Flying South for Summer


  • Scraps of patterned red and black fabrics to cut rectangles 2 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2in
  • FQ of plain red
  • 25cm of black and red patterned fabric for borders and backing
  • 20 x 120cm of wadding
  • 70cm of webbing for the straps

Finished Size

6 x 44in plus tying straps

Skill Level


You can download a pdf copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Flying South for Summer

No matter where your holiday is this year, Bognor or Borneo, Newquay or New Zealand do take a photo of your luggage strap and send us a copy.

The Piecing

  • Twenty rectangles 2 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2in from the scraps of red and black patterned fabric
  • Forty 2 1⁄2in squares of plain red
  • One 4 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in strip of patterned red and black for spacer strip
  1. Finger press each square diagonally in half, or lightly draw the line with a pencil.
  2. Put a square RS together on each rectangle and sew on the diagonal line.
  3. Press the triangle open onto the rectangle. See Figure1 for construction details.
Figure 1: Constructing the flying geese
Figure 1: Constructing the flying geese

Note: You would normally cut off the extra background triangles at this point, but we have left them to give added strength to the strap. Repeat adding the second square in the same way. Press as before.

  1. Sew ten geese into a strip all pointing the same way. Make two strips.
  2. Sew a flying geese unit to the spacer strip and add the second unit the other side. Check which direction your geese are flying. These geese fly away from the spacer strip.

TIP! If you need to adjust the size you can add more geese or change the spacer strip.

Borders and Backing

  • Three strips 1 1⁄2in wide from the full width of your fabric
  • One strip 6 1⁄2in wide from the full width of the fabric
  1. Measure the length of your strap and cut two border pieces to this length - you may have to add extra fabric from the third strip. Sew to each side of the pieced centre with RS together and press towards the border.
  2. Measure and sew two pieces for each end in the same way. Press as before.
  3. Cut a piece of wadding to the exact size of the strap and tack carefully. (You are only tacking wadding and flying geese at this stage not the backing).
  4. Cut the webbing in half and tack one piece to each end of the pieced top and wadding. Place the backing RS down onto the strap (the webbing should be inside this sandwich). Sew 1⁄4in seam round most of the outside leaving a turning gap on one long side. Sew the seam again on the short ends to secure the webbing really well.
  5. Turn to the RS through the gap and hemstitch the opening closed. Top stitch 1⁄4in from the edges and add as much quilting as you want. Starr has simply outlined the geese.
  6. For added security you could add a label on the reverse with a contact phone number. Then if you case goes astray, it stands a better chance of finding its way back to you.
Figure 2: Other ideas for straps
Figure 3: Other ideas for straps

First published in Popular Patchwork July 2002