01 02 03 Fabric of My Life: Flying Geese adventures - a tutorial! 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Flying Geese adventures - a tutorial!

Hi everyone,
can't you just smell that spring is in the air? :) I can hear birds singing now in the early mornings and look what just popped in my front yard:

Saturday was a beautiful day here in western NY and after teaching a great Beginners Quilting class in the morning, a long walk with our two dogs was in order! They loved all of about 4 miles of it, all over the neighborhood and so did we:

They look like they are snuggling here, don't they? Ha, ha! But it was just smelling, smelling....all new stinky stuff that showed up after snow is gone... :)

So, as we are having fun on this newest Blog Hop (if you missed the start yesterday - check out the link and go hopping, but don't forget to check out my previous post (Friday) and leave the comment for a chance to win!) - lets celebrate spring, sewing and learning something new with a new tutorial!!
Would you believe me if I tell you that this wall hanging above is made almost ENTIRELY of just Flying Geese units? IT IS! Now it is not your grandma's Flying Geese block...it is a fabulous, one-seam, 3-D Flying Geese! (now that is a mouthful) So, even though you see all these curved edges and some seemingly complicated looking blocks, this small wall hanging (or a table topper) is made with all straight seams and few little tricks!
Here is fabric yardage needed for this project - it will finish 24" x 24" as shown here:

 Focus fabric (print) ½ yard
Accent color #1(pink) – 1/3 yard (plus another 1/3 yard for binding, if desired)
 Accent color # 2 (green) – ½ yard
 Background fabric (white) – ½ yard

Lets first cut all the pieces so that we can just sew, sew sew after...

note: the number of strips indicated (in brackets) is based on full width of fabric

1. From Focus fabric (print) you will need to cut:
                          - 41 (forty one) - 3 1/2” square (you will need 4—3 1/2” wide strips)

2. From Background fabric (white) you will need to cut:
                          - 24 (twenty four) - 3 1/2” squares  (you will need 2 -  3 1/2” wide strips)
                          - 2 (two) - 3 7/8” squares (cut them ONCE diagonally to get 4 triangles)

3. From Accent #1 (pink) you will need to cut:
- 10 (ten) - 3 1/2” x 6 1/2” rectangles (cut ONE  6 1/2” wide strip)
- 4 (four) - 3 1/2” squares
- 6 (six) - 3 7/8” squares (you can cut ONE  3 7/8” wide strip, cut 6 squares and use leftover for         3 1/2” squares)

4. From Accent #2 (green) you will need to cut:
- 16 (sixteen) - 3 1/2” x 6 1/2” rectangles (you will need 2 (two) 6 1/2” strips)
- 4 (four) - 3 1/2” squares
- 4 (four) - 3 7/8” squares

This whole project is based on 3-D, one-seam Flying Geese block that I initially learned from Ricky Tims' video so you can watch it there too if you like. The sizes of squares and rectangles are different in our project, but in order for you to be able to use this technique in ANY size you like it is good to know this: 
-for each FG block you will need 1 rectangle (geese color) and 2 squares (background color). 
-the sizes of both, rectangle and squares are exactly the SAME as in classic sew-and-flip method of making FG, so: rectangle is always the unfinished size of the FG block (if finished size is 2"x4", unfinished size is 2 1/2" x 4 1/2", for example) and the squares always match the height of the FG block (so for the above example of 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" - squares are 2 1/2"). Hope this makes sense? If not, let me know in comments! :)
Here is a photo tutorial for making the 3D Flying Geese block:


Start with folding the rectangle in half, wrong sides together. Here you see a bunch of my green rectangles folded - do not press the crease with iron, just fold and finger-press so they stay folded.

Take one background square and place it RIGHT side up. Position your folded , rectangle on top of the square so that fold is on the top side and all raw edges are aligned. Fold of the rectangle will NOT match the top side of the square (it is ~ ¼” bellow) and that is how it should be.
NOTE - the photo is taken sideways, to show the fold better!


Place another background square,  RIGHT side down, on top of that (all raw edges aligned) – that is your “sandwich”.
 Position the "sandwich" so that fold is on top (facing your machine needle and foot) and stitch one, 1/4" seam.

Folded rectangle is inside, fold is towards the TOP of the square.

When you flip up the top square (after sewing the seam), this is how it should look like (fold is on the top).
Press or finger-press this seam.

To form a Flying Geese out of what you just sewn, take the top part of the folded rectangle (see photo)...

...and bring it over to the right, until the raw edge of now opened rectangle meets the raw edges of the two squares ...

...so that your 3D Flying Geese looks like this!
Note that the top point of the triangle is just about 1/4" away from the top edge - that is how you will have a nice sharp point, once block is joined with others.
The  bottom raw edges of the triangle are LOOSE at this point and you can either keep them secured with couple of pins or you can machine-baste them with a stitch that is about 1/8" away from the edge (so it would stay hidden in the seam allowance once you sew your blocks together). Here is how mine looked like when stitched:

 Isn't this a fun way to make Flying Geese?

OK, so now that we know how to make this one-seam, 3D Flying Geese, here is the number and color combinations of all of them needed for the the wall hanging/table topper:


1. 10 (ten) blocks with Accent #1 (pink) rectangles and background (white) squares (using 10 rectangles and 20 squares)
2. 16 (sixteen) blocks with Accent #2 (green) rectangles and focus fabric (print) squares (using 16 rectangles and 32 squares)

Use instructions above to complete all these  Flying Geese blocks, press them and stitch on the bottom of the large triangle (geese) to secure it. Here is how mine looked like:


 All the "sandwiches" lined up to be stitched!

