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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  1. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply

    amy dunn

    October 13, 2011

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

  4. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  5. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply

    Laura Jane

    October 13, 2011

    That is pretty cool! Impressive!

  7. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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…

    • Reply


      February 4, 2015

      Thanks for this tutorial. I will now try a Y seam whereas I always shied away from them before.

      Also, Kelly, thanks for your comment about the quarter inch mark on the presser foot. My presser foot has one! I did not know that! What a great feature I was missing!

  8. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  9. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  10. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  11. Reply

    Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quitls

    October 13, 2011

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

  12. Reply

    Lyanna L.

    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply

    Darlene Staley

    October 13, 2011

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

  15. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    Dear Faith,

    Very good indeed! Thanks a bunch. Lauren

  16. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  17. Reply

    Sharon T

    October 13, 2011

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

  18. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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.

    • Reply


      October 13, 2011

      Yes! I did it this way too today and it turned out great as well. 🙂

  19. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  20. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  21. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  22. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  24. Reply

    Goddess in Progress

    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply

    Nancy D.

    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply

    Sarah Fielke

    October 13, 2011

    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

    • Reply


      October 13, 2011

      Eek! It’s Sarah! 🙂 Love your book, everything in it is amazing. And now that I can do Y-Seams, I can make a lot more in it. 🙂

  29. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 13, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  32. Reply


    October 13, 2011

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

  33. Reply


    October 14, 2011

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

  34. Reply

    AnneMarie @ Gen X Quilters

    October 14, 2011

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

  35. Reply


    October 14, 2011

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

  36. Reply

    Rachel at Stitched in Color

    October 14, 2011

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

  37. Reply


    October 15, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 15, 2011

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

  39. Reply


    October 16, 2011

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

  40. Reply

    Deb Myers

    October 16, 2011

    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!!

    • Reply


      October 16, 2011

      Not long at all! Maybe 2-3 hours, but that included the learning curve. 🙂

  41. Reply

    Di Gilmore

    October 16, 2011

    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. Reply


    October 16, 2011

    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. Reply

    Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk

    October 16, 2011

    You make it look so easy! Thanks for posting this great tutorial – I pinned it! http://pinterest.com/iftoyscouldtalk/quilting-tutorials-and-tools/

  44. Reply

    Henria O.

    October 17, 2011

    How fun! Great tutorial!
    sazzyfrazz at gmail dot com

  45. Reply


    October 17, 2011

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

  46. Reply


    October 17, 2011

    Thanks for sharing with us ;)..

  47. Reply


    October 17, 2011

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

  48. Reply


    October 18, 2011

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

  49. Reply


    October 20, 2011

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

  50. Reply


    October 21, 2011

    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. Reply


    November 3, 2011

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

  52. Reply


    November 10, 2011

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

  53. Reply


    January 9, 2012

    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. Reply


    January 12, 2012

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

  55. Reply


    January 16, 2012

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

  56. Reply


    February 8, 2012

    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. Reply

    barbara woods

    February 9, 2012

    beautiful block thanks

  58. Reply


    April 6, 2012

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

  59. Reply

    Four Little Munchkins

    April 6, 2012

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

  60. Reply


    May 23, 2012

    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. Reply


    June 28, 2012

    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. Reply

    Peg H

    July 31, 2012

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

  63. Reply

    mary A.

    November 17, 2012

    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. Reply

    Jamie Lee

    December 11, 2012

    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!

    • Reply


      February 2, 2013

      I couldn’t agree more that there are MANY of us that have been searching for this tutorial….Thanks again

  65. Reply


    December 26, 2012

    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! 😀

  66. Reply


    December 28, 2012

    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. Reply


    February 2, 2013

    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. Reply


    February 25, 2013

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

  69. Reply


    February 28, 2013

    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. Reply


    February 28, 2013

    Oops… *now I am armed…

  71. Reply


    March 3, 2013

    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!!

    • Reply


      March 3, 2013

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

      • Reply


        April 17, 2013

        🙂 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. Reply

    Marj Shearer

    March 31, 2013

    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. Reply


    April 22, 2013

    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. Reply


    September 8, 2013

    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. Reply

    Sue R

    September 9, 2013

    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. Reply

    Reena Kaplowitz

    October 2, 2013

    Thanks again for another great tutorial!

  77. Reply


    November 9, 2013

    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. Reply


    November 21, 2013

    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. Reply

    Hildy Schwarz

    November 25, 2013

    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. Reply


    December 9, 2013

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

  81. Reply

    Milagros Rodríguez

    January 22, 2014

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

  82. Reply


    February 27, 2014

    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. Reply


    March 26, 2014

    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!

    • Reply


      March 26, 2014

      Hi Elaine – This triangle is part of a pattern called Jazz Hands from the book Material Obsession 2.

  84. Reply


    July 30, 2014

    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!

  85. Reply


    April 2, 2015

    This makes me a little more confident to try them again-my first time was horrific!

  86. Reply


    August 22, 2015

    After one try I thought life is too short for this and binned it, hahahaha

  87. Reply


    September 30, 2015

    Thank you. Makes a lot of sence.

  88. Reply


    March 20, 2016

    Thank you for clear easy to follow directions. Even I can understand. Thanks again Robyn

  89. Reply


    April 3, 2016

    Do you eyeball the measurements or do u measure and put a dot where to stop. Thanks

    • Reply


      April 4, 2016

      If I haven’t sewn a Y-Seam in a while, I would put a marking.

  90. Reply


    April 20, 2016

    Thanks for the great tutorial, very easy to follow!


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