Flying Geese Pieced Two Ways

One of my favorite ways to “finish” a panel is by adding borders around the edges. The flying geese in this pattern give the pattern visual interest, and provide a nice textural contrast to whatever gorgeousness stands in the middle.

Not gonna’ lie: when I cut the pieces out for this project, there was not going to be any “two ways” about it. There are forty flying geese in this quilt, and I was going to make every single one of them with my Quilt in a Day ruler.

But…I was cutting my fabric, when….

No, not really. But I did cut some of my squares too small for the Quilt in a Day method, and I decided to try a few of them the traditional way.

I remember why I don’t do flying geese quilts more often.
Which is a shame, because they can be lovely.

But, in order to make flying geese the traditional way, I would have had to cut out forty rectangles and eighty squares, then sew forty squares onto those forty rectangles. Twice.
I just don’t deserve that in my life.

Piecing methods

Traditional flying geese are created like half-square triangles. A square of background fabric is placed on the end of a print rectangle. You draw a line across the squares diagonal, sew on the line, and then cut 1/4″ away from the sewn line. Pretty simple, pretty quick. Press the triangles open, and repeat the same steps on the other side.


  • Super simple. Truly, it doesn’t get much more simple than this.
  • Your fabric pieces don’t have to be cut any larger than the finished size of your flying geese


  • Ohmigosh it takes forever. I don’t do piecing-intensive quilts any more, because they drive me crazy. I chain piece for efficiency, but I also get bored very quickly. Even doing the five blocks I needed for this quilt pushed my limits.
  • It seems like every flying geese method has waste, but this has a lot of waste. Some people save the triangles after cutting, but I don’t usually save anything that small. Personal preference.
  • I struggled a lot more to keep my points using this method. Maybe you wouldn’t, but it was extremely annoying for me.

The Quilt-in-a-day way

To use the Quilt in a Day ruler, you have to cut larger squares than the finished size of your geese block (hence my mishap at the beginning).  You create off-center quarter square triangles, then use the ruler to trim the triangles down to the size you need.  Each block yields two flying geese units, which is pretty awesome.


  • Each block has more steps, but there are fewer steps overall. Win.
  • Every block has perfect seam allowances. It was glorious.


  • It takes more fabric at the outset, and there is still some waste.
  • You have to purchase the ruler.

For me, there’s a clear winner: I will never make flying geese without the ruler again. If you don’t mind repetitive actions, though, or you get a better seam allowance than me (likely), then it may not be worth it for you.

How do you make flying geese? Would you try it more often using a different method? Tell us in the comments.




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