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Dottie pinwheel block with one-seam flying geese!

Hi there and welcome to The Crafty Quilter! My name is Julie, and I am so excited to be participating in the Dots on Dots Blog Hop.

If this is your first time here, you’ll find some great tutorials, a few good recipes and a tip or two to help your quilting and crafting go a little smoother.

I love anything and everything craft-related, but my true love is quilting.  I have been quilting for 14 years and I work and teach at a local quilt shop, The Granary, in Sunnyvale, California.  I have four children (2 still at home), 2 cats, 1 dog, 1 tortoise and my husband and I just celebrated our 28th anniversary!

My project is a 12 1/2″ (unfinished) pinwheel block made with lots of dots!  The “kicker” is the flying geese unit – it’s made with just ONE seam.  I can’t wait to show you how easy it is.

To start you’ll need to cut the following pieces for one block:

  • Light fabric: (12) 2 1/2″ squares: (8 for the flying geese and 4 for the corner squares), and (4) 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles
  • Dark fabric:  (4) 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ rectangles, (4) 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles


One-seam flying geese instructions (I’m switching colors on you):

1.  Start with (2) 2 1/2″ squares of light fabric and (1) 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle of dark fabric.  Fold the rectangle in half, forming a “short” square:

2.  Sandwich the folded rectangle in between the two 2 1/2″ squares so that the fold of the rectangle is along the top and the raw edges along the bottom and both sides are even.  The folded edge of the rectangle should be 1/4″ down from the top edges of the 2 squares.

3.  Pin along the right edge and sew a 1/4″ seam from the top edge to the bottom.


4.  Unfold the top square, exposing the folded rectangle inside.  Using your fingers, spread the rectangle bottom edges from left to right forming a triangle.  Press. (I pressed mine so that the seam allowance in the back is pressed open).

Voila! A flying goose using just one seam!  It should measure 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″.  This technique creates a dimensional flying geese unit and once it’s sewn into the block, the bottom edge will be secured.

Make 4 flying geese units.

Now let’s make the pinwheel block:

5. Stitch a 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ light rectangle to a flying geese rectangle.

6. Press toward the plain rectangle.  Repeat for a total of 4 units which should each measure 4 1/2″ square.

7.  Arrange the 4 units as shown below:

8.  Pin each of the two units together, making sure the diagonal folds of the flying geese line up.  Pin and sew.

9.  Press towards the lighter half:

10.  Join the two rows together, making sure the center seams match up.

11.  Press.  I pressed mine so that one side of the seam went up and the other down.  This causes the four seams that converge in the center to spiral and they lie flatter.

12.  Add the corner squares and rectangles to complete block:

If you’re like me, you may have a wee bit of polka dots in your stash.  I think we should use up some more of those dots, don’t you?

If you’d like to make this block into a cute little baby blanket, you’ll need to make 4 pinwheel blocks and add some sashings and borders.  Here’s what mine looks like:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sashing (black dot):  1/3 yard; cut into (12) 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangles
  • Corner stones (multi dot): 1/8 yard (or scraps); cut into (9) 2 1/2″ squares
  • Flange (red dot): 1/8 yard; cut into (4) 7/8″ wide strips
  • Outer Border (large multi dots): 2/3 yard; cut into (4) 4 1/2″ wide strips
  • Corner Squares (orange dot):  1 fat quarter; cut into (4) 4 1/2″ squares

Because of the colors in my border fabric (the large multi dots), I needed to add some red and orange to my quilt top.  I decided to go with a flange to get the red accent and orange in the corner squares.

If you’re not sure what a flange is or how it’s done, you can take a look at an earlier tutorial I did for adding a flange.

Steps for Dottie Pinwheel Baby Quilt:

1.  Arrange 4 pinwheel blocks, sashing and corner stones as shown below (minus cute dog):

2.  Sew pieces into rows and press towards black dot (sashing) fabric.

3.  Sew rows together:

4.  Add flange using the (4) 7/8″ wide strips.  See my tutorial here for complete instructions.

5.  Add borders and corner squares.  I always cut my borders to fit my quilt top, rather than sewing on a long strip of fabric and lopping off the excess.  The way I do this is by taking 2 border strips and laying them across the center of the quilt top, lining up the raw edges on the left side.  On the other side, use a small cutting mat and ruler to cut the excess border length, even with the right edge of the quilt top.

