Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

Y-Seams Tutorial

Two days ago I was looking in the book Material Obsession 2 and I reeeeally wanted to make a block from the Jazz Hands quilt. But…it had Y-Seams. A lot of Y-Seams. I decided to suck it up and try it out. There were a couple handdrawn diagrams for instruction and it took me a bit of time to really figure it out. But I did and then posted about my success on Twitter. Well, as many as three people were interested in a tutorial, so here it is. Ha!

Disclaimer! This is how I personally figured out how to make Y-Seams. I am self taught, I’m sure there are a thousand ways to do this. This is mine.

Y-Seams Tutorial

What is a Y-Seam? Sometimes in sewing, you have three pieces of fabric that need to be sewn together in the shape of a “Y”. Like this:


1. Start by taking the bottom 2 pieces and place them right sides together.

Stitch from the bottom up to the dot in the photo. That dot is a little closer than 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. If you want you can backstitch a bit at the end (I didn’t).



2. Press the seam open. See where you have a bit that you didn’t sew.

3. Now the top portion of the “Y”. We need to sew the top piece to the bottom piece.

Take the top piece of fabric and fold it down right side together with the left portion of the bottom fabric.

4. Stitch down the fabric along the red line above. With your needle in the down position, stop at the red dot on the diagram above. This is the seam line from step 1!

5. Now is where it gets a bit tricky. Leaving your needle in the down position, lift your presser foot. Turn the top fabric so the seam now lines up with the second half of the “Y” you need to sew.

Continue sewing down the rest of the fabric to complete the “Y”.

6. Press the fabric down towards the bottom of the “Y”.

Congratulations! You made a Y-Seam!

And now you can go ahead and make something really cool like this!

Pattern is Jazz Hands from Material Obsession 2

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91 Responses to “Y-Seams Tutorial”

  1. 1
    Teje says:

    Hello Faith! Thank you for showing how you sew this! Looks more complicated than it is! That makes really beautiful ‘flower’ – I shall try this!
    xxx Teje

  2. 2
    Vickie says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am such a visual learner and this looks to be wonderful. I will be savoring later (after work!!) Hugs!

  3. 3
    amy dunn says:

    Hi Faith! thanks so much!! I haven’t tried them yet but it doesn’t seem as intimidating now, pics always help! :)

  4. 4
    Kelsey says:

    What a great tutorial- It’s not nearly as complicated as I thought. And you turned it into a beautiful block!

  5. 5
    Greta says:

    Faith-thank you for taking the time to do this. I’ve see the little hand drawn images before but could never really make sense of that step of turning the fabric to sew the other side. Having the photos is a big help and will be really useful. I love your Jazz Hands Block. That looks amazing!

  6. 6
    Laura Jane says:

    That is pretty cool! Impressive!

  7. 7
    kelly says:

    Great visual! :) Did you know that a lot of sewing machine feet have a quarter inch marking on them that will also help you know where to “stop”? :) It was a “quilt changing” moment for me when someone pointed it out to me…

  8. 8
    Cyndi says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, Faith! I am a visual learner, so your thought out tutuorial with photos is perfect!!

  9. 9
    Gabriela says:

    Thanks for the tutorial doesn’t look as scary as i imagined. just seams u need to go slow :)

  10. 10
    Nancy says:

    I have that book. Jazz Hands is one I want to do too. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  11. 11

    This is fab- thanks so much. Pictures ALWAYS help me. :)

  12. 12
    Lyanna L. says:

    Yay! You honestly have NO idea how hard I’ve worked trying to figure out a dang Y seam! I’m going to give this a try as soon as I possibly can. Thanks! =)

  13. 13
    Heather says:

    Faith, this is very helpful! I haven’t yet encountered the need or desire to do y-seams but I am bookmarking this for future reference.

  14. 14
    Darlene Staley says:

    Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to seeing your quilt finished!

  15. 15
    Lauren says:

    Dear Faith,

    Very good indeed! Thanks a bunch. Lauren

  16. 16
    Billie says:

    Love your block! Looks really more complicated than you make it out to be. Must make it one day.

  17. 17
    Sharon T says:

    Thank you for the great tut. Now, I’m off to find my book!

  18. 18
    Angela says:

    Great pictures – much better than trying to figure out the worded-steps you find so oftern for y-seams.

    The only thing I do differently is that I prefer to stitch with the pieced-pieces on top, since the critical factor is the stopping at the correct spot on those as opposed to the last, solid piece. I can keep track of it best on top and make less bumpy tucks from going too far or short.

  19. 19
    Leslie says:

    Thank you! I have hated these, because I was doing them backwards. Your tut was sooooo helpful!

  20. 20
    Jenelle says:

    Oh! You make it look so simple. The block is stunning.

  21. 21
    Annie says:

    Thanks your making this new quilting obsession of mine so very fun and easy.

  22. 22
    Jeannette says:

    Great idea for a tutorial! I totally could have used that in the improv class… instead, I have a big mess on the back (oh well)

  23. 23
    Mitzi says:

    Your finished block is beautiful. Thanks for the tutorial. You are so good at explaining the steps of sewing.

