Flying Geese are a common quilt block feature finding their way into many different block patterns. There are several ways to make flying geese, but my favorite is to make them oversized, then trim them to the correct size. In this flying geese tutorial I will be providing instructions on how to make the flying geese units, methods to trim the units and a cutting measurement chart for a wide variety of sizes.
Anatomy of a Flying Geese (Goose?) Unit
The flying geese unit is made up of three pieces. The center, which is usually referred to as the "sky" and the corner units, usually referred to as the "goose/geese". To make the oversized unit, we start with a rectangle (sky) and add two squares (geese) that are later trimmed at an angle and pressed open.
How to Make Oversize Flying Geese Units
Please refer to the chart at the bottom of the page for the exact measurements for cutting and trimming your flying geese.
Start by drawing a diagonal line on the wrong side of each square.
Place a square on one end of the rectangle with right sides together.
Pin in place and stitch on the diagonal line. Be sure all the cut edges are lined up perfectly. Press on the sewn line to set the seam.
Trim 1/4 inch from the seam line.
With right sides together, place a second square on the opposite end of the rectangle. Pin and stitch on the diagonal line. Press on the sewn line to set the seam. Trim 1/4 inch from the seam line.
Trimming the Flying Geese Units
Bloc Loc Flying Geese Ruler
My all-time favorite way to trim flying geese units is with the Bloc Loc Flying Geese Ruler. These come in various sizes and make trimming effortless and very accurate. The drawback is you need a different ruler for each size flying geese unit, which can be expensive. There are sets available with the most-used sizes, which is the most economical way to go. If you are going to be making a lot of flying geese units, these rulers are definitely worth the investment.
To trim with the Bloc Loc ruler you place the ruler on the front of the flying geese unit so the grooves on the bottom of the ruler fit over the seam allowances.
Using your rotary cutter, trim around the ruler.
Your trimmed unit will look like this.
Trimming with a Regular Ruler
If you don't have a specialty ruler for flying geese, you can trim with any ruler that has 1/4 inch markings as long as its larger than your flying geese unit.
To trim your flying geese unit with a regular ruler you need to know the unfinished size of your unit. The unfinished size will be your finished size, plus 1/2 inch added to each measurement. In my example below, my finished flying geese unit is 2" x 4", so my unfinished size is 2½" x 4½".
Once you know your unfinished size you need to find your midpoint. The midpoint is half the length of the unit. In my example, my unit length is 4½", so my midpoint is 2¼".
Place the ruler over the flying geese unit so the midpoint measurement lines up with the point of the triangle units and so the top of the ruler is 1/4" from the top of the point.
With your rotary cutter, trim along the right side and top of the ruler. You will have a half-trimmed unit as shown below.
Turn the unit around 180 degrees and place the ruler on top of the unit, once again aligning the midpoint measurement with the center of the unit. Align the bottom edge of the unit with the unfinished height of the unit (in my example, that is 2½") and trim along the right side and top of the ruler.
Your flying geese unit is trimmed!
Cutting Chart for Oversized Flying Geese Units
I hope you have found this flying geese tutorial helpful!