The Long Awaited Swoopy Geese Tutorial: Part 2! The One About Paper Piecing!

        It's been about a month since my post about the swoopy flying geese and so I deem it time to finish up out tutorial! Also it's a Sunday so I actually have the time and energy to blog :) This whole teaching thing is tiring! Part 1 can be found here!

        Before I get started I have to apologize to the ladies at the Tacoma MQG. I forgot to mention something at the meeting on Thursday. When I prepared my finished flying geese paper piecing panel I traced the design onto a piece of tracing paper then turned it over and stitched along the lines that showed through the paper. This allowed the finished panel to look exactly the same as my patter. Once again I apologize if this caused any confusion or made me look a bit crazy to those of you who noticed :)

        Alright! So last time we ended with a fully designed pattern, complete with 1/4 inch seam allowance. From here I suggested either scanning and printing another copy of your pattern or tracing the individual parts onto a different piece of paper. I always keep my original pattern that I can make another copy if I accidentally make a mistake...
Which never happens.... ever... not even once.... ;) 

        When I first started making my own paper piecing patterns I would use regular computer paper (as pictured below) for my outside curve templates. I would simply pin the paper to the fabric and try to cut as accurately as possible. More recently I started using freezer paper for those templates. It's not necessary but it is much easier to use as a guide and it made my edges much more accurate.

        Alright! Lets get started!!! For the actual paper piecing portion of this pattern you will need a few things:
  • Scraps for your geese: The don't actually have to be scraps but they do have to be at least 1/4 inch bigger than their intended triangle on all sides. I take a strip of my favorite fabric and cut out rectangles and are bigger than my geese. It may be a tad wasteful but paper piecing usually is... So, if that bottom goose is approximately 2" x 1" I would use a rectangle that is 2.5" x 1.5". You get the idea :)
  • Background fabric
    • Triangles for your background: You can use various sizes of triangles so that you are not wasting too much fabric. I started with a 3" square cut in half diagonally for the first two rows, a 2.5" square cut in half diagonally for the next two. The remaining triangles were 2" squares cut in half diagonally. Once the triangle is sewn and flipped it must cover all of the seam allowance. If there is paper visible on the front once the goose has been pressed you will need a bigger triangle. 
    • Remaining background pieces will be cut from template created in part 1
  • Sewing machine: Use a new needle as older dull ones may have problems going through the paper (printer paper especially, tracing paper isn't as much of an issue). Set your stitch length to a smaller stitch. I use either 1.8 or 2.0 instead of my machines default of 2.5. Either way you don't want the stitches too small that they will be a pain to tear out if necessary. 
  • Iron
  • Rotary Cutter, Ruler, and Mat 
Here We GO!

Step 1:  For this project your will start your paper piecing on the side with the bottom of the triangle. In other words the side with the longest unbroken straight edge. 

  • If you are using tracing paper like me, turn your paper over so that the drawn lines are against the wrong side of the fabric. You will be sewing along the lines seen through the back of the paper. 
  • If you are using a direct copy you will be sewing directly on your printed/traced lines so the fabric will all be arranged on the back of your pattern. This will create the reverse image of your pattern. 
Align your first goose rectangle with the bottom edge of the paper so that it covers all the seam allowance (piece 1). Next, with your pattern held to the light, try to arrange the background triangle (piece 2) right sides together so that the long bias edge overlaps the line of stitching by at least a 1/4 inch. Pin in place but make sure the pin does not cross or come close to the line of stitching.

Step 2: Turn your pattern over and stitch along the drawn line between pieces 1 and 2, back stitching at the beginning in the seam allowance and at the end near the point. Make sure your line of stitching goes all the way to the edge of the seam allowance but do not go past the end of the line at the point of the goose. Trim your thread tails.

Step 3: Fold back the paper along the line of stitching and trim overlapping fabric back to 1/4 inch.

Step 4: Unfold paper and press to set the seam then press flip and press triangle out.

Step 5: Take your next background triangle repeat the process of lining up, stitching, cutting and pressing. 

Step 6: Once you have one completed goose grab another scrap that can extend all the way across your pattern. With right sides together, align the scrap with the line between goose one and goose two (pieces 1/2/3 and piece 4) so that it overlaps the line by at least 1/4 inch. Turn the pattern over and stitch in place. Repeat process until until all the geese are complete. 

Step 7: Sew a line of stitching slightly within the outer edge of the total seam allowance of the flying geese panel and trim away excess fabric. 

Step 8: Cut out remains background pieces using templates.
  • If you used tracing paper to create an exact copy of your pattern, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the front of your background fabric. 
  • If you are using a printed exact copy, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the back of your background fabric. 
Freezer paper pressed to front of background fabric

Step 9: Cut out around your template. Top piece demonstrates regular curved piecing by machine, bottom demonstrates optional turned curved piecing. If you don't like machine stitching curved seams hang tight! I will explain that method at the end. 

Step 10: With right sides together, pin seam thoroughly and stitch together. 

Step 11: Press to set the seam then press open! Repeat with other side! Trim if necessary. 

Optional Turned Curved Seams!!!

As long as they are properly pinned curved seams are fairly easy to do. If you hate curved seams and want to try something different this may be the way to go.

        Take another look at the bottom background piece. You may have noticed that the freezer paper template was cut out without the curved seam allowance. This is definitely on purpose :)

Step 1: Stitch along the outside edge of the freezer paper to create a line between what will become the finished background piece and the seam allowance.

Step 2: Remove the freezer paper and carefully press the seam allowance in using the stitched line as a guide. The goal is to make the stitched line invisible.

Step 3: Pin the turned down curved edge along the edge of your finished paper pieced panel.

Step 4: Hand stitch or top stitch with your machine along the folded edge to finished up your block.

Step 5: Finish up your block by trimming down if necessary. 

And there you have it! Your very own paper pieced flying geese pattern. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 

Happy Crafting!


  1. Never knew how these were made, now I know the secret, hahaha


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