How To Sew No-Waste Flying Geese


Flying Geese

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Did you know? The Flying Geese quilt block technique dates all the way back to the 1800s! 

Flying Geese blocks are used in SO many different patterns, new and old - including my Landmark Quilt Pattern

Landmark Luna And Laurel Quilt Block

They’re so versatile and can be used to make a traditional or modern looking quilt.

There is also more than one way to make a Flying Geese block, but my favourite is the No-Waste Method.

This is because my favourite way to make a quilt with blocks is to make some of the elements in whole and then begin piecing together the blocks after. I find this saves time and it personally makes me feel like I’m not going back a step. 

But that’s just me! I encourage you to look into the other methods (Traditional, Stitch and Flip, etc). Maybe there is one that suits your sewing style better! 

Landmark Mini_Quilt Scrappy Rainbow

I settled on the No-Waste Method for two main reasons: 

1) I don’t love all of the wasted fabric that comes from the traditional method. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not the best at making scrap quilts. So, I find it hard to use all of those little scraps of fabric.

2) The No-Waste Method makes four Flying Geese at one time! I decided that since some of my patterns involve a large amount of Flying Geese (like the Landmark Quilt), this method ends up being a huge timesaver

No-Waste Flying Geese Method

Before we get into the nitty gritty, below is a video with a quick overview of the No-Waste Flying Geese Method! Follow me on Pinterest for more how-to videos like this one!

Now, let’s walk through the No-Waste Flying Geese Method step-by-step! For these steps, I’m going to use a 3 x 6” Flying Geese block as an example.

Two Tone Landmark Quilt

First, you will need to cut (1) 7.5” x 7.5” square. This will be the large triangle in your Flying Geese.

Then, you will need (4) 4” x 4” squares. These will be the small triangles on the outer edges of the Flying Geese. 

Here’s a super helpful cutting chart you can use for other sizes! 

No Waste Flying Geese Chart

On the wrong side of your 4” squares, mark a diagonal line. I like to mark them all at one time so they’re ready to go.

You can use an erasable pen like the Bohin Chalk Pencil (Canadians click here), or a Hera Marker (Canadians click here).

A little trick I like to do is use my iron to crease/mark the fabric! This way, I have no fear of ink stains. I also find that sometimes a Hera Marker can stretch the fabric if you’re not careful! 

Using Iron To Crease

Once they’re marked, pin two 4” squares on opposite corners of your 7.5” square, right sides together (RST).

Sew a ¼” seam on each side of your marked line. You may actually prefer to use a scant ¼” seam allowance for better accuracy!

Quarter Inch Seam

Next, cut the square apart down your marked line, so that you end up with two pieces. 

Cutting Square On Marked Line

Press your seams out towards the small triangles. This will help your Flying Geese to lay flat. 

Pressing Seams Out

Now, place another 4” square in the corner of each unit RST.

Pin in place and again sew a ¼” seam down both sides of your marked line.  

Pin In Place

Sew Quarter Inch Seam Again

Cut apart on your marked line.

Cut On Marked Line

Press your seams out towards the small triangles, just as you did earlier.

Press Seams Out Again

And repeat! 

Finished Flying Geese

How To Trim Flying Geese

Flying Geese will often need to be trimmed!

I know that a lot of people like to skip this step - whether it’s because they find trimming annoying, it’s too much work or they’re just enthusiastically moving on to sewing their blocks together.

No matter what the reason might be, I strongly urge you to take the time to trim!

Accuracy matters and you will appreciate the fact that you trimmed in the end - your blocks will come together with a lot less fuss!

Something important to remember BEFORE your trim!

You will need to allow for a ¼” seam allowance past the tip of your triangle. 

You will lose the point of your triangle when you sew it together if you don’t do this!

Also, always remember when trimming to take equal amounts off all sides of your block to keep the triangle centred. 

Trimming Flying Geese

Flying Geese Rulers

Next up, I wanted to talk about rulers!

When I first started making the samples for the Landmark Quilt Pattern, I didn’t have any fancy rulers for trimming. I just used my basic 6.5” square ruler (Canadians click here) to trim all 448 Flying Geese!

Did it work? Yes, absolutely!

I simply used the ¼” markings to line up at the tip of the triangle, as well as the 45 degree line (lined up with the diagonal edge of the triangle) to make sure the ruler was in the right spot - and then trimmed!

Using Square Ruler

But! I decided to order two more rulers specifically made for Flying Geese to try out!

After trying them, they both definitely have some pros and cons!

First up, I tried the Flying Geese Bloc Loc Ruler Set (Canadians click here). These are very handy because there is a little groove that slips over the seam allowance. This “locks” the ruler in place and then you can trim around the outside!

They are very efficient and useful. Also, because each ruler is made for a specific size, there are no confusing measurements to mix up. You just place and go!

The con is that because each ruler is just one size, it’s not very versatile. You will need a different ruler for each different Flying Geese size.

Although this ruler works really well, it could get quite pricey when you need more than one size! 

Flying Geese Bloc Loc Ruler

The other ruler I tried was the Creative Grids Flying Geese Ruler (Canadians click here). When I first looked at it, it seemed overly confusing and I wasn’t sure if I would like it. It has trimming measures for eight different sizes of Flying Geese all on the same ruler.

But, I must say...I kept reaching for this one! Once I got the hang of how it worked, I found it to be super fast and efficient. This ruler comes with very thorough instructions on how to use it!

As a bonus, there are little grippy circles on the backside of the ruler, so it DOES NOT SLIDE! 

Creative Grids Flying Geese Ruler

If you don’t make Flying Geese very often, I’m not sure it would be worth it to add one of these rulers to your quilting toolbox.

But if you LOVE Flying Geese like me, I’d say go for it! I wish I had bought them sooner!

Landmark Golden Hour Quilt

Remember to stay patient while making your Flying Geese - practice really does make perfect! And don’t forget to have fun with it!

I’d love to know which Flying Geese method you tend to use the most and why? Let me know in the comments!  


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