Last week, I talked about what a directional print is and how to use them when making half-square triangle squares and also units for straight seams. Find the post here. These tips are useful if you are wanting your directional prints to all go in the same direction in a block or unit. This week I will talk about using these fabrics when making flying geese units, specifically those you will use to make a star block. I’ll also show you block examples where I followed these tips and where I didn’t. Let’s get started!
Directional Prints in Flying Geese Units
Below are the fabrics I picked for a star block using flying geese units. I purposely chose only one directional print fabric, the grey, to keep things simple.
The secret to using directional print fabrics for flying geese is this: if you position the directional print square face down on the tan rectangle with the print running horizontal, the print will run vertical after stitching and pressing the piece open. The photos below show this:
Notice how I turn the square so the print is horizontal (center photo) before laying the square face down on the rectangle.
To finish the flying geese unit, I need to lay the next square face down on the other side of the rectangle with the print running horizontal so when I’m done stitching and pressing that side open, the print runs vertical like on the other side.
But now here is the tricky part …. if you are using the directional print for the center square of the star and if you make all 4 flying geese with the print going vertical… this will happen:
If you make all four flying geese units with the print running vertical, the units on the side of the square will not have vertical stripes. So, you need to make two of the geese with the print running vertical and two of the geese with the print running horizontal.
See how having geese with the directional print going in different directions now works when you place them with the center? See the photos of the block before and after piecing below:
Now the directional print is going in the same direction in the star block!
Fuss with Directional Prints or Not?
So now that you have my tips on using directional prints and tips on how to make units where the design runs in the same direction, here are some blocks from scrap quilts I made where I followed my tips:
And now here are some blocks where I just pieced blocks without paying attention to the direction of the fabric print:
As you can see above, the prints don’t all run in the same direction in these blocks. But they still look good. Especially in a scrap quilt where so much is going on.
Like I said in last week’s post. There are no quilt police. If you want to match up your directional prints, go for it. If you don’t, then enjoy the fun!
Here’s a few handy tips:
TIP #1: If you are making a block and want to use a directional print, decide up front if you want to have the print run in the same direction through out. That way you can figure out how to cut the fabric pieces and stitch them together to achieve this. This will save you a lot of “un-sewing” headaches.
TIP #2: If you choose to use directional prints, I recommend only using one of those fabrics within a block or unit. For example, if your block has three different fabric with prints, use only one that has a directional print (the others can be solids or non-directional prints) especially if you want to have the print run in one direction.
So, that’s all for this week. Leave a comment or ask a question in the comments and you will be entered into a drawing for my pattern, Barn Dance:
The drawing will be on Monday, April 4th. Good luck!**We have a winner. Congrats, Darlene!**