No Waste Flying Geese Tutorial

This is a great technique when you need at least 4 flying geese just alike. It’s quick, easy and efficient!

I recently used this method for a memory t-shirt quilt, and it worked out perfectly – I chain pieced a bunch of geese and got them done quickly.

Cut your fabrics using the following table – note that the larger square ends up being the actual pointy part, or “goose” and the small squares end up being the background. Measurements are in inches.

Finished Size of Flying Geese UnitUnfinished Size of Flying Geese UnitLarge Square cut size – 1 per setSmall Squares cut size – 4 per set
1/2 x 11 x 1/22 1/2”1 1/2”
1 x 21 1/2 x 2 1/23 1/2”2”
1 1/2 x 32 x 3 1/24 1/2”2 1/2”
2 x 42 1/2 x 4 1/25 1/2”3”
2 1/2 x 53 x 5 1/26 1/2”3 1/2”
3 x 63 1/2 x 6 1/27 1/2”4”
3 1/2 x 74 x 7 1/28 1/2”4 1/2”
4 x 84 1/2 x 8 1/29 1/2”5”
5 x 105 1/2 x 10 1/211 1/2”6”

In my example, the light blue fabric will be the geese and the dark blue the background. See Photo 1. I am making 2 x 4 finished (2 1/2” x 4 1/2” unfinished) flying geese units in the photos.

Light blue will be “geese” and dark blue will be background.

Place two of the small squares on opposite corners of the large square – note that the small squares will overlap in the center. Using a ruler, draw a diagonal line all the way across both small squares. You can pin at this point if you like (Photo 2).

Note small squares will overlap in the middle.

Sew a 1/4” seam on both sides of the line you drew (Photo 3). Then cut directly on that same line (Photo 4). This give you two units.

1/4″ seam on both sides of the line.
Cut apart on the line between the seams.

Press the small squares away from the large square (Photo 5). You end up with two units that kinda resemble a fox face with pointy ears.

Press ears away.

One unit at a time, place another small square on the corner opposite the “ears”. Draw another diagonal line from between the “ears” to the corner (Photo 6). Again, sew a 1/4 seam on both sides of the drawn line (Photo 7). And again, cut directly on that same line (Photo 8).

Center next small square and draw diagonal line.
Sew 1/4″ on both sides of the line.
Cut apart on the line, between the seams.

Press the ears away from the large square (Photo 9) You will end up with four geese units – that now need trimming.

2 flying geese units before trimming.

Look closely at Photo 10 – when you trim these geese, you want the point to end up centered, and at least a 1/4” of fabric above the point so you won’t cut it off when you sew it into your quilt. In my example, I have a 2 1/2” x 4 1/2” unfinished unit – the following measurements are for that size unit.

Lay the unit on your cutting mat with the point facing down. Using a ruler, line up the 45 degree line along the seam between the goose and the background. Then slide the ruler along until the 2 1/4” mark is right on the point of the goose. The red arrows in the photos are pointing to these measurements. Note that for my example, 2 1/4” is half, and therefore the center, of my unit. This keeps the point centered when you trim

Ruler positioned for trimming first two sides.

If you are making another size unit:
The 45 degree line placement will be the same for any size unit, but the center mark will be different, and is simply half the width of the unit. So with a 3 1/2” x 6 1/2” unfinished unit, your center would be 3 1/4” (because that is half of your 6 1/2” wide unit) and you would line up the 45 degree line and the 3 1/4” mark.

Next, trim the right side and top of the unit (Photo 11).

Trim right side and top of unit.

Look closely at Photo 12 – Turn the unit around so the point is now up. Note the red arrows and the measurements. You can see where the edges of the unit are at the 2 1/2” x 4 1/2” lines, and the point is at the 2 1/4” mark. Note there is a 1/4” seam allowance above the point. Again, trim the right and top edges of the unit.

Ruler positioning and second trim on remaining two sides.

If you are making another size unit:
Line up the edges of the ruler at your measurements, making sure to line up the center measurement as well. Then trim as above.

Photo 13 shows the unit after trimming to 2 1/2” x 4 1/2”, and Photo 14 shows all four identical flying geese units – yay!

Please email me with questions, I’m happy to help!

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