How Do You Make Flying Geese + Flying Geese Size Chart

Learn to make the flying geese block 2 ways: make one flying geese block or speed it up and make four flying geese at a time. Flying geese size chart included!

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The flying geese block is one of the basic quilt blocks that you’ll see in so many different quilt designs. It’s often used on its own (like in this free Flying Goslings pattern) which can really show off the beauty of its simplicity. But it’s also the building element of other quilt blocks, like the sawtooth star or Dutchman’s puzzle, for example.

In this flying geese block tutorial, my goal is to show you how to make this classic block two different ways – one at a time and four at a time (also known as the ‘no waste method’). We’ll also look at how to calculate the flying geese block, how much fabric you need for flying geese etc. 

And of course, we’ve created a handy flying geese size chart, so you can have all this info at hand whenever you need it.

Pheew, we’ve got some work ahead of us. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

What Is the Flying Geese Block In Quilting?

First things first, let’s look at what exactly we are talking about. The flying geese block is a rectangular quilt block that is twice as long as it is tall. Each flying geese block has a peaked triangle at the center and two (smaller) triangles on the sides.

The important thing to note here is that the finished flying geese block is always twice as long as it is tall. Therefore, the methods below will always yield blocks that are 2a x a in size, when the block is sewn in (without the seam allowance).

How Do You Make Good Flying Geese?

As promised, I will show you two ways to make flying geese. First, we’ll look at how you make flying geese one at a time. And then I’ll show you a second method that yields 4 flying geese at a time.

Both methods are useful and can produce perfect flying geese. To make sure I always get them perfect, I like to do them a little bit oversized. This means that I cut them a little bit bigger, which gives me some wiggle room for trimming later. If you’re a beginner I strongly recommend using the oversized flying geese calculations (which is what we teach here), so you can really get them nice and exact.

As always, the key is still to measure and cut precisely. And as we’ll be making them oversized, you will need to trim them to the exact unfinished size (finished size + a ¼’’ seam allowance) before using them in your pattern.

Method 1: Flying Geese One at a Time – The Stitch and Flip Method

This is the basic method of making flying geese. It produces one flying geese unit. 

The instructions below will produce one 2 x 4’’ flying geese block. For other finished sizes, see the flying geese cutting chart below.

  1. Cut a 4 ¾’’ x 2 ¾’’  rectangle and two 2 ¾’’ squares.
  2. Draw a diagonal guideline from corner to corner on the wrong side of each square.
  3. Place one square on top of the rectangle right sides together. Sew along the guideline.
  4. Trim away the corner ¼’’ from the seam. Press open.
  5. Repeat steps 3. and 4. with the remaining square on the opposite side of the rectangle.
  6. Trim your flying geese blocks to the desired (unfinished!) size.

Method 1 Calculation

To get the required cutting dimensions, you will need (based on the desired finished width and height of the flying geese block):

  • One rectangle: (finished width + ¾’’ ) x  (finished height + ¾’’ )
  • Two squares: finished height + ¾’’

You can use these formulas to get the required size starting squares. Or – even better – leave the math to our flying geese calculator:

UPDATE! We now have a handy Flying Geese Calculator that will do all the math for you! Just plug in your numbers and the calculator will tell you the required cutting dimensions. Easy! Click here to calculate your flying geese!

We’ve also created a super handy flying geese size chart / cheat sheet, with all the basic flying geese dimensions AND step-by-step instructions for both methods explained here. Get your flying geese chart here.

Method 2: 4 at a Time Flying Geese – The No-Waste Flying Geese Method

Often you’ll be making a pattern or a block that calls for multiple identical flying geese. The sawtooth star is an example of a block where you need 4 identical flying geese for one single sawtooth star. And this is where the 4 at a time flying geese method comes in super handy.

Unlike the one at a time method, the 4 at a time also produces very little waste, so that’s another advantage.

So how do you make 4 flying geese at a time?

The instructions below will produce four 2 x 4’’ flying geese blocks. For other finished sizes, see the flying geese cutting chart below.

  1. Cut one 5 ½’’ square and four 3’’ squares. Draw diagonal guidelines from corner to corner on the wrong sides of the small squares.
  2. Place two small squares on the opposite corners of the large square right sides together. The guidelines should now form a long diagonal guideline across both squares. 
  3. Sew two seams, each a ¼’’ away from the guideline. 
  4. Cut in half along the original guideline and press seams out. You now have two identical (almost heart shaped) units.
  5. Place one remaining small square in the corner of the unit (with the guideline going towards the center of the unit).
  6. Sew two seams, each a ¼’’ away from the guideline. Cut apart (along the guideline) and press seams out.
  7. Repeat with the remaining (heart-shaped) unit and square.
  8. Trim your flying geese blocks to the desired (unfinished!) size.

Method 2 Calculation

The general rule when making 4 flying geese at a time is to cut (based on the desired finished width of one flying geese block):

  • One square: finished width + 1 ½’’ 
  • Four squares: finished height + 1’’ 

As I’ve mentioned this flying geese formula makes oversized flying geese which you then trim to size.

Again, we’ve got a shortcut for calculating flying geese – the flying geese calculator. It will tell you the starting squares required to make flying geese using both methods explained here.

And if you prefer to have a flying geese size chart on hand, we’ve got that, too! Just keep on reading!

Flying Geese Size Chart

There’s a lot of math in quilting and it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming. We want to make things as easy for you as possible. That’s why we created this fantastic flying geese size chart.

It will tell you the starting dimensions of the fabric squares required to make flying geese in any of the standard sizes. And what’s even better – we’ve included illustrated diagrams to help you sew the flying geese.

How do you get it, you ask? It’s a free gift for our newsletter subscribers, so if you want it, just fill out the form below and get it instantly in your inbox.

I hope I’ve managed to show you that making flying geese can be really easy when you know the steps. Now go on and find that perfect pattern to show off your flying geese skills. Use our Flying Goslings pattern or make up something of your own. Either way, we can’t wait to see what you’ve created!

Happy sewing!

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