Elenor Burns Flying Geese Method

Hello, hello!

Welcome back. If you’re following along with the Beginner Skill Builder Sampler Quilt, how is your quilt coming along?

Make sure you check out my YouTube channel to watch the videos if you need more info.

Today I’m going to teach you how to make flying geese using the Elenor Burns method. This is actually my favorite method, so I’m excited to share it with you.

This method isn’t used much, but if you ever want to change up your pattern or are designing something yourself, you can make them this way.

Elenor Burns’ Flying Geese Method

Cut List:

  • 9” square Patterned fabric (this will be the two triangles of the flying geese)
  • 7 1/2” square Background fabric (this will be the “V” in the middle of the flying geese)

Start by placing the patterned square pattern-size up.

Place the background fabric, wrong size up, centered on top of the other square. Pin in place.

Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the fabric.

Sew 1/4” down each side of the line. Note: you only need to sew down the length of the smaller square.

Cut on the diagonal line so you have 2 pieces. Press open toward the background.

Place one 2-color square like a diamond on your table, fabric facing up. Place the other 2-color square on top, right sides together, opposite of the way you placed the first 2-color square.

So if the background is facing up, place the patterned piece facing up on top of it. (see image above, center seams should not line up.)

Pin together.

Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, perpendicular to the seam line.

Sew 1/4” down each side of the line. Cut on line.

Iron open. You should have 2 pieces that look like this.

Now it’s time to trim these up. We want these to measure 6 1/2” x 3 1/2”.

Place your ruler so that the diagonal line in the ruler, lines up with the diagonal line of your flying geese and the edge of the ruler 1/4” down from the point of the flying geese. Cut along edge of ruler.

Do this with both pieces, until you have 4 flying geese.

Measure and Trim

Now we trim them to the 6 1/2” x 3 1/2”.

Line up the center point of the flying geese at 3 1/4” and the bottom edge at 3 1/2”. (If you have a diagonal line on your ruler, try to line one up along the diagonal of the flying geese, see image above.) Trim the side and top.

Rotate around 180 degrees and line up bottom edge on the 3 1/2” and the left edge to 6 1/2”. Trim the last/right side.

Do that to the other pieces and you will have 4- 6 1/2”x 3 1/2” flying geese.


If you have any questions, please go watch the YouTube video. I go into much more detail in the video, and you can watch it and follow along.

If you have questions after that, drop them in my comment section below, or on the comment section of the video and I will come and answer them.

How to Make Any Size Flying Geese

If you want a different size of Flying Geese it’s time to figure out what size you’ll need for your squares.

Using the unfinished size of the flying geese block you would like (in the above example my unfinished size is 6 1/2” x 3 1/2″) you will take your largest measurement and add 1 1/2”. That will be the starting size square you will need to cut of the background fabric, or the V in the middle.

So if you want them to be 4 1/2” x 2 1/2” unfinished, take 4 1/2” and add 1 1/1”, you’ll get 6”. This is the first square.

For the larger square, take the square you just figured out, and add 1 1/2” to it. In our example above: 6” + 1 1/2” = 7 1/2”. That will be the size of your patterned, or two side triangles.

Beginner Skill Builder Sampler Quilt

If you’re following along with the beginner skill builder sampler quilt, we are on month 3, week 2.

Get your 4-at-a-time HST done from last week, and from this week you’ll end up with 4 flying geese. Later this month we will put together block 3.

Tag me!

I would love to see your progress. Just tag me at #theashleytomlinson or #ashley_sunnymade and I’ll be able to see you on social media. 

I want to see how they turn out!

Happy sewing!