Y is for Y-seam

Y is for Y-seamOn the list of things that quilters have a tendency to run away from is this thing called a Y-seam. I’m here to tell you that they’re so easy to do – when you know how!

The simplest [pieced] quilt is probably one made of squares, all of which are the same size. You stitch two squares together and press the seam to the left. You stitch two more squares together and press the seam to the right. Then you join the resulting two pieces together and the seams – going in opposite directions – lock together. The result is 4 squares that meet with a beautiful matching of corners: 4 pieced seams meeting at an intersection.

If you have 3 pieced seams meeting at an intersection, then you have what is called a “Y” seam. Why is it called a Y-seam? Well, it looks like an uppercase letter Y!

GO! Be Dazzled has Y-seams where the square blocks are set into the diamond blocks:

Go Be Dazzled Y Seam

The small Sedona Surprise quilt has Y-seams where the border outlines the center. Another name for this would be a mitered corner!

Sedona Surprise Y SeamSo how do you stitch these seams?

The secret:
Stitch up to, but not into, the seam allowance at each corner.

Step 1: Mark the seam allowance in the corners of all pieces that will be involved in the Y-seam. The diagram below shows how the corners will eventually come together.

Make a Y Seam 1Step 2: Take the first two pieces and place right sides together. Align the corners of the seam allowance. Stitch between the pink arrows as shown in the diagram below. To make the Y join totally secure, stitch up to the corner and then backstitch for a couple of stitches.

Make a Y Seam 2Step 3: Press the diamond away from the square.

Make a Y Seam 3Step 4: Add the third piece and place on the first piece, right sides together. Align the corners of the seam allowance. Stitch between the pink arrows as shown in the diagram below. To make the Y join totally secure, stitch up to the corner and then backstitch for a couple of stitches.

Make a Y Seam 4

Step 5: Press the diamond away from the square.

Make a Y Seam 5

Step 6: Fold the two diamonds right sides together and stitch from the Y join out along the seam. Be sure to keep the corner of the square free from the seam. To reduce bulk in the Y join, press this third seam open.

The Sedona Star quilt has what could be called Y+ seams! Instead of having 3 seams coming together at a point, there are 4 seams coming together to a point. However, unlike joining 4 squares where all the angles are an equal 90º, in a Y+ seam the angles could all be different. In the case of Sedona Star, there are usually 2 angles the same and 2 different angles.

Sedona Star Y SeamsHow do you handle these Y+ seams? In exactly the same way as a Y-seam: stitch up to but not into the seam allowance at each corner.

Daily Deal

From 12:01am on July 17, 2017 until 11:59pm on July 19, 2017 enjoy 25% off Sedona Star and Sedona Surprise

Enter the promo code “A2Z-Y” at the checkout

Add to CartSedona Star $66.00
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Add to CartSedona Surprise $66.00
(Delivered as a digital download. Optional CD available at the checkout)


What I love about these collections… The Sedona Star quilt was conceived during Spring break of 2013. The girls and I were packing to head up to Sedona for a few days of hiking and relaxing when the phone rang. It was Ricky Tims from The Quilt Show. By the end of the conversation with Ricky, I had agreed to create a brand new quilt which would be used as the 2012 Block of the Month quilt for The Quilt Show.

Sedona Star Quilts

During the drive up to Sedona with my girls, my head was spinning with ideas. I wanted it to be a medallion quilt, and it needed to measure between 80″ and 90″ in both directions. When we arrived in Sedona, the girls got busy while I got out my computer and started trying to capture some of the ideas floating around in my head.

In the beginning, I presented Ricky and Alex (Anderson), the two hosts of The Quilt Show, with 3 different outlines. One was based on an 8 point star, one on a 9 point star and one on a 12 point star. As you can tell, the 9 point star won!

The Sedona Star quilt is packed with opportunities to learn new techniques:

  • Paper piecing
  • Stitching circles into holes
  • Y-seams
  • Appliqué

Over the course of the 12 months of the BOM, there is something new to do each month. If you love a challenge – this is a great quilt for you! It turns out that lots of people loved this challenge – and still do. I wish I had a list of all the Sedona Star Quilts that have been made, entered into competitions and awarded prizes, including blue ribbons and Best of Show awards.

Sedona Star Quilts Google

Results of a Google search for “Sedona Star Quilts”

For The Quilt Show, we decided to make 2 versions of the Sedona Star quilt, one in my favorite “jewel” colors, and one in neutral tones. I invited a long arm quilter that I had just been introduced to to make the second colorway of Sedona Star and what a great job she did:

Lisa Sedona StarLisa Sipes, who made the “other” Sedona Star quilt, had just finished making GO! Be Dazzled when I met her. She did some awesomely crazy trapunto on her GBD quilt which she named Bedazzleder. She also did all of the embroidered appliqué in a hoop the size of a BERNINA Large Oval Hoop – no mean feat! And – I think you can just about see it in the photo below – she added a ton of bling to her quilt!

