Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Metric Flying Geese

This morning as I was eating breakfast and internetting, I found Bonnie Hunter had posted a free quilt pattern that just appealed to me. I sketched the block and made a quick note of the details, and headed off to my sewing room.

The first thing I did was work out what size I wanted to make the blocks - in metric measurements. I don't like inches! The one thing that I wasn't sure about was the flying geese. I wanted to use what is sometimes called the "no waste" method - where you cut one large and four smaller squares, then sew them together and cut them apart in strange ways, to create four flying geese units:
If you've never tried this, do a quick google and you will find heaps of sites with the instructions (in inches).

But I had no idea what sizes those squares should be, or why. I have used this method once before, following a pattern in inches, but I just cut and didn't think then about what was going on with those weird measurements. Today I sat down and worked it out, and felt quite a sense of achievement! Now I can cut any size flying geese units I want, without following a pattern.

Basically, the large square is going to end up cut into four quarter-square triangles, and the smaller squares will each be cut in half to create two half-square triangles. So, if you know the finished size of your flying geese units, you add the appropriate extra seam allowance amounts to cut the squares. For metric patchwork, using a .75mm seam allowance, these numbers are easy to remember:
  • 1.5cm for squares and rectangles
  • 2.5cm for half-square triangles
  • 3.5cm for quarter-square triangles
So, for my 10cm by 5cm flying geese, a large square 10 + 3.5 = 13.5cm, and four small squares 5 + 2.5 = 7.5cm, gave me the four matching flying geese I needed for each block.

At the end of the day, I'd done a lot of cutting, and not much sewing, but I had quite a sense of achievement!

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