Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The NO PIN, NO MARK, Easy Flying Geese Tutorial

Okay, I don't know about you, but I love surfing the web looking for tips and tricks that help me save time while sewing.  So,when I came across this video that explains how to make half-square triangles or HST's without marking, I was like, "Where has this been all my life?!"  Such a simple concept, but I had never seen this little trick before. 
Well, I have been working on a pinwheel quilt for my future niece using flying geese.  I thought, "Hey, why not apply the same principle as I did with the HST's on these flying geese?"  So, let me show you how to make flying geese WITHOUT PINNING AND MARKING your fabric!!
First of all, you are going to want to cut your rectangles and squares.
The height of the rectangles and squares should be the same.  In this case they are all 3"tall.  So, my squares are 3" x 3" and since I will be putting two of them side by side, they measure 6 inches across.  Make sure your rectangle's length is cut 1/2" shorter than the length of the two squares!  My rectangle's length is 5 1/2".
Now line up one square's edge with the shorter edge of the rectangle, right sides together.  It really doesn't matter if you start with the left or right side.  I don't know why, but I typically start on the left side :)
Head over to your sewing machine with your fabric and take a second to do something that will save you a lot of time and trouble . . . cut a bright colored piece of fabric, ribbon, or frog tape to about 1/2" by 5". I didn't have frog tape, so I used ribbon.  Get some tape and secure it so that it lines up with where your needle will be stitching.
I typically like to stitch using a regular presser foot, so that the needle is 1/4" to the left of my foot edge.  Then all I have to do is line up the fabric with the right edge of my foot and I have a perfect 1/4" seem.  With this project, though, you need to be able to see your needle, so depending on your machine's foot, you might need to use a different needle orientation.  I changed mine to the far left side, but you do whatever makes it easy for you to be able to see the needle and the stitches as you sew.
Now that you have this little guide, you will want to line up the corner of your fabric where you will start your stitch with the needle.  Line up the bottom corner, where you want your stitch to end, with the edge of the ribbon/fabric/tape, like so.

 Start stitching slowly.  It will be tempting to kick out these little babies quick, but since you are sewing on the bias, the fabric will be stretchy and can shift if you don't take your time.  As you sew, keep the BOTTOM corner lined up with the ribbon/fabric/tape until you have finished. 

Before you do anymore piecing, you will need to check the accuracy of your stitch.  The first time I did mine, I found my ribbon was placed a little off (I had to eyeball it since my ruler guide at the bottom of my sewing table does not line up at all with my needle positions). 

Oops!  A little off!
After some adjustment . . .
Much better! (Sorry about the glare in the picture)

I like to chain piece all of my geese, so if you do too, proceed to piece one square onto all of your rectangles, feeding them into the machine one right after another!  Make sure NOT to piece the second square at this point, that comes later.

Now, you will want to press and trim your seems.

Now, we are ready to piece that second square onto our rectangle.  Make sure that the seem that you just pressed is flipped up or you will need to unpick this second square and start again.  Believe me,  I have done this before and it's not fun to waste time and thread.
 Stitch like before lining up the corner that you will start stitching on with the needle and making sure the bottom corner is lined up with the edge of your fabric/ribbon/tape.
Then press and trim this seem.

TA DA!  You have a perfect flying goose!
Now you can take all those gorgeous, perfect flying geese you have pieced and put them together to create a million different quilt blocks.  Here's mine made with flying geese and half flying geese (only 1 square pieced to the rectangle).
 Was this helpful?  What will you use your flying geese for?  Please leave comments below!

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