Flying Geese 101: A Beginner's Guide to Mastering the Classic Quilt Block
The Flying Geese block is one of my favorite blocks to teach beginners because once they make one you can see their quilting confidence grow! This block might look complicated but this beginner friendly version will have you smiling ear to ear once it's completed.
First a little bit about the block, the triangle shapes that make up the block resemble a flock of flying geese when multiple blocks are placed together in a quilt. The rectangular block is made up of one large triangle (the "goose") and two smaller triangles (the "sky") on either side.
There are a few different methods for making flying geese, including a no waste 4 at a time method (I will have a post on that soon), but the method posted below is one of the easiest methods for achieving accurate blocks for beginners.
As a note, if you are making flying geese for a sewing pattern make sure you follow the method that the pattern uses or read through the pattern to understand the purpose of their method before choosing to use a different one. This is important because, for example in the below tutorial you will be left with 2 half square triangles per flying geese block. This could be seen as waste so you might think, oh I should use the zero waste 4 at a time flying geese method instead, but the pattern designer may be intending for you to use those scrap pieces to make HSTs that will be used in the pattern. So always read through your patterns before choosing a different method than the pattern specifies. It the pattern does not specify a method and just says "make 6 flying geese blocks," you can safely assume you can use any method you want.
Ok on to the tutorial!
Tools you will need:
- Sewing machine
- Sewing Machine Needle 80/12
- Thread (I like Aurifil 50 weight, available here)
- Rotary cutter and cutting mat
- Quilting ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- 2 pieces of background fabric cut to 2.5" x 2.5"
- 1 piece of contrasting fabric cut to 2.5" x 4.5"
I used fabrics from the stunning Rifle Paper Co Bramble collection, available in my shop here.
Tutorial for a 2.5" x 4.5" Flying Geese Block:
1. Begin by carefully cutting the fabric pieces to the correct size. Cut two pieces of background fabric to 2.5" x 2.5" and one piece of contrasting fabric to 2.5" x 4.5"
2. Place your contrasting fabric (the rectangle) right side up on your work surface.
3. Place one of your background pieces (the squares) on top of the contrasting fabric with right sides facing, align the edges along one side.
4. Draw a diagonal line from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner of the contrasting rectangle piece of fabric.
5. Sew a straight stitch along the drawn line using a 2 mm - 2.5mm stitch length depending on your preference. I like to use a 2.5mm stitch length because this block isn't too complex and it makes it easier to seam rip it out if I make a mistake.
6. Trim the excess fabric 1/4" away from the sewn line
7. To avoid fabric waste I like to sew the trimmed triangle with a 1/4 inch seam allowance into 1.5" Half Square Triangles (HSTs) for future use.
Press the seam towards the contrasting rectangle fabric.
8. Place the piece you have already sewn together right side facing up on your table.
9. Place the second background fabric square right side down on the other end of the contrasting fabric (with right sides facing) and align the edges.
10. Draw a diagonal line from the upper inner corner to the bottom outer corner of the top square.
11. Sew a straight stitch along the drawn line
12. Trim the excess fabric 1/4" away from the sewn line
13. Press the seam towards the background (square) fabric.
Your flying geese unit is now complete and should measure 2.5" x 4.5"
Let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to do video tutorials :)
I would love to see your quilts with flying geese, tag me @ThreadtheNeedleFabrics on Tiktok, IG and Pinterest.