Flying Geese Quilting Made Easy



Hi. It’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

One of the things people always want to know is how can they quickly make flying geese. Flying geese are used in so many quilt patterns, and they’re beautiful, but they are a little labor intensive, so, this year, at market, I looked up Eleanor Burns. She wasn’t hard to find, always in her feathered boa. You know, she’s just adorable. Anyway, she has a great flying geese ruler. We talked to her about doing a tutorial, so here we are. She’s got several sizes. They’re made by Quilt in a Day, and each ruler contains the finished product of two different flying geese, two different sizes for flying geese.

So what we’re going to do is — for this size flying geese I’m going to show you, see, it has a three-by-six inch flying goose and a one-and-a-half-by-three both on one ruler, so that’s really fun. But to make these, you’ll get four out of them so you’re going to cut two different sizes of fabric, and it will give you the dimensions in the directions. For this one, it’s like nine and seven-and-a-half. You’re going to center that up on your cloth and just eyeball it, you know, so that it’s centered up. It gives you a bit of wiggle room.

We’re going to pin this down. Grab a couple of pins here. And then you can see I’ve drawn a line corner to corner, and so what we’re going to do with that is we’re going to sew a quarter inch on this side and a quarter inch on that side, so let’s head on over to the sewing machine.

So we’re going to lay our foot a quarter of an inch from the edge, and we’re going to sew straight down. We’re going to let our presser foot be the guide on the line. We’re going to get down here to the bottom, and we’re going to whip this around — get our threads unstuck. There we go — and then we’re going to sew quarter of an inch down the other side. This is really the easiest way I’ve found to do these. They just work together so quick, and you get four of them.

All right. So we’ve got that sewn. Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to go ahead and trim on this line. You can do this with a rotary cutter or a scissor. I really like these scissors.

Okay. So then we’re going to take these pins out, and we’re going to go over, and we’re going to iron this open. So we’ll go ahead and set this — whoops — and iron it open, and then we’re going to put these together, and we’re going to put opposite sides on opposite sides, and, this time, we’re going to line up the edges like this.

We’re going to go ahead and put some needles in here or pins. I’m sorry. Then what we’re going to do is we’re going to draw another line on the diagonal. Let me get my marker here. I might have to take these pins out to lay my ruler on there nice and flat. We’re going to draw a line diagonally, and I’ll just draw one this way and sketch it out this way — these are those great pens I love — and then we’re going to go ahead and sew on either side of this, so over to the sewing machine.

What I like about this, too, is that you’re never handling little tiny squares of fabric. It’s always a nice, good-sized piece, and you don’t ever feel clumsy about it. You know, it’s just — it just fits. It just works really well.
All right. So now we’re going to bring this over here, again, pull my pins out, and we’re going to trim this right here — you can use your rotary cutter or your scissor — and we’re going to press it open. So this is what you have when you finish that cut, and you’ll notice it gives you plenty of wiggle room, not very much waste, so then you’re going to set this here.

Now, you see these green lines that are on the ruler. You’re going to line these up with your geese, and, see, it fits perfectly in there, I mean, just absolutely perfectly in there. So I’m going to hold that down, and I’m just going to trim off this edge, turn my ruler, make sure my lines are still lined up perfectly, trim across the top here, turn it one more time. Again, I’m going to line up. Better safe than sorry. Trim this. It always gives you that perfect quarter of an inch to sew with. Oh, that piece is gone, anyway. There we go. And look what you’ve got.

And so then you’ve got, you know, your cuttings for three more. So let’s go ahead and trim this one up. This is just so quick with the flying geese. I really love this Quilt in a Day flying geese ruler. And flying geese are so versatile. You can use them in so many things. These easily can become your star points for a star. Let me go ahead and pull that off of there. I want to make sure we’ve got it lined up. One more time around. There we go.

Now, I want you to notice on here what a nice quarter of an inch seam you have. When you stitch together, you know, if you’re stitching them straight up and down, that is going to just give you perfect points on these flying geese. And you still have two more to cut, so out of that one, you know, double square thing, we are able to get four perfect flying geese.

So I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on easy flying geese from Eleanor Burns and me, Jenny, at the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

posted: Common Quilting Techniques, Intermediate Quilting Tutorials, Tips and Tricks, Trimming | tagged: , , ,
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  • Sue Ann

    I bought these rulers years ago when taking a class, then took a vacation from quilting. Now that I’m back, I couldn’t remember how to use them, thanks for the tutorial, I’ll be making plenty of flying geese in the near future!

    • Sarah MSQC

      I love flying geese! So glad that you are back to the ‘sport’! It’s such a fun hobby!! Have a great day!

  • Gwen

    I have one of these and haven’t used it yet, now I know how to … thanks for the great tutorials!

  • Stephanie Publicker

    You mention that you cut the pieces a bit bigger than required to get a better size. How much bigger? I noticed that when I cut pieces to the exact size they end up usually smaller than desired.

  • Barbara

    I absolutely love your tutorials. Very helpful! 😉

  • Dee

    Is there very much material waste after using the ruler?

  • Marianne dal

    Hello Like the tutorials very much, but it would be usefull to know how much material I have to use on the different quilts.

  • Dawn

    I love your tutorials! I found this really cool video on the McCalls website that shows you how to make flying geese without any waste. Check it out.

  • Pam Wyatt Kasperitis

    you could use the tube quilt method and only use 2 colors instead of three and get the same effect right?

    • BeckyMSQC

      Hello Pam, Which tube quilting tutorial are you referring to? I am sure I can help you figure out a way to make those work.