All stitched and ready for pressing that one seam.

Seam pressed, now ready to "open" up the folded rectangle to make some geese! :)

Here are all the 3D Flying Geese done! Total of 10 in pink/white color combo and 16 of green/print color combo.

Now lets make some more magic by curving some edges and adding some top squares, while assembling this project!


1. Take 2 FG blocks (Accent #1/BG color combination) and join them together to get the unit as shown on the right. (it is a 3D square-in-square block now!)

 Place 3 1/2” square of Focus fabric on top of the unit and center it as shown. 

  Curl the edges of the Flying Geese as far as they can go on top of the square and press well with iron (steam helps!) 

As you curl each edge over the square, all the raw edges of the square will be covered!

Starting in one of the corners (and securing the stitching by doing couple of 0-lenght stitches!), top-stitch these curved edges with a matching color thread (or - with a contrasting thread if you so desire! :)   )
Open-toe applique foot might actually be more helpful here, even though I didn't use it this time (live and learn!)
Once you go around all 4 curved edges, secure your stitched again with 0-lenght stitching (simple back-stitching would NOT look neat here, since this is all visible, right?).

This is how your completed square will look like! It is actually a Cathedral Window - looking block, done all by machine! :) The inserted square gives such a cool look to this block, don't you think?

This will be a center block of the wall hanging. It should measure       6 1/2" at this point.

Now to make single curved-edge Flying Geese!

For this, you will need to take all of the 3 7/8" size squares that you cut: there should be 2 white, 6 pink and 4 green squares.

Cut them all once diagonally, (example of one white square shown here), to get double amount of triangles from all the squares (4 white, 12 pink and 8 green).

You will use these triangles to position them on top of the 3D Flying Geese, curve the short edges of the triangle over them, press and top-stitch - just like we did it for the square above.
NOTE: for this to work, your bottom (long) edge of the triangle MUST be secured by stitching! (see above - initial instruction for making 3D FG!)
Also - this color combination shown on the photo is just an example - you will need three different color combinations - see bellow!

In order to complete the wall hanging, you will need to make these 3 color combinations of curved Flying Geese blocks:

Once you made all these curved Flying Geese blocks, there is only few more curves to do before putting the whole project together! To have those curved lines in corner squares, here is what you need to do:

1. Take one 3 1/2" square of green and fold it diagonally, wrong sides together (you will now have a triangle)
2. Position this triangle on top of a 3 1/2" square of focus print, matching the raw edges.
3. Stitch-baste those raw edges together, again doing a stitch about 1/8" from the edge (just like you did with 3D Flying Geese above)
4. Now curve the folded edge and top-stitch, just like you did with FG curves, to get the square as shown on the right.
NOTE: sorry, somehow I did not take good photos of this step, so I hope text-only explanation works? Again, if not - let me know in comments! :)

You will need to make 4 of these in print/green combination (like the one above) and 4 in white/pink combination.
Now lets put the whole thing together!

1. Position you first curved Square-in-square block in the middle, 4 FG blocks (print-green-white) around and 4 curved squares (print-green) in the corners.

2. You have 9 elements in this layout, so join them together as any 9-patch block!

NOTE: I pressed seams in the middle row towards the center block and seams in top and bottom towards the corner squares - to have the opposing seams when joining rows together. This should measure 12 1/2" square now.

1. Take the unit you just made, place it in the middle and surround it with 8 FG blocks (white-pink-green) and place remaining 4 curved squares (white-pink) in the corners.
2. Join two FG blocks on each of the sides and then join them to the center unit.
3. Join all units in top row as well as all in bottom row and then sew those two to the center unit. This unit should measure 18 1/2" now.

1. Take this unit and surround it with remaining 12 FG blocks (print-green-pink) and 4 plain squares (print).

2. Join 3 FG blocks on each side together and then sew it to the center unit on either side.

3. Join all blocks in top and bottom rows and then sew them to top and bottom of the center unit.

Guess what? Your quilt top is done - YAY!!!
This quilt measures 24 1/2" x 24 1/2" at this point, but you can see how you could go on and on adding more "rounds" of Flying Geese units or any other borders and make it bigger. Other options are also - skip inserting triangles and just have curved FG blocks...or instead of those curved corner squares, place just plain fabric squares?  Many ways to play with this one!

This 3D, one-seam Flying Geese block can be used in many different ways. I did a tutorial a while ago (holiday season of 2011) where we made large ones (12"x6") and made it into a holiday card holder!
You can find that tutorial HERE!

Now at the end of this long post I can't leave you without saying this:
I am so, so delighted with all your comments on my previous post! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on "stepping outside of the block", stretching yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things!! I juts LOVE reading them all and am amazed how we come from all different directions - some doing it ALL the time, some making first, shy steps towards it, some being happy staying in their comfort zone... PLEASE KEEP THEM COMING AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING SOME OF YOUR TIME WITH ME!

Of course, let me know what you think about this tutorial and if you do try it - send me a picture! Post it either on my Facebook page or send me an email or a link in comments - I would LOVE to see it!

I thin I will go and sew now...:)
happy stitching my friends,


PS - AN UPDATE!  Through great comments on Facebook (thank you all!) it occurred to me that some people would rather PRINT the instructions and printing directly from the blog can be difficult and take a lot of ink (photos, etc.). So, here is the link for downloading a PDF file with all instructions that you can then print easily! I hope that this, together with photo instructions in the post above will make it easier for you to try this! Have fun and happy stitching! Marija

35 36 37 38