Precision Quilt Piecing Part 4: Flying Geese

Heads up! This article is part of a series on precision quilt piecing techniques. Make sure to read the previous installment of this series here.

The method for piecing flying geese that is the most efficient as well as accurate begins with five squares. One large square and four small squares will give you four flying geese units. The fabric for the large square will be the center triangle of the flying geese units and the fabric for the four smaller squares will be the corners of the units. Using this method there is no time or effort wasted cutting and sewing individual units, and no bias to be concerned about. Follow along as I take you through the precision technique basics of piecing flying geese.

Crunching the Numbers

flying geese 1 - quilt piecing To determine the size of the squares, you will first need to know the finished size of the flying geese unit you wish to make. The large square is cut 1½” larger than the finished outside edge of the center triangle of the unit. If the finished flying geese unit is to measure 2” x 4”, you would cut the large square 5½” (4 + 1½ = 5½).

flying geese 2 graphic - quilt piecing The smaller squares are cut 1” larger than the outside edge of the corner triangle of the unit. For a 2” x 4” unit, you would cut the smaller squares 3” (2 + 1 = 3).

Piecing it Together

flying geese 3 - quilt piecing Step 1: The first step is to draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each smaller square.

flying geese 4 - quilt piecing Step 2: Pin two smaller squares to opposite corners of the large square, right sides together and with the diagonal lines running toward the center. They will overlap in the center.

flying geese 5 - quilt piecing Step 3: Stitch a scant ¼” on both sides of the diagonal line.

flying geese 6 - quilt piecing Step 4: Cut along the diagonal line and you will have two triangle units with small triangles on each corner.

flying geese 7 - quilt piecing Step 5: Carefully press toward the small triangles and away from the larger triangle.

flying geese 8 - quilt piecing Step 6: Pin each of the two remaining squares to the free corner of each large triangle unit, making sure the drawn line is running toward the center.

flying geese 9 - quilt piecing Step 7: Stitch a scant ¼” along both sides of each drawn line then cut along the drawn line.

flying geese 10 - quilt piecing Step 8: Press toward the small triangle and away from the large triangle. You now have four flying geese ready to be trimmed to size.

flying geese 11 - quilt piecing Step 9: To trim, align the Precision Trimmer 6 ruler over the flying geese unit matching the cross hatches with the peak of the flying geese unit and matching the diagonal lines of the ruler with the diagonal piecing lines of the flying geese unit. Trim two sides.

flying geese 12 - quilt piecing Step 10: Turn the unit and re-align the ruler with the cross hatches and diagonal line with the peak and diagonal line of the flying geese unit. Check to make sure the outside edges match up to the desired size of the flying geese unit. Trim the other two sides. Repeat this process for all four flying geese units and you have got yourself a complete flock!

See you next time when we will discuss square in a square units in the next installment of this series.

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27 Responses to “Precision Quilt Piecing Part 4: Flying Geese”

  1. Susan R Marvin

    Thank you for showing an easier way for these blocks. I am 82 and just started quilting a few months ago, so I need to learn everything fast. Appreciate all the tutorials online and being able to glean from others knowledge.

  2. Kris

    I would also appreciate sharing how to square up these units WITHOUT using a specialty ruler.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Kris,

      Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

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  3. Dayna

    Is there a way to save the articles to a special folder so that I can access them easily?

    • Customer Service

      Hello Dayna,

      Unfortunately we do not have a way to save articles in special folders at this time. You can create a playlist for videos. After you log into your account and are on your Account Dashboard click on the Playlist icon.


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  4. Jan

    Making geese as individual units is so hard. They stretch when pressed, and easily get out of shape. I’m trying this method! Thank you.

  5. Nancy

    oh how I had seen this sooner, I would not be ripping out all my flying geese. I really have trouble with 1\4 ” seams

  6. reina

    I was reading about Series Precision Quilt Piecing Part 1 to 3. The series is easy to understand and I simply love it. I wonder what do I have to do, in order to obtain the whole series. I would like to practice. I am learning patchwork.

  7. Sharon T

    Open article in Safari browser. Tap box of lines in left corner of address bar. Ads will disappear in this Reader view. To save, mail it to yourself.

  8. Marilyn

    I agree with Rina. Very hard to read around ads. Too many ads on page!! Thanks for discussion tho. I had been looking to find out how to make flying geese in different sizes.

  9. Rina

    I love your educational projects page but because of all the ads they are hard to read. I really get tired of trying to read around advertisements on both sides of the page.

    • National Quilters Circle

      Hi Rina. We would like to let you know your comment has been forwarded to the proper department. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of our online video streaming community.

    • Jan

      Up in your browser bar, do you see 4 horizontal lines next to the “”? Press that. It’s called “reader view” or something. It removes all ads. Reads like a book. : )