Archive for the 'flying geese' Category

Tutorial: Quick Pieced Flying Geese

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

When I started this blog I envisioned doing tutorials and such for my newbie quilting friends. I had no idea there would be experienced quilters reading and commenting!

That said, this is one of those tutorials. Experienced quilters, please ignore my novice strugglings. Or else comment and tell my beginning friends a better way to do what I’m explaining.

Flying Geese are not my favorite type of quilting unit, but they crop up time and again. You can make them with templates, but I hate using templates. I find them too time consuming to produce and I never cut them quite right. Worst of all, when I finally sew my triangles together my points always get cut off. I hate blunt points.

Here’s a quick piecing method that works for me. The major disadvantage is that it wastes fabric. If you’re a paper piecer it’s not too bad since the left over bits are perfect for little paper piecing projects. If you aren’t a paper piecer. . . well. . . maybe you don’t want to do your flying geese this way if you have 96 of the bad boys lined up.

In this method, you will use one rectangle and two squares to produce a perfect flying goose.

To start with you need to know the size of your finished product. Follow the table below for cutting instructions:

Finished Size Cut 1 rectangle Cut 2 squares
1 1/2″ x 3″ 2″ x 3 1/2″ 2″
2″ x 4″ 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ 2 1/2″
2 1/2″ x 5″ 3″ x 5 1/2″ 3″
3″ x 6″ 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ 3 1/2″
3 1/2″ x 7″ 4″ x 7 1/2″ 4″

Of course, you can make bigger units than that, but I think if you study the chart you can figure out the dimensions pretty easily.

Ready to start sewing?

Click any picture to go to the Flickr page and see it much bigger.

  • Step 1: Cut out your pieces to the desired size. Remember, you’ll need one rectangle and two squares for each flying goose.
  • Step 2: Flip over your squares so the wrong side of the fabric is facing up. Take a fabric pencil and mark a straight diagonal line from one corner to the other. Do this for each square. I find it works best to start in the middle, then mark up. Go back to the middle; mark down. I am also a BAD quilter and sometimes use a really thin sharpie to mark my line. Don’t do this because you might be able to see it on the finished product. Also, really don’t use a regular ink pen because it will bleed in the wash and you’ll have a hot mess on your hands.


  • Step 3: Making sure your fabrics are right sides together, pin one square to one side of the rectangle in preparation for sewing.

  • Step 4: Sew on the marked line. You may want to push a scrap piece through your machine first to help avoid sticking the triangle ends down into your bobbin case. I like to chain piece a bunch of these.


  • Step 5: Go to your cutting area and snip off the excess fabric. Make the cut 1/4″ away from the seam you just sewed. You can eyeball it like I do, or you can use a fancy ruler and a rotary cutter.


    After the cut, your unit will look like this:

  • Step 6: Turn it over, hit it with a bit of Magic Sizing and press your seam open. Not everyone presses open, but I find it much more accurate than pressing toward the side.
  • Step 7: Pin a square to the other side of the rectangle, again making sure right sides are together. Make sure your drawn line is positioned so that when you make the cut, you’ll end up with a point.
  • Step 8: Sew on the drawn line.
  • Step 9: Cut off the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam.

  • Step 10: Turn it over, spray it with Magic Sizing, and press the seam open.

    Your end product should look like this: