Using Directional Prints in Flying Geese & Half Square Triangles

When making 4-at-a-time flying geese or 8-at-a-time half square triangles, how do you line up directional prints so that they all go the right way? I was recently asked this question and I’m here with a tutorial tackling all the variations. Buckle up, friends, here we go! This tutorial is helpful when making a sawtooth star or similar block where having the prints in all 4 flying geese going the same direction.

For this example, I’m using Riley Blake Designs striped fabric in 1/2″ stripes and 1/4″ stripes, but it works for any directional print. Just make sure that the print is facing the way you want it to end up.

2-at-a-time Half Square Triangles (or 8-at-a-time HSTs)

For half square triangles, the easiest way to ensure that you end up with both prints going the right way is to put your first fabric down in front of you, right side up, and have the print facing the direction you want it to end up in. Line up the second fabric on top, and fold back half the top fabric on the diagonal. This shows you what a finished half square triangle will look like, and you can make sure both prints are going the same way. My example is for 2-at-a-time HSTs, but it is exactly the same for 8-at-a-time. As long as both prints line up the way you want them to at the offset, they’ll all directionally match.

Flying Geese: Center is directional

If the center of your flying geese is directional but your points are not, you don’t have to position the smaller squares any particular way. Just make your flying geese like you normally do, and all will be well. Hooray!

Flying Geese: Points are directional

If the points of your flying geese are using a directional print, but your center is not, you’ll want to position your first small square on top of the center square, and fold back half the fabric on the diagonal. Make sure that the print is going the way you want it to go.

Line up the second square below the first, and fold that one back in half as well, you want the fabric of both small squares going in the same direction. Sew these squares using the 4-at-a-time flying geese method.

Once you’ve sewn, cut, and pressed your seam, position the next small square so that when folded in half on the diagonal, the print direction matches the one next to it.

Sew this square down using the 4-at-a-time flying geese method, and repeat the process for the remaining pieces.

Flying Geese: Both center and points are directional

If both the points and the center of your flying geese are using a directional print, you’ll want to start by having the center square facing up, with the directional print right side up the way you want it to end up. Position your first small square on top of the center square, and fold back half the fabric on the diagonal. Make sure that both prints are going the way you want them to go.

Line up the second square below the first, and fold that one back in half as well, you want the fabric of both small squares going in the same direction. Sew these squares using the 4-at-a-time flying geese method.

Once you’ve sewn, cut, and pressed your seam, position the next small square so that when folded in half on the diagonal, the print direction matches the one next to it.

Sew this square down using the 4-at-a-time flying geese method, and repeat the process for the remaining pieces.

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6 thoughts on “Using Directional Prints in Flying Geese & Half Square Triangles

  1. Great ideas and I really appreciate the help with directional prints in flying geese (wings and sky). I guess the only way to make sure all the “geese” go in one direction, say the stripe is perpendicular to the point, is to make them the conventional way one at a time. Can you think of any way to do this 4at a time, other than to end up with 2 sets, one with horizontal strips and one with vertical stripes? Hope I’ve explained this well enough! Thanks.

    1. I can’t think of a way to do what you’re asking with the 4-at-a-time method because of the way it is constructed. You would have to use the conventional way of making them one at a time to get all your geese to face the same direction & have the directional print going the same way.

  2. Thank you for your very clear tutorials about matching directional patterns on FG and matching stripes in binding! Super-helpful!

  3. Hi!
    You did a super job explaining the directional fabrics!
    (So good in fact that I printed it out for future reference… but let’s be honest… I’ll NEVER be able to find it again 🤷‍♀️)
    The only thing I would change is showing what it would look like if it was placed wrong….
    I especially liked showing BOTH being directional fabric 🤯 I would’ve never tried that!
    Thanks! Jeanne

    1. I do that too! Print things and then scour all my piles to find it again! That’s a good point about showing what it looks like if you do it wrong, I never thought about it!

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