Tips & Lessons

Set-In or Y-Seams (Old)

Not all patchwork patterns can be assembled with continuous straight seams. Sometimes a piece has to be set in. The most important consideration when setting in pieces is that you must stop all stitching at the place where the seam allowances on the pieces cross, thus allowing an opening so the fabrics can be set in smoothly and without puckers.

Begin by marking the places on each piece where the seam allowances cross. With right sides together, pin the piece to be set in to one of the adjacent pieces, matching the marks at the seam intersections.

Hand Sewing

Sew from the raw edge toward the set-in corner. As you approach the corner, pull the seam allowances to the left and stitch just to the corner dot. To insure a tight intersection, take a back stitch with the needle coming up right at the dot (Diagram 1.) Do not cut the thread.

Pivot the piece being set in and pin it to the next piece, as shown in Diagram 2. Continue sewing the seam from the corner out, stopping at the mark along this sewing line.

Machine Sewing

Sew from the raw edge toward the set-in corner. Stop stitching exactly at the dot and backstitch several stitches. Remove from machine.

Now, align the raw edges of the seam to be sewn and pin. Start at the dot (where you ended your last seam), lowering your needle exactly into place. The needle should pierce only the two pieces to be sewn; make sure that the seam allowances are out of the way. Sew a few stitches, then backstitch. Sew the rest of the seam.