Monday, March 7, 2011

Flying Geese Tutorial

I'm continuing on my quilt and this week's lesson was on Flying Geese. This is one of the most common techniques found in quilting and I struggled with the directions that I had. 

I read several tutorials and watched videos online about how to assemble this unit and not a single tutorial I found explained it how my directions wanted me to do it. It would have been easy to follow one of these tutorials, but I already had my fabric cut to the proper size triangles as by my recommended instructions. 

So I powered on and through a little trial and error, I finished my Flying Geese unit by using the 3 Triangle Method...which I doubt is the easiest, but it's what I was told to do. Here is my tutorial on how to make a Flying Geese unit, using the 3 Triangle Method.  

Step 1: Start by pinning one of your sky pieces to your goose piece, right sides facing each other.

Line up your edges, so that they are even and pin in the bottom corner. You want the bottom the to be exactly even. The top point will overlap the background fabric.

If you are left-handed you may want to pin the opposite side first. 

Step 2: After all of your pieces are pinned you can start sewing. 

I chose to start at the top with the overlapped corner and sew to the bottom pinned corner. Making sure the keep a steady 1/4 inch seam.

Avoid putting the top point directly under the needle as the machine will try to pull the point under the throat plate.

 Step 3: Chain Sewing

I had no idea what chain sewing is until last week. I am sure glad that I gave it a try, it is a time saver...and thread saver.

When you have sewn to the end of the triangle, just keep going. Stop at the end of the fabric, but do not lift your presser foot. Place a new triangle against the presser foot and slowly press your pedal. The presser foot will feed in the new piece. Continue until all are finished. 

Step 4: Clip apart and stack your chain sewing. 

I am not much for finger pressing, so I set my seams with an iron. Use the cotton setting without any steam. 

Avoid moving the iron back and forth, so you do not stretch your fabric. 

I would combine Steps 4 and 5 to save time. No need to set all of your seams before you press them open. Completing these in one step will save you time. I just wanted to make sure that I included all of the pictures. 

Step 5: Gently lift the sky piece and nudge the iron towards the center. On the reverse side the seam should go out towards the sky piece.

After the sky piece is nudged open you can lift the iron and set it on the seam. Again, avoid moving the iron back and forth. 

Repeat on all pieces. 

Step 6: Now that you have sewn and pressed your fabric, you are ready to start pinning your second sky piece.

I like to set it up assembly line style and crank them all out at once...leaving them complete for the next time I decide to work on them . 

These photos were taken over several days, it would be nearly impossible for me to do all of this in one sitting. 

Step 7: I chose to pin my pieces at both ends, so that the edges would stay lined up as I shuffled them around.

Just like in Step 1, keep your bottom edges aligned perfectly and the top point will form a V with the point that is already sewn. 

Step 8:  More Chain sewing.

Still keeping a 1/4 inch seam, I started by sewing at the bottom corner this time.

I removed the pin before I slid it under the presser foot. Making sure to keep the edges aligned as I began to sew. 

Sew all units and Repeat Steps 4 & 5 before beginning Step 9.

Step 9. The Flying Geese units are always twice as wide as they are tall. 

You can use a straight ruler to trim the unit. I didn't have a thin enough ruler, so I used a 6 1/2 inch square. 

The finished piece will measure 3 1/2  x 6 1/2, allowing for a quarter inch seam. 

To trim the fabric you must be able to find the middle. The 3 1/4 inch  mark on the center and the dotted line under that mark should be on the point of the triangle. The triangle point will always be 1/4 inch from the fabric edge. 

Hold your ruler firmly and trim the top and one side. Then rotate your fabric on its side. 

Step 10: Now that your fabric is rotated you want to place the ruler on top of your fabric. The 6 1/2 inch mark will be placed along the bottom edge and the 3 1/2 inch mark should line up with your already trimmed edge. 

When your ruler is all lined up, hold firmly and trim the top and side. 

This should leave you with a perfect 3 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch rectangle. 


  1. Awesome! You have made it seem simple ... but we both know it won't be when I start it! Thank you for the photos! You know I am a visual learner!

  2. I've always wanted to try my hand at quilting. It's the "repeat 59 more times" step that's kept me away. I'm sure I'd get around to repeating it 30 times and give up. Thanks for the tutorial. Never know when I'll get the itch and now I know what to do!