Today we will be working on a Flying Geese Tutorial. We used these in our Sew Sweet Simplicity Block of the Month, now available in our shop. So what does a Flying Geese Tutorial have to do with the BOM? Read on…
All of the blocks in the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM feature Flying Geese units. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how I make Flying Geese units, and also show you a great project for using those Flying Geese. This tutorial is going to show you how to make pretty large units, 4 x 8″ finished size (4 1/2 x 8 1/2″ unfinished). The ones in the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM are quite a bit smaller, but by making these fairly large you can put a quilt together quickly. So here we go:
Typically, a Flying Geese unit is a rectangle which is twice as wide as it is tall, for example 3 x 6 or 4 x 8. There are a few ways of making them. I like this way because it makes the unit a that’s little larger than I need, so I can trim it at the end and get a perfect unit. I find that no matter how hard I try to be accurate with my sewing, things still tend to get a little “wonky”! Do you have that problem, too?
Anyway, for each unit you will need a rectangle and 2 squares of fabric.
- Cut the rectangle 1/2″ larger than you want the finished unit to be. For example, if the unit in your project is 4 x 8″ (not including seam allowance) you would cut a rectangle that is 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″.
- Then, cut your 2 squares 1/4″ bigger than the height of the rectangle that you cut- in this case, we cut a 4 1/2″ rectangle, so our squares will be 4 3/4″.
(In this tutorial, I’m making 2 units so I can sew them together into a block at the end, so I have cut 2 rectangles and 4 squares.)
Draw a line diagonally down the center on the WRONG side of the squares. It’s always good to draw a line with a ruler- it will ensure that you sew a straight seam.
Place a square on the rectangle, right sides together, lining up the bottom and side edges. There will be excess fabric from the square at the top. Sew on the line.
Flip your triangle up to make sure that it’s not too “wonky”- it should look like this:
Flip the triangle back down and trim away the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then flip it open again and press.
Now you will repeat the same step on the other side of the rectangle:
Now it’s time to trim the unit. Trim it so that the top edge has a 1/4″ seam allowance:
And it should look like this:
Now, you may be thinking, “What about all that wasted fabric that I trimmed off?” Here is another trick- when sewing your squares to the rectangle, sew another seam 1/2″ from the seam that you sewed down the center (I recommend drawing another line to use as a guideline- you can see in the photo below that I “eyeballed” the seam and it’s far from straight!)
Cut between the 2 sewn lines, and your excess fabric becomes a half-square triangle unit.
Of course, it will be really wonky, but you can trim it down to make a perfect square. For these, I trimmed them to 3″ each. (For the block of the month, the units will be much smaller- if you use this trick your HSTs will be teeny tiny!)
Then you can use them in another project, maybe as a border, or arrange them into blocks:
Finally, I sewed those 2 completed Flying Geese units into an 8″ finished (8 1/2″ unfinished) block:
If you want a quilt that uses these Flying Geese units, please follow this link to find instructions in making this quilt, perfect for the holidays:
(The fabrics in the above tutorial and project are from 2 of my fabric lines, Joy Love Peace Noel and Oh Holy Night, for Henry Glass Fabrics.)
Click here for a PDF download of the above tutorial.
Thank you for this! You have made it very easy to follow along!! I can’t wait for the BOM to start!!!
By the way, I tried clicking on the Quilting Gallery link in your post above and it doesn’t work. I found it on my own, but just wanted you to know.
Thanks for the heads up- we’ve fixed the link. Can’t wait to see what you make for the BOM!
I’m so thankful for your direction on the flying geese. I hadn’t a clue before 🌹
I’ve never made flying geese like this before, but I am now hooked~ so easy and perfect! ;-)
Thanks, Sandie :)
so looking forward to the start of the BOM and surely at the end will be able to make flying geese perfectly
Hi Margaret- yes by the end of this BOM you will surely be an expert :)
Thank you for posting the tutorial for the flying geese, but I cannot find a button to print it…I printed the pattern for the Christmas quilt but I also need this one..thanks
Sharon- PDF link is now included in post above.
Thanks, and I’m looking forward to start on the B O M ..I’m just a beginner, but looking forward to it…
Wow. Love you techniques. So pleasant to do with great results. Made 2 green and white and 2 green and red with the half sqs. For an old timer like me, it’s wonderful when you learn something new. Sew much fun..tx .Anne
Hi Anne- glad you found it helpful! Everyone has their own way of doing things, and it’s nice to teach other our little tricks!
Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it :)
Thank you. I have had trouble with them lately. I sewed 8 flying geese together and it was not straight. I will work on it some more.
Can’t wait to start the bom. Looks terrific
This quickly became my favorite way to make the FG during the QAL before last.
Thanks again for the tip.
Ohhh lala… You’re so clever!! Thank-you for the tutorial, now my geese can fly straight. Never loved this block, for its wonky behavior. Look forward to trying this method ; and your new BOM.
Live this method. Had a problem with this block forever. Just made two that are 1.5 x 2.5 inches and they flew in a straight formation. Only 48 more geese to make. Thanks again for great instructions.
I wanted to say thank you. I am learning how to quilt and one of the blocks that I was doing in class was the flying geese. you would not believe the material that I wasted trying to figure out from the written instructions (no pictures). After going to your web site and looking at the pictures, I realized what I was doing wrong. Thanks again for the pictures.
Hi Annette- that’s why I put so many pictures in my patterns. I LOVE learning that way, rather than just trying to read the instructions :)
I have struggled for years trying to do Flying Geese which ever way instructions for pattern said, never very successfully. This makes perfect sense and easy to follow for any size. You are my Quilting Angel. Thanks Jacquelynne.
Enjoy any help, tutorials, pictures,tips and ideas
Thank you! Newbie here…never made FG until Bonnie’ s ORL, and I had a heck of a time! From now on, I’ll use your tut! I appreciate it!
So easy to understand and follow along. Thank you for sharing.
Great idea and tutorial on making the flying geese. Thank you.
Thank you, I only use the “quick corners” method when I want my flying geese to be scrappy, I did come away loving your tip on sewing the extra seam so the wasted triangles become 1/2 squares. I will definitely be using this!
Great Tutorial! I love the tip about the 2nd seam to make little squares – I always end up saving the little triangle cutoffs!! This is great! :)
I’m so happy to “have permission” to make HSTs a ltitle bigger, then cut down to size! Very good directions. Thanks!!
Very fun projects!
This is so awesome, I have struggled for years to get this right and finally gave up. I can not wait to try this. Your instructions are the best so clear. Thank you so much,,,,
So that’s how you get these geese to line up. That 1/4″ makes such a difference.
I never thought to make them bigger and cut down. Great way to do it! Will do this from now on. This ensures the 1/4 inch to make our seam. Thank you so much!
Why has it taken me 5 1/2 years to see a post that really explains making flying geese? Thank you! Very well explained and great pictures to help.
I would like to print out these instructions. Can you make it printable?
I got it printed. Thanks.
Thank You !!! I hate it when I can not get that 1/4″ that you need to sew the blocks together. I am going to try this with half square triangles also. The way you explain it makes it so easy to understand.
What I have already seen of your ideas, helps and patterns are amazing. So easy to follow. Thank you sew much from this grateful sewer.