Tutorial – The Exhibitionists

The kiddos and I made this quilt for The Husband for his birthday.  The Husband is a graphic artist and loves seeing the kids use their creativity so I got this idea for a quilt that would showcase and preserve some of their artwork for him.  (And I bet you thought ‘exhibitionists’ referred to something dirty.  He he.)  The top finishes at a perfect couch-snuggling size of 63 inches by 63 inches.  I decided that I wanted the sashing to have a plaid color blending effect so I hand-dyed white fabric pink, yellow, and orange for the sashing.  Pink is The Girl’s favorite, yellow is The Boy’s favorite, and orange is a blend of the two.  You should of course use the fabrics that you love best for your own quilt.


  • 2-1/2 yards of white fabric
  • 3/4 yard vertical sashing color (hand-dyed yellow here)
  • 3/4 yard horizontal sashing color (hand-dyed pink here)
  • 1/3 yard sashing squares (hand-dyed orange here)
  • freezer paper (I find mine near the foil at the grocery store)
  • fabric crayons that are designed to remain permanent on fabric (I bought mine at a local craft chain – Michaels)

  • iron, ironing surface
  • And…the usual sewing notions

Step 1

From your fabric cut:

  • White fabric: cut 16 12.5 inch x 12.5 inch squares
  • Vertical sashing: cut 20 3.5 inch x 12.5 inch rectangles
  • Horizontal sashing: cut 20 3.5 inch x 12.5 inch rectangles
  • Sashing squares: cut 25 3.5 inch x 3.5 inch squares

You’ll also want to cut sheets of freezer paper that are larger than your 12.5 x 12.5 inch squares.  You can reuse freezer paper so you don’t have to cut 20, but you’ll want to cut at least 4 or 5.  I just ripped mine off the roll.

Pioneer it! Pioneer it! – Adjust the size of the quilt blocks to your taste – remember to add a half inch when cutting to allow for the seam allowance.  For example, if you want your art block to finish at 16 inches, adjust your white squares to 16.5 x 16.5 inches.  You will also have to adjust the length of your sashing rectangles and your sashing squares.  You could also change your block shape to rectangles, use a combination of sizes and shapes, or change the grid to be 3×4 or 5×5, etc. (here it is 4×4) to suit you.

Step 2

Iron each white fabric square to the waxy side of a sheet of freezer paper.  I like to lay my fabric on my ironing board and center the paper over it with the waxy side down to iron.  That way I don’t get any of the waxy residue on my iron.  Carefully peel the paper off of your ironing surface and the fabric should be stuck to the paper.  Attaching the freezer paper helps to stabilize the fabric for drawing.

Step 3

Unleash your inner artist!  Remember that there is a seam allowance and anything you draw into the seam allowance will be cut off.  I chose to let that go but you could draw light guidelines on the fabric if it worries you.  Follow the instructions on your product for applying and setting the color.  My crayons needed to be heat set with an iron.  I peeled them off of the freezer paper and then ironed a piece of (clean!) newsprint over them to protect the iron.

Pioneer it! Pioneer it! – You don’t have to use just one method to create your art.  You could use fabric paint, markers, embroidery…the sky is the limit!

Step 4

It is time to start assembling.  Sew one vertical sashing piece (right sides together) to the left side of each art square.  Press seam allowances to the left.  You will have some vertical sashing pieces left – that is ok.  We’ll use them soon.  Note that in the picture below The Boy depicts The Husband as The President.

Step 5

Sew one sashing square to the 3.5 inch side of each horizontal sashing piece (right sides together.)  Press seam allowances to the right.  You will have some sashing squares left and that is ok.  We’ll use them soon.

Step 6

Lay your blocks (here ‘blocks’ refers to the units created in step 4) out on a flat surface or design board and arrange them how you prefer.  Working in a row, sew the first two blocks in the row (right sides facing) together.  Sew the third and fourth blocks together, then sew all four together to form a row.  Sew one vertical sashing piece to the end of the row and press all seam allowances to the left.  Repeat this process with the remaining three rows.

Step 7

Sew two sashing pieces (here ‘sashing’ refers to the units created in step 5) together right sides facing.  Repeat for all of the sashing units.

Step 8

Sew two units from step 7 right sides together to form a row.  Add a sashing square to the end of each row.  Press all of the seam allowances in the sashing row to the right.

Step 9

Sew a sashing row to the top of each block row, right sides facing.  You should be able to match up the seams and nestle them together nicely for sewing.  Sew the final sashing row to the bottom of the bottom row, right sides facing.  Press the row seams downward.

Step 10

Sew row one to row two, right sides facing.  Sew row three to row 4, right sides facing.  Sew the top section and bottom section together, right sides facing.  Press the seam allowances down.

Pioneer it! Pioneer it!  Add a border of your own design.

Congratulations!  You have your own Exhibitionist quilt top in 10 easy steps.

Check it out – the perfect couch-snuggling size and dogs love it, too!

Copyright 2010 Kelley Koszegi

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2 Responses to Tutorial – The Exhibitionists

  1. Robyn says:

    That is just precious!

  2. Lady Rags says:

    Lovely treasure… I made a similar quilt for my niece and nephew over 35 years ago. We used CRAYOLA FABRIC CRAYONS. The quilt is still hanging around and was used by the ‘grand”kids. When it gets faded we just grab the crayons and a craft iron, white paper towels. Warm up the fabric / color it with the crayons. Iron again using the paper towels to soak up the wax. We appliqued over patches that was wearing thins.

    I did make the kids other quilts but this is the one they want when they are sick.

    Lady Rags


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