The Harmont Quilt: Flying Geese Tutorial
This week we are talking all about flying geese with the Harmont Quilt Pattern!!
The Harmont Block my take on the traditional flying geese quilt block. The Harmont Quilt is made entirely by using the four-at-a-time flying geese method.
Harmont Quilt - The Land & Sea One
Okay, before we dive into the sewing tips, let’s talk about this quilt! I partnered with Justine from Great Heron Thread Co., for this pattern release and she pulled together this gorgeous bundle. It’s full of gorgeous colors and fabrics that was giving me a land & sea kind of vibe - there’s manatees and cool aqua tones then there’s butterflies and earthy flowers. A perfect pairing!
If you’ve already picked out your fabrics and are following along, now is the time to think about your final layout of the quilt. For this pattern, you’ll pair up fabrics for the blocks and you’ll want to play around with your pairings and spread them out on a table to give you an idea of how the colors will move throughout your final quilt.
Do you want an ombre effect, a true scrappy mix-and-match look, are you pairing similar colors? For this quilt, I was going for a gradient look where the lightest aqua color was at the top left of the quilt and then fading into greens, blues, pinks, then purple at the bottom right.
I also used two of my go-to money saving tips with this quilt - scrappy binding and using an Ikea duvet for the backing. And can I take a minute to talk about this backing? The print is simple black and white dots, but it is flannel! I love flannel backed quilts, they are so soft and cozy and perfect for cuddling. I know this quilt will quickly become a family favorite and I can’t wait to get it into the washer!!
But, before moving on to the main event - let’s talk about Ikea duvets. They are an amazing way to save money — you get two quilt backings for each duvet and they cost around $20-$30! BUT…you will want to pay extra attention to the materials. I’ve made the mistake of picking out a super cute print only to have a nightmare when quilting due to the substrate. So, the next time you’re at Ikea, take a look at the duvet options and pick up one that is either 100% cotton or cotton flannel and give it a try :)
Four-at-a-Time Flying Geese
Okay, once you are happy with your pairings, it is time to start sewing!! Following the instructions on the bottom of page 5 of the pattern, prepare your large square.
The Four-at-a-Time Flying Geese method uses one large square and four smaller squares to sew up four geese. It is often called the “no waste method” because it literally leaves behind no waste other than a few tiny trimmings.
Once your large square is ready, you will mark diagonal lines on the wrong side of your four smaller squares.
A quick note about directional fabric: When making four-at-a-time flying geese, it is very easy to maintain your directional fabric. While I provide instructions down below, please note that due to how the Harmont blocks are constructed and the block rotation throughout the quilt, the Harmont quilt is not a good candidate for directional fabrics, unless you are okay with it not always lining up.
Once your diagonal lines are marked, you will pin them (right sides together) to opposite corners of your large square, lining up your marked lines. There will be some overlap where they meet — this is what creates your 1/4” seam allowance to give your geese perfect points when sewn together.
Then, you will sew a scant 1/4” seam each side of your marked lines. Once sewn, cut on the marked line and press.
A quick note about pressing. At this stage of the flying geese, I prefer to press my seams open.
Then, pin your other two marked smaller squares to the corners of your two units - again making sure that right sides are together. Then, sew a scant 1/4” seam on each side of the marked lines, cut on the marked lined once sewn, and press.
A quick note about pressing. At this stage of the flying geese, I prefer to press my seams towards the smaller square. I find this helps with nesting the seams on the geese.
Once pressed, trim to your desired size and viola! Four lovely geese and basically no waste!!
Maintaining Direction when sewing your Flying Geese
Okay, so even though I said the Harmont Quilt is not a great quilt to use directional fabrics on - I’m personally okay with a little rotation. That being said, I do like to keep it down to a minimum, if possible. So, for this quilt, if you maintain direction when making your geese, the prints will rotate within the block keeping it down to a minimum.
It is simple to maintain direction using the four-at-a-time flying geese method by paying attention to a couple of details.
- When marking your squares, lay them all in the same direction. Then, mark two squares from the upper left and the other two from the upper right.
- Then, pin and sew the two squares marked from the upper left following the instructions above or in your pattern.
- After you cut along the marked line and press, you will place the two squares marked from the upper right. You can flip the fabric to double check that your directions will line up once pressed open. Then pin and sew following the rest of the instructions.
So, now that you’re a pro at sewing up flying geese - the possibilities are truly endless!
If you’re looking for a bit of extra practice, the Harmont Quilt Pattern uses some large flying geese! It’s perfect for showing off large-scale prints and practicing your geese without having to make too many for a finished quilt.
If you have any flying geese questions this post didn’t answer, I’d love to know!! Share in the comments.