Slowdown sewing: My orange peel pillow

I’m a \”list making, meet the deadline, don’t be late\” kind of gal.  I bet a lot of you are too. Sometimes I feel like my quilting projects get lost in a blur of schedules and timelines, and I lose a bit of the joy of sewing. Last February I was feeling that way, and so I set about to include some “slowdown sewing” in the mix. 

The result of my slowdown sewing plan: a pretty orange peel pillow, complete with big stitch hand quilting and some mismatched mother-of-pearl buttons. I made pokey progress over the past eight months, but it was worth the wait!

My finished pillow measures 20” square and is made from favorite Fig Tree & Co. fabrics from my stash, along with Moda Cross Weave (Sand) as the background. 

I tried techniques and products that were new to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed stretching my sewing wings. I think you would enjoy it too! For the scoop on how I began this process, please visit these posts from February:

Impressions Orange Peel Templates: a giveaway with Fat Quarter Shop

Friends, the giveaway closed in February, but this post is full of details on how I did my hand applique.  

    I hand appliqued the orange peels to squares of Cross Weave now and then, as time allowed.  A few were sewn while watching TV with the hubby, and some were finished while riding in the car. (For full details on the method I used, visit this post.) After making 16 orange peel squares, I decided that was a nice amount to create a big fluffy pillow for my guest room.

    I sewed the squares together in an arrangement that I liked, and then I added borders. I created a quilt sandwich of the pillow top, and began big stitch hand quilting. When I was done, I added the mother-of-pearl buttons from my grandma\’s button jar.

    I used Aurifil’s 12 wt thread in 2000 (light sand). This soft, pearly thread is intended for big stitch quilting, hand embroidery, cross stitch and other types of embellishments. To my hand, this single-strand thread feels similar to the weight of three strands of Aurifloss. I’m fairly new to hand quilting of any kind, so I purchased a few different needles before I settled on the one I liked best for this technique, #24 embroidery needles from Fat Quarter Shop. If you are a beginner like me, there is a nice tutorial on the Aurifil blog: Big Stitch Hand Quilting by Sherri Noel.

    To finish my pillow, I created a simple envelope back to insert the pillow form, and I bound the pillow in the same fashion you would bind a small quilt. I absolutely love that red polka dot binding, don\’t you?

    When I started this project in February, I didn’t have a plan.  I wasn’t even sure if I was making a quilt, a runner, or a wall hanging. As it turns out, I made a pillow.  This process of discovery, learning and slowdown sewing has made this project one I will cherish for a long time.
    I sincerely hope you all find time to slow down and get carried away quilting! My best to you!

    9 thoughts on “Slowdown sewing: My orange peel pillow

    1. I remember when you started this and thought what a nice idea it was. Now seeing the finished product I think it will have to go on my list. The entire pillow is perfect in every little detail, right down to your grandmother's buttons and the red binding💕 thank you for sharing some inspiration once again! ❤️

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