Lisa's GO! Be DazzledWhere does Sedona surprise fit into the picture?

Ricky and Alex decided that they didn’t want embroidered appliqué on the 2012 BOM quilt. The two original quilts don’t have any – but the embroidery was done in the hoop using an embroidery machine, but just a simple outline.

When word got out about the Sedona Star quilt, people started asking me if I was ever going to design an embroidered appliqué version – and so I did. Hence, Sedona Surprise!

Majestic Sedona by Nancy M. Howell, 2013 AZQG, photo by Quilt Inspiration

Nancy used the Sedona Surprise designs when she created her beautiful quilt, Majestic Sedona, which won Best of Show at the 2013 Arizona Quilters Guild annual show.

In addition to being a gorgeous add-on to the Sedona Star quilt, the Sedona Surprise designs stand happily on their own:

Sedona Surprise

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 weight thread

Sedona Surprise

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 weight thread

A note about Lisa

I was shocked to see some news about Lisa Sipes (the girl who made the “other” Sedona Star quilt) the other day. She was in a horrific train accident and lost a leg. Yes, you read that right. Her left leg was amputated. Despite this, she is still wearing her radiant smile.

Lisa has a Go Fund Me account set up (click here) and if you’re reading this, I would love if you would support Lisa with a donation to help her get through some tough times.

The balance on Lisa’s fund is $19,214 as I’m writing this. If everyone who is participating in the A2Z were to donate just $10, we could more than double that balance.

Last year my elder daughter, Heather, was in the hospital after having emergency brain surgery to remove the blood clot which formed after a ruptured AVM gave her a hemorrhagic stroke. I have personal experience that quilters are the best when one of their own is hurting. So many people contributed to the Go Fund Me account which was set up by one of Heather’s uncles – and that money helped Heather’s Dad and I to make sure that Heather got the help that she needed.

Now Lisa needs our help. Please click here to read her story and contribute to her fund.


  1. alicja malkvist


  2. alicja malkvist


  3. This is my favorite set of designs! They just demand your attention and elicit a smile. Still struggle occasionally with those “Y” seams, though. Prayers for Lisa and all those that struggle with life and a praise for her undaunted spirit!

  4. Yes Sarah you did amaze me . This is the best instructions ever written for a y seam. I love it. I have both of they stunningly beautiful patterns.. they are on my list.. I plan to use my cut work tool to cut the shapes. Thank you so very much Sarah! I love this series

  5. Thank you going to try the Y seam fabulous instruction

  6. I have given her support , thank you

  7. Wow! Excellent explanation! Thank you.

  8. Your instructions are great! You make this “to be avoided” seam something to be tried! Thank you for this and for helping one of our own. Quilters are stitched together!

  9. the explanation you have given makes it all sound so easy. Have to give it a try.

  10. Edna Warkentine

    Are you planning to put all of these instructions in a book?
    They would make for great reference as we sew.

  11. You have the best detailed instructions. I have the Sedona Star from the TQS Bom, just haven’t had time to do it. I still work full time, but one of these days. I think it is a beautiful quilt. So, I will have to buy the Sedona Surprise for the embroidery. Thank you so much for the valuable info you have so generously given us!

  12. Yes, the famous Y seam. Your directions are terrific…clear and concise.
    Both of the Sedona quilts are beautiful.
    My prayers and positive thoughts are with Lisa for her recovery from her traumatic and tragic accident.

  13. Thanks

  14. Thank you for the info regarding Lisa, I’ve donated. Sending her positive thoughts.

  15. Hi Sarah,
    I would like to thank you so much for your generous, informative daily emails and offers. Never has opening an email everyday been so exciting! I have purchased the Sedona Surprise as I started it as BOM with the Quilt Show and got up to the month 10 applique bit… then life got in the way! A few years on I can now finish it with Panache!

  16. Prayers for Lisa’s recovery! Thank you for the “Y” seam info.

  17. Thanks for the tips on the Y seam, prayers for Lisa and this disign is stunning.

  18. Have enjoyed your A2Z emails and the specials am looking forward to doing the designs I have brought . Tank you

  19. I have previously purchased the embroidery software to complete my BOM Sedona surprise. I am only a few months into it, but love it! I am working some black and white into the beautiful jewel tones and will name it Sedona Shadows. Sedona Shadows was the name of the residential area were my parents used to live…..in Sedona!

  20. Your designs are so gorgeous.

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