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


  1. 1


    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. 5


    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!

  3. 7


    Great visual! πŸ™‚ 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”? πŸ™‚ It was a “quilt changing” moment for me when someone pointed it out to me…

    • 8


      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!

  4. 13


    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! =)

  5. 19


    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.

  6. 27

    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

  7. 28


    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!

    • 31


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

  8. 32

    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!)

  9. 40


    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 πŸ™‚

  10. 43

    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!!

  11. 45

    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.

  12. 54

    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 πŸ™‚

  13. 57

    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.

  14. 60

    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.

  15. 64


    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!!!

  16. 65


    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!

  17. 67

    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?

  18. 68

    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!

  19. 70

    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! πŸ˜€

  20. 71


    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

  21. 72

    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 πŸ™‚

  22. 74

    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!

  23. 76


    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!!

      • 78


        πŸ™‚ 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.

  24. 79

    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.

  25. 80

    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!

  26. 81

    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!

  27. 82

    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!

  28. 84

    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.

  29. 85


    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! ; )

  30. 86

    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.

  31. 87

    heather says

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

  32. 89

    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

  33. 90

    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!

  34. 92

    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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