4 Ways to make Flying Geese

Flying GeeseSince I began this T quilt adventure, I have been playing with different ways to make the flying geese block. Some patterns require larger pieces of fabric to make them and other can be made with small scraps. Some produce zero waste and other produce a significant amount of it. Some patterns are spot on accurate, and others are a wonky mess. After experimenting with 4 different techniques I have found my favorite and I would like to share with you the pros and cons of each.

Please note that all of these blocks (except for one) will need to be squared up. I have provided instructions for doing this two different ways here.


Method #1

The first is the good old fashioned way of making geese. It requires 3 triangles that, for convenience sake,  I made from 2 squares. Once upon a time however two triangular templates were made, attached to each piece of fabric and the fabric was cut with a pair of scissors. Today we have the convenience of rotary cutters and mat boards, thank goodness. Here is how I made mine:

These directions will make 2 flying geese

~Background color – (2) 3 1/4″ squares.   ~Goose color – (1) 4″ square

  1. Cut each of your squares diagonally and place as shown in photo’s #1 & 2.
  2. Flip one of the background triangles over the center “goose” making sure to align the bottom edges as shown in #3. The triangle will hang over the top of the “goose”, that is ok, you need that overhang (photo #4).
  3. Stitch in place with a perfect 1/4″ seam and press the seam allowance toward the background color. (photo #5)
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the remaining triangle as shown in photo #6. Press the seam toward the background color.
  5. Square up your block to 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

This is a simplistic way to make flying geese, that works up quickly, is very accurate and it produces very little waste.


Method #2 

The second way uses uncut squares and rectangles:

These directions will make 2 flying geese

~Background color – (4) 2 1/2″ squares | ~Goose color – (2) 2 1/2″ X 4 1/2″ rectangle

  1. Draw a diagonal line across the backs of all 4 background squares.
  2. With right sides together place one background square on top of one rectangle, as shown in photo # 2.
  3. Stitch on the line, then cut off the excess fabric 1/4′ away from the stitching line and press the seam towards the background color (Photo’s #3 & 4)
  4. Add the second square the same way as you did the first as shown in photo #5.
  5. Press the seam toward the background color.
  6. Square up your blocks to 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

The down side of this method is there is a lot of waste. From 1 Flying Goose I had (4) 2” rectangles left over. Using this method for each T block would result in an 8″ square of wasted fabric.  Too much waste for me.


Method #3

(This is my absolute least favorite method.)

These directions will make 4 flying geese

~Background color – (4) 2 7/8″ squares | ~Goose color – (1) 5 1/4″ square

  1. Draw a diagonal line across the backs of all 4 background squares. (photo #2)
  2. Place 2 of the background squares on top of the  5 1/4″ “goose” square as shown in photo #3. Stitch 1/4″ away from both sides of the line.
  3. Cut the piece on the drawn line so you will now have two sections. Press the seams toward the background triangles (photo’s 4 & 5)
  4. Add the last 2 squares as shown in photo #6 & stitch 1/4″ away from both sides of the line. Cut apart on the line. (Photo’s 7 &8)
  5. Press the seam toward the background color.
  6. Square up your blocks to 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

The problem I have with this method can be plainly seem in the last photo. The tops do not line up and there is not enough to trim off. In fact it leaves less than a 1/4″ seam allowance. I have made this block a half a dozen times and each time I get the same result, and I don’t know why. The good news is there is no waste!


Method #4

 The final method is by far my favorite. It utilized the Elenor Burns’ method for making geese. There are a lot more steps to this method and there is a significant amount of waste as well, but when a quilt requires hundreds of Flying Geese this is by far the fastest and most efficient way of making them. You can purchase her flying geese ruler to square up these blocks, but you do not have to have it. I do recommend it though, it makes your cutting job a lot easier and faster. 

These directions will make 4 flying geese

~Background color – (1) 7″ square | ~Goose color – (1) 5 1/2″ square

1. With the right sides together, place the 5 1/2″ square on top of the 7″ square and align in the center. You should have 3/4″ of the “goose” color showing on all sides.

2. Draw a diagonal line across the center of the block and stitch 1/4″ away from both sides of the line. (Photo’s 3, 4 & 5)

3. Cut on the drawn line. (Photo #6)

4. Press the seam towards the background color. (Photo #1)

5. Lay the two pieces out as shown in photo #2 below and flip the one block on top of the other as shown in photo’s 3 & 4, making sure you match up the sides. Please note, the seams will not match up, it is suppose to be that way.

6. Draw a diagonal line through the center of the block and sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the line.

7. Cut the block on the drawn line and open it up. It will look like photo #2 below.

8. Press the seams toward the background color as shown in photo #3; make sure to snip the seam allowance in the center of the block as shown in the photo below

9. Trim up the block.


There you have it, 4 ways to make Flying Geese! I would love to hear your questions and comments on this, please feel free to comment below.

Happy Holidays!

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9 thoughts on “4 Ways to make Flying Geese

  1. kathyreeves says:

    I have used several of those. I know I had excellent success with #3 using instructions from a kit, I will pull those out and see if there’s a clue that makes them work, otherwise it was just dumb luck. I want to try your #4, I’ve seen that twice this month on blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isabella says:

      Method 4 works very well if you have a lot of geese to make. I am interested to know what you did to make #3 work Kathy. I have tried using the directions from several sites for this method and they fall short every time. #3 was also the most time consuming for me. I would love more of your input on this Kathy if you would like to share.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Allison Reid says:

    I like using the four at a time construction method as there is no waste. I get perfect results using the ‘Wing Clipper’ ruler by Deb Tucker – her measurements do allow for a little extra fabric so the Flying Geese can be trimmed down using the ruler.
    Thanks for sharing the ‘how to’ for all those methods.

    Liked by 1 person

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