I love a Y seam! Spool blocks are full of them, and in preparation for one of our new pattern sets, Rainbow Rack of Spools, Penny and I thought we would give you our Y seam tips and I am up first! Y seams occur when three seams intersect and form a Y shape. You cannot piece Y seams entirely with foundation paper piecing so my preference is for freezer paper piecing. This traditional 'Windblown Star' block has a couple of Y seams in it. Can you see them in the first pic?
They are easier to spot when the block is rotated 90 degrees. I have highlighted one in yellow.
They are a useful way to reduce the number of separate pieces and additional seams in a block. You can see one in the roof/chimney/sky area of this little house- pattern is available in Fat Quarterly Community Retreat issue available here with my detailed 'how to sew Y seams feature'.
There are four Y seams on each of my spool blocks, I have highlighted one here.
They are not hard but they are fiddly and they do call for precise sewing. I use a small stitch, a fine piecing thread like Aurifil 50wt and you will need to secure at the beginning and end of each seam with back stitches. I use my template freezer paper pattern pieced as guides for my seams. You start by piecing the centre of the spool to the spool tops, but look carefully at the seams below.
This is repeated all round the spool until all the outer pieces- the spool top and bottom, plus the side background pieces- are attached making an inner square of seams.
I f you sew a stitch over at a vital intersection, reposition your needle to where you want to be and secure with back stitches, unpick the unwanted stitch. That's how I sew my Y seams. The tick marks are a great help on these. The more you sew them, the better you get- practice as always makes perfect!