Friday, June 13, 2014

The No-Waste Flying Geese Method

love making flying geese when quilting, so it's no surprise that both of my patterns (Starry Eyed and Blustery Day) use them.  But one of my biggest frustrations with flying geese is that they waste so much fabric.   In looking for a solution to this problem, I came across the no-waste method to making flying geese.  *The no-waste method only works for flying geese with corners that have the same fabric. 

Before I start into my tutorial, though, I'd like to talk about measurements and the AMAZING way this method conserves your fabric stash.

Using the traditional method for making flying geese, if you would like a flying geese block that finishes at 2" x 4" you would cut a rectangle 2.5" x 4.5" of one fabric and two 2.5" x 2.5" squares in a contrasting color. Say you are using a fat quarter for the "center" and a neutral cut from yardage for the "corners" of the flying geese. The pattern you are using calls for 12 flying geese per block and the pattern has 9 blocks. You would be using 7.5" x 18" of each of your fat quarters for the center of the flying geese and 35" x WOF of the neutral for the corners. 

When you use the no-waste method for making flying geese, you would be using 5.25" x 15.75" of the fat quarters and 23" x WOF of the neutral fabric. It may not sound like a huge difference, but it adds up!  And it is way faster than the traditional method. Let me show you how it works. 

The first thing you need to do is cut your fabric. You want to cut a square for the centers 1.25" bigger than the finished width of your flying geese. For example, if you want your flying geese to finish at 2" x 4", you would cut a 5.25" x 5.25" square.  Out of the fabric you are using for the corners, you will cut 4 squares 7/8" bigger than the finished height of the flying geese. So, using the above example, you would cut 4 squares 2 7/8" x 2 7/8". 

Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other on the 4 smaller squares on the wrong side of the fabric. 

Place two small squares on the bigger square with right sides together like so . . . 

You will be sewing 1/4" to either side of the line drawn on the fabric. Make sure the line matches up where the two small squares meet up.  I pinned mine just to be safe. 

Now, cut along the diagonal line you drew. 


Press the stitches to set them and them press the seams open. I like pressing my fabric towards the center fabric with flying geese, but to each their own!

Place the remaining small squares in the existing corner of the large square.

You will again be sewing 1/4" seam on each side of the diagonal line. I also pin here to keep my squares from shifting.

Cut along the diagonal lines and then set and press the seams open. 

You now have 4 flying geese!

This method seriously saved me soooo much time!  It took me about 15 minutes to make 12 flying geese from cut to finish. Usually, it would have taken me 30-45ish minutes to finish them.  Maybe longer ( I am a self proclaimed S L O W quilter).
Hopefully this will help you save time and fabric in the future.  Happy sewing!


  1. Thanks for sharing this method of sewing flying geese blocks. I'm excited that I will be able save time and fabric.