Traditional flying geese units are used in lots of quilt blocks, especially star blocks. Learn how to make geese for quilts and get a size chart!
As a whole, the traditional geese unit is a rectangle. When looking at a completed unit it looks like it's made up of three triangles.
The larger triangle is the 'goose'. And the two smaller triangles make up the 'sky'.
Use any color combinations you choose. Rummage through your scrap bin and pick two different awesome fabrics.
I have chosen a solid (Fabric A) in a vibrant yellow and a plaid print (Fabric B) in primary colors.
Making geese units this way is called the corner triangle method. The height of the rectangle is half its length. Or, the rectangle is twice as long as it is tall.
For example, to make one 3 inch x 6 inch geese unit you need to cut one rectangle that measures 3 1/2 x 6 1/2 and two squares that measure 3 1/2 inches.
The math...
Size of Rectangle:
height = 1/2 desired finished length + 1/2 inch seam allowance
by
length = desired finished length + 1/2 inch seam allowance
Size of Squares:
height of desired finished + 1/2 inch seam allowance
With this method I have found that it is best to make a unit where the desired finished length is a whole (4, 5, 6, etc.) number.
Finished Geese Size (inches) |
Rectangle Size (Unfinished) (inches) Cut 1 |
Square Size (Unfinished) (inches) Cut 2 |
2 x 4 2 1/2 x 5 |
2 1/2 x 4 1/2 3 x 5 1/2 |
2 1/2 x 2 1/2 3 x 3 |
3 x 6 3 1/2 x 7 |
3 1/2 x 6 1/2 4 x 7 1/2 |
3 1/2 x 3 1/2 4 x 4 |
4 x 8 4 1/2 x 9 |
4 1/2 x 8 1/2 5 x 9 1/2 |
4 1/2 x 4 1/2 5 x 5 |
5 x 10 5 1/2 x 11 6 x 12 |
5 1/2 x 10 1/2 6 x 11 1/2 6 1/2 x 12 1/2 |
5 1/2 x 5 1/2 6 x 6 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 |
Start by cutting strips the same width as the height of the unfinished rectangle and square size. Then, subcut for needed length of the unfinished rectangle or square.
Step 1 Cut Squares and Rectangle According to the size chart above choose a size and from Fabric A cut 2 squares. From Fabric B cut 1 rectangle.
On the wrong side of the squares, draw a diagonal line from one corner to corner.
Step 2 Place the rectangle right side up. Place one square right side down on top of the rectangle. Align it in the right hand corner of the rectangle with the diagonal line going from the center of the rectangle to the bottom right corner like a back slash (\).
Step 3 Place pins in the unit so the square will not shift when stitched. Stitch on the drawn line starting from the center of the rectangle to the bottom right corner.
Step 4 Place the unit on a rotary cutting mat with square side facing up.
Place the quarter inch line of a quilting ruler on the stitched line. Use a rotary cutter to cut along the edge of the ruler, leaving a 1/4 inch seam.
Step 5 Flip the triangle (that resulted from cutting the square) face up. This triangle replaces the fabric that was cut away. Press the seam toward the triangle.
Step 6 With the rectangle right side up, place the second square right side down, aligning it in left hand corner of the rectangle with the diagonal line going from the center of the rectangle to the bottom left corner, like a forward slash (/).
Insert pins in the unit so the square will not shift when stitched.
Stitch on the drawn line from the center of the rectangle to the bottom right corner.
Step 7 Place the unit with square side facing up on a rotary cutting mat. Turn the rectangle if necessary to get a better angle to make the cut.
Place the quarter inch line of a quilting ruler on the stitched line. Use a rotary cutter to cut along the edge of the ruler, leaving a 1/4 inch seam.
Step 8 After making the cut, orient the unit so the rectangle is horizontal.
Step 9 Flip the triangle face up. Press the seam toward the triangle.
And, you have a completed flying geese unit!
Here's the backside of the flying geese. Notice the direction in which the seams are pressed.
Step 10 Trim Sometimes it's necessary to trim off bits of fabric, or "square up" the unit. Use a quilting ruler to trim the flying geese to size (as shown here 3 1/2 x 6 1/2).
Now you can use your flying geese units to make blocks!
A happy surprise! Wondering what to do with the triangles you cut off?
Put them in your scrap bin or stitch a 1/4 seam and make a half square triangles (HSTs) for use in a quilt project!