  24. 25

    Wow, that is a fantastic block! And way to go for making the Y-seam look not so horribly scary. I don’t know if I’m ready to try it, but looking at your pictures, it does make sense!

  25. 26
    Nancy D. says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I’ve had to sew a couple of these and usually end up mangling them and praying they don’t fall apart! lol

  26. 27
    Briana says:

    Great tutorial. This is how I have always sewn Y-seams for both garments and quilts…but I am self-taught, too, so who knows if this is the “official” way to do it!

  27. 28
    amylouwho says:

    awesome! That’s a really cool block too. I have their first book and really like it. I make their Dresden all the time!

  28. 29
    Sarah Fielke says:

    Great tutorial and I’m glad you like my quilt! Have fun and make sure to show a pic of the quilt when you’re finished, I would love to see.
    Sarah Fielke

  29. 31
    Katharine says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. I have problems with Y-seams but your tutorial makes it really clear. (And I love the Jazz hands block. Makes me want to have a go at that block!)

  30. 32
    Jennifer says:

    This is exactly what I needed today! I’m getting ready to sew a y seam on my pillow talk swap project. You rock!

  31. 33
    Vanesa says:

    So helpful! Thanks for the tutorial, I have to try this!

  32. 34
    Rachel says:

    You are such an excellent teacher. Thanks for a cool tutorial!

  33. 35
    Dawn says:

    Nice tut! Thanks for sharing! Like the block at lot!

  34. 36

    Gorgeous block! I’m still scared…but got to just jump in and try it right? Great tute!

  35. 37
    Angie says:

    Girl, this is so good!! And the block is gorgeous. I think I’m going to have to buy this book, too. :)

  36. 38

    And now I do not fear the Y-seam. Why, thanks!

  37. 39
    Darci says:

    This is awesome Faith! Thanks so much I am so ready now to make something with Y seams that I have been wanting to for a long time :)

  38. 40
    susana says:

    primera vez ver tan claro como unirlos.el bloque es hermoso

  39. 41
    Julie says:

    I have that book and I thought your tutorial was very good. Thank you. Now for the time to try it!!

  40. 42
    Deb Myers says:

    you are very, very brave!!! and successfull at “y” seams~!! hooo-rahhh! now, tell your audience (after mastering the “y” seam construction, of course..) how long DID it take you to complete that smashing ‘jazz hand’ block?? WOW-ZER!! that is some sewing!!! congrats to you!!

  41. 43
    Di Gilmore says:

    That is really funny as I was reading ‘Material Obsession’ yesterday evening thinking that I would like to make the Jazz Hands quilt. My problem was that I couldn’t visualise the Y seam. Tonight I read your blog with instructions for a y seam to make the very same quilt. Amazing! Many thanks for the superb photos and instructions.

  42. 45
    Danielle says:

    Whoa. You’ve just opened up a world of possibilities for me. Thank you for making this tutorial! I will try a block tomorrow!

  43. 46

    You make it look so easy! Thanks for posting this great tutorial – I pinned it!

  44. 47
    Henria O. says:

    How fun! Great tutorial!
    sazzyfrazz at gmail dot com

  45. 48

    Very clever! Thanks for the clear, concise pics! Wonderful!

  46. 49
    misty says:

    Thanks for sharing with us ;)..

  47. 50
    Terry says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial…will be extremely helpful when trying a Y-Seam!!

  48. 51
    Winny says:

    Being VERY new to quilting I so appreciate this lesson…thank you VERY much.

  49. 52
    Kathryn says:

    I think I will not shy away from Y-seams now!

  50. 53
    CaroleM says:

    Oh, I HATE Y-seams!! THank you for this. I am book marking it and will remember the next time I run across some in my travels. When I go on shop hops and get patterns with y-seams I actually mark the pattern “y-seam” and each time I come across it I just put it aside “not today”. But I suppose I need to get over that :)

  51. 54
    Xandi says:

    This is incredibly clear and helpful-thank you so much!

  52. 55
    Rachel says:

    Going to try this NOW! Been looking for a good tutorial :) Thanks!

  53. 56
    Natalie says:

    Wow! Love the tutorial. I just purchased the book and was a little intiminated to try that pattern but now I think I can do it. Thanks
    Love your block.

  54. 57
    sarah says:

    Thank you so much !!!!You great work!!!!!

  55. 58
    Sandra says:

    Thanks for showing us how to do that..
    Makiing 7 pointed star at the moment, thiss will help.

  56. 59
    Cauleen says:

    This is great! I can think of tons of situations where this info will be useful. Thanks so much for the clear instructions and pics.

  57. 60

    beautiful block thanks

  58. 61
    Rowena says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful tutorial, I am always looking for a better way to do Y seams. Love the block you made.

  59. 62

    I’ve always wondered about these. Thanks for the tutorial!

  60. 63
    Christa says:

    Thank you for sharing how you did this!! I have read and watched a variety of tutorials online and I like this one the best! It is easy and straight forward! Thank you for sharing!!!