Since we’re adding corner squares, you’ll need to repeat that process for the other two sides.

6.  Lay out your pieces: quilt top, borders and corner squares.  Sew together the side borders with the quilt top and the top/bottom borders with the corner squares.

7.  Press all seams towards the border fabric.  Attach top and bottom border units, making sure to match seams at the corner squares.

You’re finished with the quilt top!  It should measure 38″ square.  Add your favorite batting and backing (minkie or flannel, perhaps?) and quilt this puppy!  I stopped at phase 1 – piecing the quilt top.  I’m a stinker that way 🙂


I hope you’ll follow along on our “hop” and visit today’s other participants.  Here is the line-up:

September 13th

For the full schedule, click on the link below:
Sew we quilt
Thanks for joining me today!  I hope you’ll come back to visit again soon!

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  1. Hi~ Great tutoirial, but I am wondering how the point on the finished flying geese stays down when in the quilt? It doesn’t look like you sew it down.

    1. Hi Patsy, the point on top is caught in the seam allowance, so it’s automatically sewn in when you stitch your one seam. The bottom edge is loose until you sew it into an adjoining seam. I find that it stays in place just fine when I pin my seams before stitching.

  2. Wow, Julie, your block is amazing! I could not fathom how the heck you’d make a flying geese square with one seam, and you made it look so easy! Thank you for making a tutorial–a picture is definitely worth a thousand words!

  3. Julie,

    Thanks for the lovely tutorial. Of course, I love dots and I think even more I love finding a new way to do soemthing. I love the one seam flying geese and, to top it off, they’re dimensional! Oh, wonderful! Simple and a bonus. What more could one ask for – more fabric? Again, thank for participating and sharing with us.

  4. I can’t wait to get home and try the flying geese technique. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the project and the tut.

  5. Good morning Julie, I love all your dots, every last one of them. The quilt is adorable. I am definitely going to try that pinwheel technique. Thanks for the inspiration and the excellent tutorial. Happy stitching, Pauline

  6. Love this technique for making flying geese. Is there a formula for making other sizes? Am definitely following your blog from now on.

    1. I have to test my formula out first, but I’m working on a chart to make the other sizes. Thanks for following along!

  7. I love everything about this quilt! Pinwheels are just darling, the bright colors are stunning, and the execution of the blocks, sashing, borders, etc. are amazing. Thanks for the tut cuz I know I want to try my hand at this quilt.

  8. A very very crafty tip on flying geese that I’ve never seen before. I admit it will take me several readings of your instructions to get it down in my head. Super cute dotty blocks
    Gmama Jane

  9. What a great baby quilt. I love the one seam/3 D flying geese. It makes the pinwheels so special. Thank you for such a well written tut.

  10. Thanks for the great tutorial for the 1 seam flying geese. I have never seen this before but will be printing this off so I have it the next time I need it.

  11. What a darling quilt! The colors are great and I love the 3-D pinwheel. I have made the flying geese with one seam once, but the pinwheel is adorable. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  12. I love your flying geese instructions! So simple! Your quilt top looks great. I definitely would like to try this!

  13. Oh Julie, I am so in love with your block and quilt! The colors are perfect! I especially love the pink, to you happen to know what line it is from?
    Thank you for the amazing tutorial, I know it took a long time to put together. I am grateful and will be trying this method.

  14. Hi Julie- Stopped by The Granary on the Shop Hop recently. I love your 3-D flying geese (thanks for the tutorial) and the baby quilt. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thank You So much for sharing how to make the one seam flying geese!
    I have always had trouble making flying geese as mine seem to come out wonky. I have to cut them a bit larger and then trim them down but then I lose the 1/4″ seam allowance for joining and the point tips are cut off! I bookmarked you in my favourites and I won’t be so anxious
    about making flying geese. Have to go practice. Thanks again!

