they will fit on the backgrounds much better. Brilliant advice everyone, thanks! I went through almost an entire charm pack with this experiement and was afraid I had had enough of my Orange Peel experience, but now I am raring to go on a real project!