Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Repurpose leftover fabric into easy chevrons

Marny here…I've been working with Flying Geese units lately.  Lots of them!!  My method of choice is to mark appropriately sized squares on the diagonal, orient them correctly and then place them on either end of the rectangle of the goose, stitch on the diagonal line, and cut away the unnecessary portion.  Unfortunately this "wastes" what is essentially an unsewn and imprecise half square triangle unit.  But maybe it isn't so unfortunate afterall…

Here are 24 good sized sets of the aforementioned units.
They are pairs of matched triangles with a 90 degree corner
and a wobbly diagonal cut across them.  
(Unhappily I have 96 small ones waiting to be dealt with too.)

The pieces aren't really precise because they were trimmed an approximate ¼" away from the original stitching line when making the flying geese unit.  The plan is to trim each pair with a single slice.  
(Sewing them together first and then trimming would require more slices using a square ruler and the diagonal seam wouldn't really be a straight one anyway, leading to more problems.)

Chosen corner on the ruler marked with blue painter's tape.  Relying on memory from pair to pair would surely lead to mistakes.

Trimmed each pair.

Chain pieced.

Pressed seams open gently.
Amazingly enough they now measure 5 ½" square.  

Cut a 5 ½" square of a coordinating solid in a different value for each unit.  Drew a line from corner to corner.  It works well to have a light, medium and dark value for this idea to work.

It is important to place the square with the diagonal line on top of the half square triangle unit oriented as shown.

Chain piece again…

…stitching ¼" on either side of the pencil line.

Cut on the pencil line.

Two new units result from each of eight triangle pairs.  One of the units will be like those on the left and the other will be like those on the right.  They are mirror images of one another when placed as above.

Now you can play with the arrangements.  There are so many ways and patterns that might emerge, but for now I wanted to have the added fabric, which in this case is also the darkest, become a chevron.  This layout places the floral on either side of the chevron tips.  It looks ok.

This shows the cream and the floral alternating.  This is too busy and not a clean or graphic enough statement for my taste.

This one has the floral nestled into the chevron valleys.  It is my favorite of the three.  The medium value floral and the darker value green solid seem entwined.  It is only a partial illusion and certainly is not realistic, but my eye doesn't seem to care!

Hopefully I will get to the remaining 16 sets of coordinating triangles and a fun project might result.  I'll keep you posted.  Maybe you have some leftovers or stash you could play chevron with!  

(Not sure if I will ever brave the 96 small pairs sitting on my shelf, but they keep annoying me with their whispers of "waste not want not".)  

Till Tuesday…


  1. Very nifty! Yes, I like the 3rd arrangement best--nested zig-zags. I really like zig-zag quilts--this is going in my line-up of things to try. Thanks much!

    1. Thanks Penny. You'll see I keep working on this in the next post.

  2. Please excuse if this is a repeat. My first comment seems to have disappeared. I like your method for trimming these triangles to size. When I sew a block that results in leftover triangles, I go ahead and sew the second line of stitching before trimming the extra away from the main block. That way I end up with already sewn HST units that just need to be squared up.

    1. Yep. That is certainly a great way to do it. But I just wanted to make a single cut, so I trimmed the two matching triangles along their bias edge, then seamed. That way I just had one slice instead of several.


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