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Conquering the Y-seam

I don’t know about you, but my first opinion of a Y-seam was disbelief. I saw it. Broke it down in my mind and moved on. I didn’t want to do it and I didn’t think I could do it. It wasn’t until I entered the Modern Quilt Guild color challenge back in 2018 that I decided that I would attempt the technique. I was surprised by what I found and grew to love them. Let’s explore a few patterns that use them and debunk the myth that Y-seams are hard.

What is a Y-seam? When three seams come together instead of the usual two or four, a Y-seam formed. It is very literal. The shape of the seams looks like a Y.

Conquering the Y-Seam Technique

Understanding the Basics: Before diving into Y-seam patterns, it’s essential to understand how they are created and why. Because it is an odd number that doesn’t line up normally in a straight line, we are not able to sew to the edge of the fabric. That makes leaving ¼” of your seam unstitched essential. That way your seam can come together. This makes seam allowance very important. One way you can conquer this issue is by marking where ¼” is. I have done this and then I realized that my ¼” foot is perfect for Y-seams. Below is a video that shows you how you can use your sewing machine as a guide for making the perfect Y-seams.

Take your time: LOCK YOUR SEAMS. Make sure your starting point is correct and then dig in and go through the process. You can only pin one Hexagon at a time. Shift your fabrics so they are flat. Line up the two hexagons you are working on and pin them in place. Then, make sure your fabric’s edges are also lining up. Stitch. Stopping ¼” away from the edge of your fabric, leaving the needle down. Shift the fabric so they are flat…. And repeat the process until you get to the end of the row.

Still not feeling comfortable? Lock your seams and pull it off your machine. Pin the next hexagon seam. Put it back under your needle with everything nice and neat. Start your stitch before the seam allowance, lock your stitch and sew the next seam. Lock your seam and pull it off again. It is a simple and repetitive process. You can do this!

Three Patterns That Use Y-Seams

Stars in Pieces Quilt: This modern quilt pattern features diamond-shaped blocks that dance in and out of the shape of a star, creating a stunning visual effect. Y-seams are used to join the diamonds and the rows and columns. Columns?

Inflorescent Quilt: This is a modern take on a hexagon flower garden quilt. Y-seams are to make this quilt a quick and fun make. They are used when sewing the hexagons into rows and columns.

YoYa Quilt: This was my very first Y-seam pattern. It has a modern and simple feel, yet there are so many shapes that can be found within the quilt: hexagons, Hexi Flowers, Ys, and lines. Y-Seams are used when sewing the hexagons into rows and columns.  

In conclusion, Y-seams need not be feared but embraced as a valuable technique in quilting. By understanding the basics, practicing, and exploring different patterns, you’ll soon discover the joy of quilting with Y-seams. So go ahead, conquer the technique, and let your creativity soar!

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