Monday, February 14, 2011

Me and the Flying Geese

The Block-a-palooza quilt-along was my introduction to making flying geese. Five of the first seven blocks include them and so far there have been three different methods of construction. You can check them out by clicking on the button in the right side bar and following the links. All of the tutorials are well written and easy to follow.

My problem was that all my geese had a nasty little curve on the bottom.

flying geese fail

My seams were straight so that wasn’t causing it. I tried starch to stabilize the bias cut which helped a little. I loosened the pressure on my presser foot to no avail.

I finally stumbled on a solution and I’ve highlighted the steps in the little tutorial below that made my geese fly straight!

Here’s the “no waste” method of making flying geese which is the one I prefer. I believe this method was created by Patti Anderson and it’s the one Kaye Prince at Miss Print used for her quilt-along block. Thanks to Dora for pointing me to Patti Anderson!

For this example the (1) large square is 4.25 x 4.25 inches.

The (4) small squares are 2.375 x 2.375 (2 3/8) inches.

Place a small square in opposite corners of the large square.

flying geese step 1

Draw a line diagonally.

flying geese step 2

Sew 1/4 inch on both sides of the line.

flying geese step 3

I like to press this so it lays nice and flat to cut.

flying geese step 4

Cut on the drawn line.

flying geese step 5

Here it comes!

The original instructions call for pressing toward the points, but I get better results if I press the seams open!

flying geese seams open

Place another small square in the corner of this piece.

flying geese step 6

Draw a diagonal line and sew 1/4 inch on both sides. Press flat if you want.

flying geese step 7

Cut on the drawn line.

flying geese step 8

Press the seams open! Repeat for the remaining piece.

flying geese step 9

Nice and straight!

flying geese step 9a

The solution was as simple as pressing the seams open instead of to one side. An experienced quilter would probably have suggested this right away, but it’s good for me to go through the process of solving it for myself. I don’t know why pressing to the side wasn’t successful for me like it was for others, but whatever works!

Happy Valentines Day!

heart brooch


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  1. Love this solution! I am definitely going to save this tip. Clothing sewers press seams open, but quilters are so used to press seams to one side to reduce bulk when lining up seams and quilting. It's good for us to remember it's OK to press the seams open!

    Happy Valentine's Day to you!

  2. I am bookmarking this page right now! Thanks so much for sharing your technique!

  3. Smart girl!! Sometimes it just takes thinking outside the box! I'm saving this post for future reference....

  4. Bookmark! What an awesome tute! Thanks for sharing this! I always debate on open or side pressing. I usually press seams open for me, but to the side when I sew in a swap.

    Enjoy the warmer weather and NO SNOW!!!!!

  5. Great tutorial and tip!
    Thanks so much!

  6. I like that method. Flying Geese and I do not get along. I was searching online the other day and I saw a video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilts on making half square triangles from charm squares that was totally different. I think tomorrow is a good day to try it out.

  7. I get that curve on my flying geest too! I hate it so much that I refuse to make them anymore. I've tried your method and pressed to the side (as the instructions said). But I'll definitely have to try pressing the seams open (which is what I prefer to do anyway). Thanks for sharing this tip!!


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