  61. 64
    Cecelia says:

    I love your tutorial, thank you! I have the book Material Obsessions 2 & Material Obsessions Two. I’m so glad to find your tutorial for Jazz Hands. Is there a group that is working on Jazz Hands? Your block is very pretty! Again, thank you!

  62. 65
    Peg H says:

    Wonderful tutorial – thank you so much! I think I can do this now — woo hoo!

  63. 66
    mary A. says:

    Thank you so much! I just cut our all of the kite shaped pieces for that same quilt. Could not quite make out how to do the Y seam. Feel so happy now. Thank you. Any ideas how to cut those shapes quickly?

  64. 67
    Jamie Lee says:

    I think more than 3 people are interested:) I’m doing my first block requiring a y-seam and my first two tries didn’t work out, so I’m so glad I found this! I wasn’t leaving a 1/4″ unsewed, so I will try it again after I take out some stitches. Thanks!

  65. 68
    Julie says:

    Thanks a million for the tutorial! I’ll admit that I’ve read instructions elsewhere plenty of times, but seeing your picture really made it “click” for me. Can’t wait to try it out! :-D

  66. 69
    Teje says:

    Hi Faith! It took this long for me to really make y-seams. I am making a quilt with diamonds and I use the method you show here. Thanks – it works so well but needs patient! x Teje

  67. 70
    Marian says:

    Thanks so much! I have been looking for a good tutorial for this forever! It does look a bit tricky, but is very reader friendly :)

  68. 72
    Kathy says:

    I am all for “self taught”. Thank you for having the patience to make it clear to us.

  69. 73
    Joy says:

    Thank-you so much for the tutorial! I have a quilt that is a bit of a beast with y-seams all over the place. I didn’t realize quite what I was getting into when I started it…but know I am armed with the information to tackle it again and finish it up! Thanks! I also LOVE your blog. In fact, I need to link a picture of a quilt I just finished for my 15-year-old son that I based off of one of your patterns. Thanks for all you do and your creativity!

  70. 74
    Joy says:

    Oops… *now I am armed…

  71. 75
    Connie says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I was stuck with some y-seams on a project on another blog, and not getting anywhere with that tutorial. I was close to just starting over! But a quick search brought me to your blog and and project-saving tutorial! I just have once one question — if you find the bottom leg of the y seam doesn’t match up, do you fix it by machine or by hand? Thanks again!!

    • 76
      Faith says:

      I rarely do anything by hand, so I would do any fixing by machine. :)

      • 78
        Connie says:

        :) Makes sense! It was a bit easier for me to sew them together by hand than to try and get my machine to do what I wanted. Thank you again for the tutorial, it really helped me. I’m linking to it in my post dated 4-17.

  72. 77
    Marj Shearer says:

    wow I am so glad I found this Website. I am assemblying the candy pinwheels quilt and was having trouble with the ‘y seams’. I am a new quilter and need specifics. The directions in the magazine were too vague. Thank you.

  73. 79
    Tina says:

    Thank you for this wonderful toot with clear pictures. I am working on a Lone Star, and will need to do a “Y.” Your instructions are clear- love the red lines, and the detailed instruction such as not to sew all the way to the end (your step 2 above), and your close up pix. THIS is the way tutorials should be presented!

  74. 80
    Cindy says:

    I did not even know what a Y seam was until I saw this tutorial, and now I feel like a master of Y seams! Thanks so much for the excellent lesson!

  75. 81
    Sue R says:

    Your tutorial is great but have you tried Y seams by hand …………very easy once pieces marked with seam lines and very relaxing. Possible to make a block very quickly and it is all very portable for sewing where your machine can’t go!

  76. 82
    Reena Kaplowitz says:

    Thanks again for another great tutorial!

  77. 83
    Sabra says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. Making inset tumbling blocks & your method is so much easier & looks so much more professional. Can’t wait now to do the blocks.

  78. 84
    Elaine says:

    Only three people? Ha! Look at us now, finally putting on the big girl pants to try a Y seam after all the “bad talk.” You made it super easy! And your fabric selection is easy on the eyes! ; )

  79. 85
    Hildy Schwarz says:

    You make it look so easy. I think I am going to haveto try ythis. I, also, want this book. The block you made is beautiful.

  80. 86
    heather says:

    thank you tons! i’ve been contemplating just investigating Y seams & you’ve made it “easy.” thanks so much! :)

  81. 87

    Gracias, muy bueno el tutorial soy nueva en esta área y me sirve de mucho porque está muy bien explicado.

  82. 88
    Nicola says:

    Thank you soooo much for taking the time to post: I love that quilt, but have been much too chicken to try it!! x

  83. 89
    Elaine says:

    This y seam triangle looks like so much fun( after easy to understand tutorial) but I am wondering what the name of the triangle used is called.
    Thanks for the great tutorial!

  84. 91
    Trudy says:

    Thank you for taking the time to show how to sew the Y seam. I am new to quilting and this will help me in the future as well as with sewing other things. You are the greatest!

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