February 04, 2012

Y-Seam Free Lone Star Trick

Y-Seams, who wants them?  Why make them on purpose?  I see neither friend nor foe when sewing Y-seams, but they are rather fussy, so I say, Why sew them if you don't have to?  This little tutorial is all about how to sew your beautiful Lone Star aka Bethlehem Star without Y-seams.  

Step 1: Have all eight of your Lone Star Diamond Pieces finished. Also have your background pieces cut.  Your pattern should give you tips for knowing what size to cut your background pieces. Now fellow quilters, I know you can't stand it and want to sew this star together already, but I assure you if you do that you'll be following those directions of yours and come to a Y-Seam before you know it.  If you'd rather not do that lay your star out on the floor or your design board  now to your star add your background pieces.  If a diamond just isn't seeming to want to line up you can try moving it to another location, often that will help, or if you star is a radiant star like mine is - aka both ends of your diamond are the same you can actually try flipping the diamond around so the outside most point is now in the center.  I found that helps quite a bit.

Is your layout beautiful?  If yes grab your top left square and your uppermost left diamond.  We're going to work around this quilt in a clockwise fashion.  Reverse is good too, just remember that you reversed it.  Now you see that lovely little drawing I have for you?  Sew that first background piece to the first diamond piece, right there on the teal line.  Looking at the picture note that you need to start sewing by lining up the bottom of the square to the inner point of the diamond, that way any extra fabric in your background pieces will be towards the outermost part of your quilt. Iron as desired.  Do this four times placing the diamond + square piece back into your layout when finished.
Step 2:  Now take down the second diamond and the diamond + square piece.  Pin the two diamonds together, taking care to line up the seams just as you did earlier when piecing your small diamonds.  Do not worry about the square, simply let it dangle free for a minute.  Sew along the blue line.  Stop.  Fuss with your fabric a bit and align the second diamond to the second side of the square square pivot the foot of your machine and begin sewing along the red line.  Do this four times with your other pieces.  Returning each newly sewn piece to your star layout as you go.
Step 3: This will work if you're using diamonds on the sides or if you are using squares on the sides.  The shape makes no difference.  My directions will show you using a diamond as that is the most common.  Take your first double diamond + square piece and your first triangle background piece.  Pin and sew from the right angle of the triangle to the outermost point of the star as shown with the green line on the left.  Do this four times.  Do not worry about the dangling edge of the triangle we will take care of that and wrap up this star in the next step.  Return your pieces to your layout.  Can you believe it, your star is a mere four pieces already!
Step 4: From your layout remove your first double diamond + square + triangle piece, as well as your second.  As in step 2 pin your small diamonds carefully, leaving the triangle to dangle.  Now starting at the centermost point of the star and sew along the red line.  Stop, align the loose flap of the triangle to the diamond and sew the purple line.  Do this four times and your star will be all sewn together without a single Y-seam.  Now aren't you glad you decided to create a Lone Star Quilt?

I actually only started this star at the end of December, and I'm using a free strip pieced method that I found and you can get it here.  If you'd like to see my past progress just click here and scroll down though my Lone Star Quilt posts.


QuiltSue said...

I think I've got it. I'll have to go through this again when I'm not tired, but thank you so much for trying to help me avoid the dreaded Y-seam!

stitchinpenny said...

I am not trying this, actually I am convinced my personality type would never allow me to attempt any part of this quilt. I have enjoyed living vicariouly through your journey.

Dana Gaffney said...

I'm coming back to this when I get my Lone Star going. I'm not crazy about Y seams, I always seem to mess us the first one before I remember how. Thanks.