Stitch and Flip
Quilting Method Tutorial

Stitch and flip is a handy technique. In traditional quilts it’s used to make triangle shapes. In a modern quilt make so much more than flying geese!

boat shape made with stitch and flip quilting methodboat shape made with stitch and flip quilting method

The basic technique uses squares and rectangles to create triangles.

Basically, you sew the square to one corner of the rectangle and cut along the seam 1/4 inch away from it.

When you flip what remains of the square you have a triangle.


This technique is commonly used to make traditional flying geese or snowball quilt blocks.

You can also use it to make a particular unit within a quilt block.

Below, I turn a rectangle into a boat shape which is used in the sail boat quilt block pattern.

In modern quilting this technique is used simply to add pieces of fabric together in a distinct pattern or in a random fashion to make crazy quilt blocks.

In fact, the possibility are almost endless. Limited only by your imagination.

It's so simple and versatile you will hardly believe it!

Let's see how to do this fantastically handy quilting method.

Fabric Requirements

For this tutorial I used two different, a light and a dark.

Fabric A = primary, or focus (red fabric)

Fabric B = background (blue fabric)

Stitch and Flip Method Instructions

Step 1

Cut two squares from fabric B.

On the wrong side of each square, draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other using a ruler and a pencil or pen.

Here, to make a boat shape turn each square so that each diagonal line faces in opposite directions. For the square on the left, the line slants in the same direction as a back slash (\). For the square on the right, the line slants in the same direction as a forward slash (/).

stitch and flip squares and rectangle to make boat shape Step 1squares and rectangle to make boat shape

Step 2

With the right sides together, place one square in each corner of the rectangle and pin.

Four Patch Quilt Block Step 2sew the block row by row

Step 3

Sew on the drawn line, or a thread or two away from it, to attach the squares to the rectangle. If you sew a thread or two away from the line, stitch on the side of the line closest to bottom corner of the square.

stitch and flip Step 3Sew on the drawn line, or a thread or two away from it

The reason to stitch away from the line is to account for the fold in the fabric when the triangle is flipped, especially if you stitch with a heavy weight thread (say a 40 or 30 weight).

Here's a close up of the sewn seam line.

close up of seam line Step 3close up of seam line

Step 4

Before cutting away any fabric flip the top half of the square down to see if it will cover part of the fabric, in this case the corner of a rectangle, that it will replace.

If it does, in the next step you will cut the fabric. If not then you will need to take out the seam with the seam ripper and sew it again.

stitch and flip Step 4testing stitch and flip

Step 5a

Place 1/4 inch line of a ruler along the seam line and using a rotary cutter make a cut along the ruler to cut away the bottom part of the triangle.

stitch and flip Step 5acut away the bottom part of the triangle

Step 5b

Repeat Step 5a for the second end of the rectangle.

stitch and flip Step 5bboth ends of rectangle cut 1/4 quarter inch away from seam line

Step 6

Flip remaining side of both squares down to reveal triangles. Finger press seams towards triangles.

stitch and flip Step 6remaining side of both squares flipped down to reveal triangles

Press with iron and alternative starch solution, if desired.

The stitch and flip quilting technique (aka 'flip and sew') is used to make parts of lots of blocks. One is the sail boat quilt block pattern.

Stitch and Flip in Modern Quilts

In modern quilting this is an improvisational technique. Free and loose you might say :-).

More to come for using the stitching flip method in modern quilts. Stay tuned!

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