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Flying Geese Quilt Block

Oh the flying geese quilt block, it is so popular that you can’t get away with not making it in your quilting journey. Everyone has their favorite method and their favorite trim-up ruler. I’ll be honest with you, flying geese are almost as bad as y-seams in my world. I would do two half-square triangles instead of flying geese because I had never stumbled on the right combination. That was until I was shown how to trim flying geese quilt blocks WITHOUT a special ruler.

There’s no need to break out the special ruler to trim those pesky flying geese quilt blocks. With this quick and easy method, you can have them trimmed in no time – regardless of which technique you use! So don’t be a goose, give this trick a try.

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Trimming Flying Geese Quilt Blocks Without a Special Ruler
I film the demos of the block of the month at my LQS. The lady who does the demos was telling us about this method for trimming flying geese that she had figured out. I groaned because I knew that meant that I was going to have to make flying geese that month. One of the other ladies in the classroom told me, “Oh that’s me with half-square triangles. It’s not me it’s them. They just don’t like me. Flying geese must not like you.” I think flying geese and I are on speaking terms now.

I finally tried the method for myself when I was designing my Spools and Stars table runner. Like I said earlier I normally will just use HSTs instead of flying geese but the stars are so small I couldn’t do that. The pieces were going to be so small and there were going to be too many seams. I had to use flying geese if I wanted the block to look good. With a bit of a modification of the method, it actually worked for me. Maybe flying geese aren’t so bad after all.

Supplies For Trimming Flying Geese Quilt Blocks Without a Special Ruler
You need a ruler big enough to cover your flying geese that has a 45-degree angle on it. Any ruler as long as it fits those two requirements will work. The other thing you need is Glow Line Tape. That’s it!

Sewing Flying Geese Quilt Blocks
You can use any method for making flying geese that you want. As I said before I’ve always struggled with this quilt block. One of the wings is always wonky and I have yet to find any methods that oversize the block enough to trim and keep all your points.

I am going to work on the math, I need to figure out the formula, so I can share the method I used in my stars. Right now though I only have the size I used and I don’t know if the math will work on other sizes or not.

Setting Up Your Ruler for Trimming Flying Geese Quilt Blocks
The Glow Line tape comes in packs of three colors. You will need two of the three colors.

1. With your glow line tape outline the size your flying geese quilt blocks should be.  In the pictures         below I'm using 2 x 3 1/2. 

Outline flying geese size with glow line tape

2. With another piece of the same color of glow line tape mark the 45-degree line.

Put glow line tape on the 45-degree line

3. You will need another color of tape for the next two steps.  Glow line tape is 1/4" wide so where         your 45 degree line is put a piece of the new color parallel to your outline tape as shown below.  This      is where the tip of your flying geese will live.

4. With another piece of glow line tape the same color as used in step 3, place another piece 1/4" from     the opposite side as the one you placed in step 3.  This piece will save your tip when you rotate your     block to trim the other side.

That’s all you need to do, now it’s time to trim some flying geese quilt blocks.

Trimming Flying Geese Quilt Blocks Without A Special Ruler
So I’ve done a little demo video for you so you can see how I trim them up. I want you to keep a few things in mind when you do this method. First, that intersection you made in step 3 that little spot where the two pieces of tape cross is where your tip lives for the first cut. When you rotate your block to trim the other two sides your tip needs to line up with the TOP edge of the tape.

It really is that easy and I’m now a little more optimistic about including flying geese units in my patterns without using my ghost sewist Paul.

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There are a few different ways to make flying geese quilt blocks, but no matter which method you use, the trimming process can be tricky. Not anymore! With this helpful quilting tip, you’ll be able to trim your flying geese blocks like a pro.

The flying geese quilt block is one of those blocks every quilter should have in their back pocket. You can make an entire quilt from this single block or it can be incorporated into other quilt blocks. There are three main ways to make the flying geese quilt block a) three triangles, b) flippy corners, and c) two at a time. Today, we will focus on the flippy corner method since it is the most common method seen right now.
This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing items from the links cost you nothing more and adds a few pennies to the fabric budget.

