Inspect your blocks. Press each one with starch and make sure they are the correct size (5 by 6 1/2 inches). I can work with blocks that are off a bit with easing.
You can put the blocks together any which way you want.
The hands do interlock so you can put them side by side, flipping the seam allowance if you want to put similar blocks next to each other. You will definitely have to flip seam allowances at the top and bottom when putting together rows. Or, you can put sashing and make a strippy quilt. If your blocks are really of varying sizes, I recommend you frame each block and cut the framed blocks to a consistent size.
I am going with the original setting of medium value alternate blocks. Each child is a jewel in this set, and I love it.
This setting will use the 147 children blocks, and 147 alternate blocks (cut 5 by 6 1/2 inches from a medium fabric).
I do not want too much of a checkerboard effect, more of a checkerboard suggestion, so my mediums range from the light side to the dark side. This is also why I used mediums for the backgrounds of some of the children blocks.
NOTE: Although I made about half shirt and pants blocks and half dress blocks, I am not concerned about alternating placement in my quilt--boys and girls can clump together as they do in life.
I do NOT put all the blocks up on the board and work on placement. There are 294 blocks, and that is too many decisions to deal with. Instead, I put the children into larger blocks.
First, serendipity. Letting a few blocks be "too close" by chance, makes a better quilt. Being too strict with the rules makes a more static look, and I like the serendipity factor to get me out of that control.
Also, by over thinking "this block goes here" 294 times (number of children and alternate blocks) I would drive myself crazy.
Instead, I make nine-patches of the blocks, bringing the total blocks down to 28 full blocks and 7 partial blocks (35).
Here is how to get started:
Sew the blocks into two types of segments--one with one child and two alternate blocks, the other with two children and one alternate block. Make 49 of each.
Next time: how to put these segments into 9-patches (and a few partial blocks).