Monday, January 10, 2011

Flying Geese - The No Waste Method

Okay, so how many of your get scared and run for the hills at the through of flying geese.  They can be a little intimidating :)   This is a great method of making Flying Geese that have no waste. And you won't be sewing any triangles along the bias which helps to keep everything nice and straight.  It's simply sewing down the center of squares.  Let's get to it!!!

To start you need to cut your squares!!  Each set of squares cut (5 total) will make 4 flying geese.  From your first fabric (the goose or large triangle) you will cut a 1 square that is 1 1/4" larger than the finished width of your flying geese block.  From your second fabric (the sky or small triangles on the sides)  you will cut 4 squares that are 7/8" larger than your finished height of your flying geese block.  Just make sure that when you are picking your sizes your keep your geese proportional to twice the length as the width (ie 2 x 4, 2 1/2" x 5",  3 x 6, ect.

So in this example picture I am making 4 sets of flying geese (12 green geese and 4 red geese).  My finished  geese blocks will be 2" x 4".  By finished I mean the size they will be when sewn into a block.  When I am done making the individual geese block they will measure 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" and are considered unfinished.  (a little confusing some times :)  So I have cut (4) 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" squares (4" + 1 1/4")  and (16) 2 7/8" x 2 7/8"  (2" + 7/8") squares.  I will end up with 16 flying geese unfinished at 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" and when I sew them into a block they will be finished at 2" x 4"

Oh, and one last note before we start sewing, since you are almost always making this block as a flock (aka a lot of them) it is best to save time to do all of your cutting first and then be sure and repeat each of the sub-steps in an assembly line fashion rather than making 1 set of  geese at a time.

With right sides together, lay two white squares onto your large print square as shown.  Using your ruler, draw a pen line diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.

Now go ahead and pin both sides of each square adjacent to that drawn line.  Make sure to put them out far enough that your presser foot won't hit them as you sew on by :)  Now stitch a 1/4" seam along both sides of the drawn line (the black lines represent your stitching lines :)  Remember, you are doing these assembly line so go ahead and chain stitch all the sets on the right hand side of the line first, and then go back and do all the sets on the left hand side.

Clip your threads and then align your ruler along the drawn center line.  Cut your pieces apart along that drawn line.

Now you will want to press your seam up towards your 2 little triangles.

Now, take 2 more little squares and align them on your two stitched pieces as follows with right sides together.  Once again, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the little squares from corner to corner.

Now pin each piece far enough out that your foot will go by and then once again, stitch a 1/4" seam along both sides of the drawn diagonal line.  (Remember to chain stitch to save time :)

Clip your threads and then using your ruler aligned along the drawn line, once again, cut your 2 separate pieces apart.

Press up toward the little triangles again.  Lastly, trim off the little corners.

And you are done!!!  Perfectly precise flying geese blocks without throwing away any scraps and without sewing a single triangle.  Fabulous!!

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  1. I have been quilting for almost 40 years. Your instructions are the clearest and most concise I have seen anywhere. I love your labor saving ideas.

  2. Loved the clear instructions & pictures. Most instructions are for just one size. You told how to make any size Flying Geese block needed. When I want to do them, it is never for the size in the instructions I have. Thanks again.


  3. Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. I've always run from flying geese--now I can't wait to try this. You're a genius!

  4. I made 44 flying geese today using this method, 1x2". So cute and little! Thanks for the tutorial and how to adjust your own measurements. It was so slick and easy to do!

  5. Awesome tutorial and a big fabric and time saving for making flying geese blocks.

  6. Great tutorial. We seem to understand better with pictures. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for a great tutorial. Can't wait to try it out!

  8. Thanks for simplifying the process. I have blindly created flying geese by this method but never fully understood how it works until seeing these photos.

  9. Thanks for simplifying the process. I have blindly created flying geese by this method but never fully understood how it works until seeing these photos.

  10. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I love it!

  11. Great tutorial! Bless your heart!

  12. Wow, this is amazing! All the fabric I will save!

  13. ZOWIE! This is fantastic! Thanks so much for this wonderful tutorial. I've always avoided patterns with flying geese because I could never get them right. I just seemed to be jinxed when I tried to sew them. Ta-Da! My curse has been removed and I can now make them using your wonderful technique. I feel like I just received a Christmas present in June! ☺


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)