Making Flying Geese

If you are joining the Starburst Chain Competition (Read more HERE), then you will be making a block that looks like this:

Even if you AREN’T joining the competition, at some point on your quilting journey, you will most likely make a Flying Geese block.  There are a couple of methods for making them, but I have found this method I’m sharing to be my favorite.  It gives me the MOST accurate Flying Geese I have made so far.  Not perfect, but the closest I have come to it.

So let’s get started!

First – You will take your background fabric and place a smaller square fabric in the corner, right sides together.  Notice there is a drawn diagonal line on the smaller fabric?  This is essential!  I’ve tried to skip this step before and “eyeball it”.  Let me just tell you that SHORTCUTS = TROUBLE.  Drawing those lines are NOT something to skip!  If you do skip drawing the lines, when it comes to sewing, you will most likely sew a little off, and that will end up with Flying Geese that are wonky.  No good.



Notice that I have TWO pins holding the smaller fabric square down.  I’ve tried just using one pin.  Yes I know, I’ve tried ALL the shortcuts.  But again, that will result in wonky lines and fabric moving while you sew.  Take it from me: even if it takes more time, you WANT to use TWO pins on both sides of the drawn line to hold your square in place.

Second – Sew ON the drawn line. This photo shows sewing ON the drawn line, but it is a few steps ahead.  It already has half of the flying geese finished.  It turns out I forgot to take a picture of this step with only one square on the fabric!  But you get the idea of sewing ON the drawn line.


Third –  Using a ruler, cut 1/4 away from the sewn line.  You can see on this ruler there is a dotted line marking 1/4″.  I used that dotted line and set it against my sewn seam, and trimmed my block.

Fourth – I then use my fingers to open the fabric.  Notice how I leave the seam on the mat while I lift the fabric up?  This naturally leaves the seam pressed to the darker fabric, which is what you want, unless your pattern tells you otherwise.

Then I press firmly with my fingers before I iron my block.

Fifth – At this point, you are going to do steps one through four on the opposite side of your fabric. Pin your second square to your fabric, right sides together, sew ON the drawn line, trim 1/4″ away from the seam, press open.


Six – At this point you will be sewing your Flying Geese block, right sides together, with another piece of fabric.  I wanted to share a little trick I have learned after lots of trial and error.  When you sew your Flying Geese block to another piece of fabric, have the Flying Geese block facing you.  This way you can see the center of the flying geese, as I am pointing out in the picture below.

Watch your needle as you sew, and make sure the needle hits RIGHT at that center point.  Then, when you open your fabric, it will have joined with your other fabric at JUST the right place!

Notice how the center of the Flying Geese matches perfectly with the block of fabric it was sewn to?  (The bottom of the ‘V’ is flush on the other fabric?) That little trick of watching the needle on the wrong side of your Flying Geese while sewing will get it this way every time.

So that’s it folks!  Let me know if you have any comments or questions.  I love hearing feedback and what you find helpful.  Leave a comment or drop my an email.  And if you want to grab a copy of the Starburst Chain Pattern and try this method out, here is a link the the pattern:  STARBURST CHAIN PATTERN


12 thoughts on “Making Flying Geese”

  1. I sew another line about a 1/2 inch away from the first sewn line and cut in between to give myself little HST blocks. One day I will sew them all together and have a memory quilt of all the materials I used to make my projects.

  2. wonderful! I am a chronic “short cutter,” so thank you for saving me time by telling me up front not to take the short cuts! Thank you for the tutorial! 😀

    1. It just depends on the pattern that I am using. It will tell you what sizes to cut the squares. Unless you are wanting to write your own patterns, then you have to figure out the math. Ugh! 😉

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. I struggle getting the geese sewn on evenly. I think the 2 pin technique will make a difference. Sounds like a Little Thing, but I think it will make a Big Difference.

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