  16. Your tutorial makes me want to make some flying geese. Your blocks and quilt (plus that cute puppy) are just beautiful! Thanks for hopping with us! :O)

  17. I’ve never tried the flying geese, maybe this tutorial will give the the extra push. Love your dots. This dot blog along is reminding me of my childhood. Poke-a-dot dresses and the yearly Swiss dot dress for Easter, getting to go shopping with mother to pick the perfect color for that years dress..and then I turned 11 and that became baby material.

  18. Your dog does what our dog does best. Sleep.!!! Love the bright colors and your tutorial thanks for sharing your talent.

  19. Thanks for the great tutorial. The instructions and pics you showed make it look so easy to do! Love the quilt…..I love dots!

  20. WOW – thanks for the great tutorial!! I saw this years ago – but promptly forgot about it! I’ve put it in my favorites and will make one pronto! At least the top! So you are also a “topper”! I guess I should change my being a “quilter” to a “topper”! Oh well – some day I’ll get them all quilted!! Thanks for sharing!!

  21. Hi Julie, Thanks for showing the technique – very cool and your blocks are darling. Looks really good with the black dots. Enjoyed your vacation pics below this post! Looks like you had a great time.

  22. What a wonderful quilt, and thanks for the great tutorial. I had forgotten about the one-seam flying geese and your tutorial was a wonderful reminder. I didn’t realaize how many dots I had until I joined this hop and I put all of mine in a basket. Of course, I look at your fabric and say to myself “have that one, and that one, and that one…..” We must both have good tast. 🙂 Thanks again!

  23. I think this quick is adorable and really fits the theme! Fun way to make the flying geese too! Thank you for blessing me with some inspiration today!

  24. Beautiful baby quilt! Love your tutorial. I will try this out today. I love to learn something new. I am new this quilting (2-years). Beautiful fabric. Thanks for sharing today….Judith, Texas

  25. This is one of my favorite methods of flying geese. Isn’t that quilt just adorable? Love the little flange that gives such a cute frame around the blocks – sweet!

  26. Oh Julie! Your blocks and the baby quilt are beautiful!. I haven’t seen the ‘geese’ blocks done like this before so thank you for sharing the tutorial. Sometimes I lose my points when I make this block, so I think this way is so much better.You did a fantastic job.

  27. Beautiful quilt and good idea to make the flying geese units. I never saw them turned into pinwheels before. And all those colorful dots are so much fun.

  28. Great tutorial,it`s the first time I see this way to sew flying geese and sure I`ll try it.
    Your blocks are fantastic and your quilt is absolutely fabulous.Love your dotties fabrics choice.Great jog done!!

  29. Great tutorial! Your baby quilt looks stunning and it’s so cool how you posted a pic of yourself holding it! It must be bliss to still have two children at home:) I have three little girls and am thinking of having one more kid because I want to make sure at least one of my children make it home for Thanksgiving every year. Have a great day!

  30. LOVELY contribution Julie..most deserving well you have to hop over to see…
    your tut, your pics your dots..yes you certainly got the memo…lol love your dog taking a nap and your frog…very cool…

  31. I have seen this one seam process before but yours is so clear. I want to share it tomorrow on my “Friday Finds” post. I will be crediting you and sharing one photo from your blog post. Thanks so much for making flying geese easier for others. And, I must be the only person who doesn’t have a stash of DOTS!

  32. What a lot of dotty fabric you have!
    I love flying geese but I haven’t come across this method of making them before!
    Thank you for sharing!

  33. What a fabulous quilt and tutorial – thanks for sharing! I was in California earlier this year but dont think I visited a quilt shop in SunnyVale – shame as you would have remembered me if I did as I went around squealing with delight at all the lovely fabrics!

  34. What a cute project! I loved your tutorial. I think I’ve been to the shop you work at in Sunnyvale, is it by the library? My friends live there and we spent the weekend with them last summer.

  35. Hi from one CA gal to another! Love you dotty baby blanket. Looks like you puppy was a big help. Thank you for sharing all the tutorials.

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