How to Trim Flying Geese

How to Trim Flying Geese

Flying Geese are blocks commonly found in quilting patterns, including my new pattern, Sunset Hike Quilt (releasing June 17th!). Usually once the flying geese are constructed, it is time to trim them so that they are exactly the correct size to piece into the design. Trimming flying geese can be a little tricky, and after a lot of trial and error I have found my favorite way to trim them. There are many different methods out there and even specific rulers to guide you, but this is what I have found that works best for me and I hope it helps you feel confident going into a pattern with flying geese!

1. Place a few small pieces of tape on your ruler to show the size the flying geese needs to be trimmed down to. Painters tape, washi tape, masking tape, any tape will do!  I use really small pieces so that I can see around the tape easily. In my example, I am trimming my flying geese to be 2" x 3.5".

Step 1

2. Find the ”middle point” measurement of the longest side. This is where the point of the largest triangle of the flying geese needs to be. To determine the middle point, divide the trimmed width in half.  (In my example, the middle point measurement is 1.75".)

3. Match the "middle point" measurement on your ruler with the point of the large triangle in the flying geese block. The point needs to line up with the middle point measurement .25" down from the edge of the ruler.  This will give you a quarter inch seam allowance when sewing this block into your quilt.

4. While keeping this middle point matched up with the tip of the triangle, turn and adjust your ruler to match the seam of the triangle with the corner of the size you are trimming the flying geese down to.

5. Using a rotary cutter, trim the right side and top.  

6. Rotate the flying geese block so that the large triangle point is at the bottom.  Align the middle point that you found earlier to the point of the large triangle .25" from the trimming measurement taped on your ruler.

7. While keeping the middle point aligned, rotate the ruler to align the top right corner of the ruler with the seam of the triangles.

8. Trim along the right side and top of the ruler.

You now have a perfectly trimmed flying geese block!

Even though I trimmed pretty small flying geese in this example, this method can be used to trim any size flying geese block.  For the throw version of my Sunset Hike Quilt, you will be trimming very large flying geese blocks.  You may even need to "stack" some rulers, which means laying a ruler next to another ruler to find the "middle point" measurement.  No matter what size you are trimming, it is important to keep that .25" seam allowance measurement from the edge of the block to the point of the larger triangle so that you have a perfect point when sewing the block into your quilt top. You can do it!