Having discovered how much fun it is to write and photograph a tutorial, here’s another one – The Making your Geese Fly Tutorial!

Now obviously, this isn’t even remotely an original technique (check here for basic instructions).  But I only learnt of its existence a short time ago myself – thankyou Mistress Amy.

Nevertheless, adopting it has been one of those pivotal moments in my patchwork life when I think WOW!!!!  I want to make Flying Geese for every quilt I make!  How could I not share such a blessing :-)  So without further adieu …

As with lots of patchwork techniques, there are mathematical rules that we learn to apply without really understanding why (at least, I don’t understand!)  But, like many things in life, understanding why is not essential as long as you remember to stick to the rule.  Thus, I am not about to explain why,  just how!

Choose the fabric for your geese – a 2 contrasting fabrics are good.  Select which fabric will be your centre triangle, and which fabric will be your side wings.

For the centre triangle, establish how wide your finished geese will be – in this instance, 4 inches – so, add 1 1/4 inches to this = 5 1/4 – and then cut a square that is 5 1/4 inches along each side (of course it is  – it’s a square!)

cut 5 1/4 square
This rule applies no matter how big your geese – if you want 8 inch wide finished geese – add 1 1/4 inches so you will cut a square of 9 1/4 – get it!

Now, so you have a wee bit better of an understanding why we are doing this, take a look at the back …

take a look at the bacl

… if I draw a line from point to point in both directions, I wind up with a square that is quartered into four triangles – these will be your centre triangles!  Aaaaaahhhh! So one 5 1/4 inch square will yield 4 flying geese units!

Now, if my finished unit will be 4 inches wide and 2 inches tall, I will need to cut squares of 2 7/8 inches from my side wing fabric.  You are cutting it at 2 7/8 because ultimately, this square will be cut in half, so, just like a half square triangle, you need to allow 7/8 inch seam allowance.  And you will need four 2 7/8 inch squares, for one 5 1/4 inch square …

cut side wings

Lovely!  Now, turn these squares over, and draw a line from one point to the opposing point, just like you would for a half square triangle …

draw a line from one point to the opposing point

… and now you are ready to sew!

Take the 5 1/4 inch square – face up – and pin two of your side wing squares face down in diagonally opposing corners …

pin two squares onto 5 1/4 inch block

… so that it looks like this – the inner corners will overlap and your drawn line will meet – jolly good!

Now sew 1/4 inch away from the drawn line down one side … down, down, down, keep going across the middle, down, down, down, through both side wing squares …

sew 1/4 inch away from line down one side

…  and then turn around, and sew back the other way.  Just like you would with a half square triangle – but of course, you’re doing two at once.
turn around and sew back the other way

Let’s take a peek at the back of our 5 1/4 inch square and see what’s happening to those diagonal lines we drew (remember, you don’t have to draw these, I just did this to show you why we cut such a square).

look at the back
Huh!  You can see that all four of our centre triangles have a seam line running 1 /4 inch from the cutting line.  Cool!

So, grab your scissors, turn your square back up the right way, and cut along the drawn line …

cut down the middle

Mmmmm …. looks a bit funny doesn’t it!  This totally threw me the first time I did it – egads!  I thought – there’s a line of stitching that cuts right along the edge of the V.

unfamiliar geese
Iron back the two triangles on each unit …

heart geese

… and now they look like pointy hearts with a very dodgy bit of seam allowance in the  V. No problem baby!

Take your remaining two side wing square and pin one, face down and with your drawn line running from the V formed by the first two squares, into the bottom corner of each of your face up “hearts”.

pin one into each heart point

… and sew 1/4 inch away from said drawn line, down one side, turn it around, and then down the other side.

all sewn up
Guess what you are going to do now!  Yes!  That’s it – brownie points for you!  You’re going to cut along the drawn line of each of your two “heart” units and press the side wing triangle – that’s right, it’s no longer a square – open.  This will give you four units!
and look what you’ve got!

Ha-ha!  Isn’t that so cool!  Now you have four beautifully accurate, perfect quarter inch seam allowance at the top point, flying geese.  And to borrow a phrase from all those quilt patterns that make me pull at my hair with despair – now you can make as many as your want and “assemble (they say quilt!) as desired” …

assemble as you wish

No hair pulling here though – it’s a breeze!  Just make sure you have enough patterns in mind that require flying geese, because you’re not going to want to stop!

Let me know if you have any questions – but now I’m off to the kitchen.  There’s a lovely warm, toasty aroma of baked chipolatas and pumpkin calling to me – not to mention the fiercely bubbling water that if it waits any longer for its peas, will have boiled away.

Good night and good sewing!

Last modified: Friday, 16 February 2018, 8:13 AM