Teacher Appreciation Quilt

April 1, 2024

Teacher Appreciation Quilts

Teachers are such important people in the lives of children and their families. As we near the end of my son’s first year in school, I’ve seen first-hand just how much his teacher has meant both to my son and our family! She has gone above and beyond to care for, teach, and inspire my son to learn. To show our appreciation, I designed a special quilt for her to  remember the class she has had this school year which incorporates art from each student into the blocks. I hope after reading this you will be inspired to do the same!

Teacher Quilt

The final design is both clean and modern, with space for each student to create something sweet for their teacher. The blocks are made with simple shapes and colors to make the student artwork stand out while still having a modern sense of style. 

Supplies:

  • Basic sewing tools (sewing machine, thread, needles, iron, rotary cutter, ruler, etc.)
  • Copy paper
  • Fabric transfer printing paper (1 sheet for every child in the class; I used Jolee’s Boutique Iron-On Transfer Paper, available on Amazon)
  • Computer, scanner, and printer 
  • Manilla envelopes (1 envelope for every child in the class)
  • Quilt top fabric: (Fabrics listed are all Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids)

A1: ½ yard White Linen

A2: 1 yard Vanilla Custard

A3: ½ yard Pampas

B1: 5/8 yard Velvet

B2: 1 yard Gingerbread

B3: ½ yard Chocolate

  • Backing Fabric: 4 yards Art Gallery Fabric Meadow Matcha from the Evolve Collection by Suzy Quilts
  • Binding Fabric: ½ yard Velvet

Collecting and Preparing Student Artwork

Before starting on the quilt, I sent home a letter and a template home with each child in my son’s class. I put one letter and one template page inside a manilla envelope with each child’s name on the outside. I asked the teacher to send these home with students and as they sent them back to just send them home in my child’s backpack. This way she would have no idea what was inside. (I want the quilt to be a surprise!) 

The template is a simple square that is 6 inches x 6 inches. This will fit perfectly inside the block we will iron them onto later.

Below is a copy of the letter I sent home, so you can use mine or come up with your own! I wanted to explain the project to the parents and give directions on what their child should draw on the template. I asked them to use markers because it seems to show up the best when scanning and copying.

teacher letter

Once I got all of the drawings back, I scanned them into my computer and then “reversed” each image so that when I iron it on later, it will be oriented correctly. Don’t forget this step!

scan
scan reverse
cutting scan

After the artwork was scanned and reversed, I printed each one onto the iron on paper. Then I cut each one out, cutting just inside of the black line, and set the artwork aside until after I made all of the quilt blocks. Once you iron the pictures on, you cannot iron that block again or the image will come off, so I waited until my quilt blocks were complete to iron the images on. You could even wait until your entire quilt top is sewn together if you would like. 

Before getting started on the quilt pattern:

WOF: Width of Fabric (assumed to be 42”)

RST: Right Sides Together

All seams assumed to be ¼” unless noted otherwise.

Quilt Pattern

This is a block-based pattern made of 25 blocks. There are two different types of blocks: A and B. The pattern uses (12) A blocks and (13) B blocks, and the only difference between A and B is the colors. I used White Linen for the A1 color, which is  where I ironed on the student artwork. My son’s class has less than 12 students, so I didn’t need to use the center of all 25 blocks. If the class you are making a quilt for has more than 12 students, you may want to use white fabric for both A1 and B1 to allow for more student artwork areas.

Note: For this project, I DID prewash my fabric because I knew  I would be ironing on the student artwork images, and I didn’t want the fabric to shrink around the art. After I washed all of the fabric, I folded it in half (selvage to selvage) and pressed. 

fabrics

To remind myself of which fabrics were which, I made this simple chart. You may want to do the same, especially if you are using different fabrics than I used!

fabric card

Cutting Instructions:

A1: (2) 6 ½” x WOF

A2: (4) 3 ½” x WOF, (2) 6 ½” WOF

A3: (4) 3 ½” x WOF

B1: (2) 6 ½” x WOF, (1) 6 ½” WOF; sub cut (1) 6 ½” x 6 ½” piece

B2: (4) 3 ½” x WOF, (2) 6 ½” WOF, (1) 6 ½” WOF; subcut (4) 3 ½” x 6 ½” pieces

B3: (4) 3 ½” x WOF, (1) 3 ½” WOF; sub cut (4) 3 ½” x 3 ½” pieces

Binding: (7) 2 ½” x WOF 

cut fabrics

Make 12 A Blocks:

  1. Place (1) A1 6 ½” x WOF strip RST with (1) A2 3 ½” x WOF strip. Pin in place and sew. Press toward A1. Repeat with the second A1 6 ½” x WOF strip and another A2 3 ½” x WOF strip.
  2. Place (1) A2 3 ½” x WOF strip RST with strip unit made in step 1. Pin in place and sew. Press toward A1. Repeat with the second unit made in step 1 and another A2 3 ½” strip. *Note: The ends of the strips do not have to match up exactly. As long as they match up on one end, some strips may be slightly shorter or longer at the opposite end.
  3. Subcut these strip sets into (12) 6 ½” strips. These are now A1/A2 units that should measure 6 ½” x 12 ½”.
diagram

4. Place (1) A2 6 ½” x WOF strip RST with (1) A3 3 ½” x WOF strip. Pin in place and sew. Press toward A3. Repeat with the second A2 6 ½” x WOF strip and another A3 3 ½” x WOF strip.