We aren’t covering the math for making flying geese quilt blocks any size you need or want in this post. This is all about how to get the picture-perfect flying geese quilt block when using the flippy corner method. For those who are not familiar with that method, it is when you use a rectangle and two squares to make the quilt block.

Flying Geese Quilt Block
There are three things that happen when making the quilt block that causes it to fail. One is not sewing the squares on right, two is not trimming the block correctly, and third is not sewing the finished flying geese into the quilt correctly. The reasons this happens are pretty simple, either never been shown how to do it right or from pattern designers who make assumptions.

I will be the first to admit that I am one of those designers who made assumptions. I assumed that quilters already knew what I actually wanted them to do because they had done it before but not everyone who stumbles upon this blog is a seasoned quilter. It’s my job to explain what I want to be done well either in the pattern itself or by providing additional teaching here on the blog. I have even put together pages for information about basic quilting.

Ready to make the perfect flying geese quilt block? Let’s do it!! There’s a video at the end of the post that shows everything I’ve written.

Sewing Flying Geese Quilt Block
Your pattern will tell you what size of rectangle and squares you need. It will also tell you that need to draw a diagonal line on the back of the squares and then sew on the line. This is the mistake. You don’t really want to sew on the line, you want to fold the fabric back on the line.

The thread takes up space in your seam when you sew. Depending on the thickness of your thread depends on how far away you need to sew away from the line you really need to sew. This might take a few tests to get it perfect. I use Aurifil 50 weight thread and I need to sew next to the line, if you use a 30 weight thread you’ll need to move over a bit more.

Trimming Flying Geese Quilt Block
Once you have sewn your flying geese quilt block it’s always a good idea to make sure it is still the right size. If it isn’t you’ll need to trim it. They do make specialty rulers for trimming them but I have a little too much Alton Brown in me and I don’t like uni-taskers. I use a regular ruler to trim my blocks and if you do too there is one area that you must keep your eye on and that’s the tip of the triangle.

When you trim the block make sure that there is 1/4″ from the tip of the triangle to the edge of the fabric. If you don’t have that your top tip will get lost in the seam allowance.

Sewing Flying Geese Quilt Block
When I sew a flying geese block into a block I always put the flying geese on the top so I can see the X the stitching makes. That X is where the tip is and if I sew right beside that X I won’t cut off the tip in the seam.

Tips in Video

That’s it! Following these simple tips will help you get those flying geese perfect.

The flying geese quilt block is one of those blocks that can stand on its own or be used in the creation of other quilt blocks. It isn’t as hard to make as many think. I use the flippy corner method which keeps the bias stretch possibilities down. We do waste a bit of fabric this way but in my opinion, that little bit of fabric is nothing compared to what could be wasted if a bunch of pieces got stretched out. So let’s jump into the flying geese quilt block.

flying geese block

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Flying Geese Quilt Block

I never liked making flying geese because my mom taught me how to make them from three triangles. That was four bias edges that could get stretched all out of whack and it seemed they did every time I attempted to make one. Shortly after I got back into quilting I was making a pencil block. The tip of the pencil used the flippy corner method. After I got it put together the light bulb went off. I had made a flying geese block but hadn’t touched a bias edge. My pencil wasn’t wonky either. Suddenly flying geese weren’t so scary.

The reason we are doing the flying geese block is that next week we are going to be making a quilt block that is made up of half-square triangle blocks and flying geese. We’ve done half square triangle in the Pinwheel Quilt Block so we needed to know how to make the flying geese.

Flying Geese Quilt Block Tutorial

Now if that little bit of waste does bother you I have a solution for you. Draw another line 1/2″ from the first line on the outside of the block and sew on it as well. When you cut your block 1/4″ from the first line you’ll end up with the edge of your flying geese unit and a half square triangle. You can save those for a border, another project, or the back of a project. Another hint I have for you is don’t sew directly on the line, sew a thread’s width to the outside of the line. That will give you a little room when you press open. The thread does take up room and for some, they can see that discrepancy others will never notice it. You just do you!

flying geese quilt block

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