This is my absolute favorite way of constructing half-squares and flying geese, especially if you have to make 288 half squares, like I’m currently doing. (ugh, why did I count them?) I love that this method doesn’t require you to draw diagonal lines on the back of all your squares. This method does require a little concentration and careful sewing, but if you take it slow, even a beginner will have no problems.
First step: Place your needle in the center stitch position, the default for most machines. If your machines has one, attach a center-piecing foot (a foot that has a visible center opening or mark. If you happen to own a Baby Lock, it will be the “N” foot) Using painter’s tape or post-it notes, mark a visible center line from the needle down. Be sure not to cover the feed dogs.
Note: I prefer painter’s tape over post-it notes because it is longer-wearing, but I made do with what I had.
Continue the marking all the way to the edge of your sewing machine. If your machine doesn’t have a lot of space in front of your needle (at least 4″ – 5″) this technique doesn’t work as well.
Before you start sewing your blocks, gather a piece of scrap fabric, place it under your foot and sew off the edge of the scrap. If your machine has a “pivot” function (lowers the needle and raises the presser foot every time you stop sewing) I recommend you turn it on.
Obviously, our scrap has been well-used! DO NOT cut your threads after sewing on the scrap. You will be using a technique called “chain piecing” Starting with a scrap like this is especially useful when sewing flying geese and half squares, because it helps to prevent the starting corners of your fabric from getting “eaten” by your sewing machine.
Layer your fabrics right sides together. Position the corner of the fabric that you wish to start sewing on directly in front of the needle (A). Line the fabric up so that the bottom corner of your squares (if you’re making half-squares) or the bottom intersection of your square and rectangle (if you’re making flying geese) is lined up with the center marking (B).
Start sewing. As you sew, don’t look at the needle. Just keep your eye on the bottom point, and make sure it’s staying even with the line you made on your machine.
Once you have finished your seam, DON’T cut the threads. Position your next square so that the starting corner is again lined up with the needle, and the bottom corner is even with the center line.
Continue chain piecing until all of your half squares/geese are finished.