Monday, October 03, 2011

Why, oh why - how to sew Y seams

I spent a good part of today working on stitching a top as a sample for the local shop I work at. It was a beauty, but it was very involved and used about a bazillion (yep, I counted them) Y seams. It was a lot of work, but finished up well. I am really glad that I have accomplished learning how to do a Y seam well.

Since I forgot to take a picture of that, I thought I would post a tutorial today on how to make a Y seam (and I'll post a picture of the sample later this week after I can take a picture of it). For my tutorial I thought I would show the traditional way of stitching a Bow Tie Block. You can see a lot of these on the Internet, but they are mostly made using squares and triangles. I learned how to make it using templates and Y seams.

First of all you need to make your templates. You can use stiff cardboard, but I like the template plastic. I used the pattern for Magic Circle/Bowtie from the Complete Quilters Guide. (This is a wonderful book, well worth owning, though it's not new) You can find a pattern online here: -it's a 12 inch block. Mine is a 6 inch pattern.
After you have your templates finished, you need to mark your fabric. Mark two bowties and a knot on your main fabric, and two bowtie background pieces. Cut them out with your scissors, just for traditions sake!
Mark your pieces 1/4 inch from the edges - I just mark the light fabric and always sew with this side up. You will sew the center square to each of the bow tie sections - start with the white ones, and sew from one dot to the next, not stitching into the seam allowances.

Add the two print sections to the center, this time I sew on the square knot section, stitching between the previously stitched lines and not stitching into the seam allowances. I like to backtack at each end, to secure the stitching, but am very careful not to stitch beyond the first stitching lines.
Finally stitch the short seams from the center square to the outside edges. I prefer to sew from the marked dot out to the outside edge of the block. This way any excess fabric doesn't end up bunching in the Y and can be trimmed off when I square up my block.
Here you are - one perfectly sweet little bow tie block! I think I'll quilt this one up into a little mug rug. Perfect for fall!

Give this block a try, it's a nice way to learn those Y seams!

In stitches,



rooee said...

great tute!

OliveStreetStudio said...

OOOO - I'm going to have to try. I have a Bow-Tie quilt 1/2 done for my hubby, but I used squares - then put 4 squares together for one quilt block.....