A Y-seam is three seams that intersect at one point to form a Y. They can be intimidating or they can be simple. I think it’s all in how you approach it.
Some of the FLOCK blocks may include Y-seams to eliminate unnecessary seams while enhancing the block design or natural bird shapes. If you need it, here is a step-by-step approach to ‘attacking’ the Y-seam.
First, this is where we’re headed. Three seams that come to a point somewhere in the middle of the unit. Depending on the pattern you’re making, your block element may look different from the example below, but the Y-seam concept is exactly the same. This element has another piece missing in the upper right corner that is added later, but adding that piece doesn’t involve a Y-seam.
1) For your FLOCK block, start with the three pre-cut pieces involved in the Y-seam placed on your work table right side down. Keep track of the pieces and thier placement. Upside-down the placement will be reversed.
2) Using a sharp pencil or marking tool and a ruler with an easy-to-read 1/4″ marking. On the back of the fabric, make two small intersecting tick marks at each Y-seam corner.
All three intersections drawn. These short intersecting lines represent the start of your stitching line.
3) Now, flip the pieces back right side up, reversing the arrangement again.
4) Start with the seam between A and B. Place A and B right sides together with the A/B fabric edges aligned, so the markings on B are on top and visible. Use pins to secure the layers if you prefer.
5) Start where the marked lines intersect; sew two stitches forward, then two backward to secure the seam end, then sew to the fabric edge.
Like this. Notice that the seam does not start at the fabric edge, but at the marked intersecting lines (at the end of the arrow).
6) Place the sewn A/B pieces back in position on your work table, so B is right side up next to C. A will be right side down, and the whole arrangement will look a little off. Don’t do any pressing yet.
7) Place C right sides together with B, and align the B/C fabric edges, so the intersecting marks on C are on top. Pull A out of the way of the seam area as best as possible. Use pins to secure the layers if you prefer.
8) Start where the marked lines intersect; sew two stitches forward and two backward, then proceed along the fabric edge. *The seam between B and C will not involve A at all. Only sew through two layers of fabric at all times.*
Like this. Still no pressing yet.
9) Repeat the process with the seam between A and C. Rotate the A and C fabrics into position, right sides together until the A/C fabric edges are aligned. Pull adjacent seam allowances out of the way. Use pins to secure the layers if you prefer.
10) Start where the marked lines intersect; sew two stitches forward then two stitches backward, then sew the 1/4″ seam to the fabric edge. Only sew two layers of fabric at a time. Don’t sew through seam allowances at the center of the Y-seam.
This is the Y-seam from the front at this point. Next: pressing.
11) Place the unit on your ironing surface, right side down. Notice that the seam allowances in the center stick up. As you press each seam – press the seam between A and B toward B; press the seam between B and C toward C; press the seam between C and A toward A (or as directed in the specific pattern) – the center will ‘furl’ or pop open, and flatten.
Like this. . . the seams appear to revolve around the center in a clockwise direction when the unit is right side down. . .
However, when the unit is flipped back right side up, the seams appear to rotate around the center seam intersection in a counter-clockwise direction.
And there you have a Y-seam! That wasn’t so bad, was it?