5. Place (1) A3 3 ½” x WOF strip RST with strip unit made in step 4. Pin in place and sew. Press toward A3. Repeat with the second unit made in step 4 and another A3 3 ½” strip. 

6. Subcut these two strip sets into (24) 3 ½” strips. These are now A2/A3 units that should measure 3 ½” x 12 ½”.

7. Place (1) A1/A2 unit RST with (1) A2/A3 unit. Pin in place and sew. Press toward the center of the block. Repeat with all A1/A2 units and (11) A2/A3 units.

8. Place (1) A2/A3 unit RST with (1) unit made in step 7. Pin in place and sew. Press toward the center of the block. Repeat with the remaining A2/A3 units and step 7 units. You will now have (12) A blocks that should measure 12 ½” x 12 ½”.

wrong side of unit

Make 13 B Blocks:

9. Place (1) B1 6 ½” x WOF strip RST with (1) B2 3 ½” x WOF strip. Pin in place and sew. Press toward B2. Repeat with the second B1 6 ½” x WOF strip and another B2 3 ½” x WOF strip.

10. Place (1) B2 3 ½” x WOF strip RST with strip unit made in step 9. Pin in place and sew. Press toward B2. Repeat with the second unit made in step 9 and another B2 3 ½” strip. *Note: The ends of the strips do not have to match up exactly. As long as they match up on one end, some strips may be slightly shorter or longer at the opposite end.

11. Subcut these two strip sets into (12) 6 ½” strips. These are now B1/B2 units that should measure 6 ½” x 12 ½”.

B Unit

12. Place (1) B2 6 ½” x WOF strip RST with (1) B3 3 ½” x WOF strip. Pin in place and sew. Press toward B3. Repeat with the second B2 6 ½” x WOF strip and another B3 3 ½” x WOF strip.

13. Place (1) B3 3 ½” x WOF strip RST with strip unit made in step 12. Pin in place and sew. Press toward B2. Repeat with the second unit made in step 12 and another B3 3 ½” strip. 

14. Subcut these two units into (24) 3 ½” strips. These are now B2/B3 units that should measure 3 ½” x 12 ½”.

B unit

15. Place (1) B1/B2 unit RST with (1) B2/B3 unit. Pin in place and sew. Press open. Repeat with all B1/B2 units and (11) B2/B3 units.

16. Place (1) B2/B3 unit RST with (1) unit made in step 15. Pin in place and sew. Press toward the outside of the block. Repeat with the remaining B2/B3 units and units made in step 15. You will now have (12) B blocks that should measure 12 ½” x 12 ½”.

B block

17. Gather (1) B1 6 ½” x 6 ½” square, (4) B2 3 ½” x 6 ½” pieces, (4) B3 3 ½” x 3 ½” pieces.

18. Sew (1) B1 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ piece between (2) B2 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ pieces. Press away from the B1 piece. This is now a B1/B2 unit that should measure 6 1/2″ x 12 1/2″.

19. Sew (1) B2 3 ½” x 6 ½” piece between (2) B3 3 ½” x 3 ½” pieces. Press away from the B3 pieces. This is now a B2/B3 unit that should measure 3 ½” x 12 ½”.  

20. Repeat step 19 to make (2) total B2/B3 units that should measure 3 ½” x 12 ½”. 

21. Sew (1) B1/B2 unit between (2) B2/B3 units. Press away from the B1 piece. This is now a B block that should measure 12 ½” x 12 ½”.

Transfer student artwork to A blocks

Now is the time to place the prepared artwork onto the blocks! Place one child’s artwork onto the center of (1) A block. Follow your iron on paper’s specific directions to transfer the art onto the center of the block. Repeat with all children’s art. (I had one empty block, so I printed out “Pre-K Class of 2023-2024 and ironed it on, but you don’t have to include that

ironing
iron 2
image transfer

Complete Quilt Top

Now that you have all 25 blocks completed and ready to go, arrange them in the order and orientation you would like them to be. You can lay them all out on the floor, a bed, or use a design wall.

design wall

Sew the blocks into rows. Press seams between blocks open, taking special care to not touch the iron to the student artwork.

The seams should “nest” between the blocks if the pressing directions throughout the pattern were followed. This will help to keep your points crisp when sewing the blocks together. 

Sew the rows together. Press seams open. 

Finish Quilt

  1. Cut the backing fabric in half on the WOF. Sew pieces together along the selvage using a ½” seam allowance. Press as desired.
  2. Baste and quilt as you would like. I chose to not quilt over the student artwork because I felt like it would cause the art to wash away more quickly.
  3. Sew the binding strips together, press, and bind using your preferred binding method.

My son is so excited to give this quilt to his teacher! I hope she enjoys it and uses it often.

Joel Quilt

I hope you are inspired to make this timeless gift to thank your child’s teacher for a wonderful school year!

Teacher Quilt
In the Light Quilts

Check out my website and follow me on Instagram @inthelightquilts for more quilt inspiration! 

-Alison

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