Last week I covered fabric bias, the difference between bias and straight seams and why you needed to be more careful with bias seams. I also showed you how to make two of the most common units used in quilting that used bias seams: flying geese and half-square triangle (HST) squares. If you missed that post, find it here. This week, I’ll show you how to make multiples of these units. Since most quilt patterns would have you make more than one flying geese unit or two HSTs (the methods I shared last week), it’s helpful to know that these techniques exist. Now you can continue to make your geese and HSTs the traditional way if you are more comfortable, but give this a try! Let’s get started.
Flying Geese – No Waste Method
This method makes 4 flying geese units at once and has the added benefit of wasting no fabric! There will be no excess seam allowance to trim off like in the traditional method I showed last week. Each grouping of fabric will make 4 flying geese at once. This is a good method to use if you have a lot of flying geese units that make up a quilt project.
Step 1: It’s important to get the fabric pieces cut to the right size to begin. You will need 1 large square (base) and 4 smaller squares (wings).
For this example, I want geese units for my quilt that measure 2 1/2 x 4 1/2″ )this measurement includes the seam allowance) that finishes to 2 x 4″. When you hear someone say “finished size” it means the size of the unit after it’s sewn into the block or quilt. So here are the calculations to cut the pieces needed:
The large square needs to measure 1 1/4″ larger than the finished width of the geese unit. My finished width is 4″ so:
4″ + 1 1/4″ = 5 1/4″
The 4 small squares need to measure 7/8″ larger than the finished height of the geese unit. My finished height is 2″ so:
2″ + 7/8″ = 2 7/8″
Step 2: Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all 4 of the small squares. Then lay a small square face down on the upper left corner of the large square as shown:
Step 3: Place another square face down on the bottom right corner. The drawn lines should match up and the squares will overlap. Once positioned, be sure to pin the squares in place so they don’t shift while stitching. Sew 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line.
Step 4: Cut the unit apart on the drawn line and press open:
Step 5: Place another square face down on one of the units from above. The corner of the square should line up with the edge of the unit and the opposite corner will overlap as shown. Sew 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line and cut the unit apart on the drawn line. Repeat this step with the remaining square and other unit.
Step 6: Once you press open all the units, you will have 4 flying geese!
Finally, measure the geese unit and trim if necessary. My geese unit measures 2 1/2 x 4 1/2″ like it should! Be careful when trimming the top because you do not want to cut off points when you piece your geese into a block or quilt. There should be a scant more than 1/4″ from the top of the point to the edge of the geese unit.
Eight at a time:
Here is a method for making 8 HSTs at the same time where the traditional way makes 2 at a time. This method is great when you have a scrap quilt that has lots and lots of HSTs.
Start with 2 squares that are each 2 times the size of the HST you are making plus 1 3/4″. For an HST that measures 1 1/2 x 1 1/2″ , here is the calculation:
1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ = 2 1/4″
2 1/4″ + 1 3/4″ = 4″.
Step 1: Draw two diagonal lines on the wrong side of one of the squares.
Step 2: Place the squares right sides together with the square with the drawn lines on top so they are visible. Pin. Sew 1/4″ on each side of each drawn line.
Step 3: Cut the unit apart into 4 squares and then cut each square on the diagonal line.
Finally, press open each of the units for 8 HSTs!
Four at a time:
If you don’t want to make 8 HSTs at once, especially if you don’t want too many HSTs the same color, use this method. It will create 4 HSTs at a time.
Determine the size of your HST you want (including seam allowance), divide that number by .64. Round up to the nearest 1/8″. Then cut 2 squares of different colors that size. For example, for 2 1/2″ HSTs:
2 1/2″ / .64 = 3.906, round up to 4″
Step 1: Lay the two squares right sides together matching up raw edges so they are completely one on top of the other. Pin in place.
Step 2: Sew 1/4″ around all 4 sides of the square unit.
Step 3: Cut the sewn square diagonally as shown and then press open each section for 4 HSTs.
Since you had to round up for the size of the squares to make these HSTs, they may need trimming to measures the size you need. Be sure to lay the 45 degree line on the ruler you are using for trimming on the diagonal seam to be accurate.
There is also a cool tool that will trim HSTs before you press them open. I like this because I only have to trim 2 sides instead of 4. It’s called the Triangle Square up Ruler by Quilt in a Day.
So, there you go! Keep these formulas handy so you can refer back to them whenever you need to. Leave a comment below and be entered in the drawing for my pattern Posey Patch.
The drawing will be on Monday, October 5th. **We have a winner! Congrats, Linda Dunton!**