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 HOW DO YOU
SEW A MITERED CORNER?

How do you sew a mitered corner?  To learn how to sew a mitered corner is a matter of following step by step through the how to sew proceedures.


What is a mitered corner?

A mitered corner is a corner that is cut and pieced together to form an angle. Usually, we think of mitered corners in terms of right angles or ninety degree corners made from two forty five degree corners or a sixty and thirty degree corner joined to form a right angle. Actually, a mitered corner may be a variety of different angles. If we form a hexagon with our fabric, the angles are each cut and pieced to form sixty degree angles. If all the angles are equal, it is generally easy to calculate the angles by dividing the number of angles into the full circle of three hundred sixty degrees or some proportionate part such as the ninety degree or one hundred twenty degree angles. Hence, the hexagon with six distinct angles (360 divided by 6 equals 60 degrees).

Not all right angled corners are mitered. A corner where fabric pieces butt up against each other to form a right angle without having been cut and pieced to form the angle is NOT a mitered corner. When a corner is made by simply folding over the fabric to form an angle, it is Not a mitered corner. You may find non mitered corners everywhere: upholstery, dressmaking, crafting, and quilting.

How do you sew a mitered binding?

A binding is a piece of fabric used to wrap the edge of something. Commonly, after a quilt is finished, a binding will be applied to its raw edges to give it a finished look.


To make a mitered binding, it is handy to use a Binding Miter Tool® to measure, cut, and shape the corner. The tool can be used to form perfect ninety degree for right angled squares and rectangles, 120 degree hexagons, and 135 degree octagon and tablerunner angles. You can find this tool at your local sew and quit store or online at www.sewinganswer.com.

Step One: Measure the length and width of the project. For accuracy measure down the center (top to bottom and side to side) instead along the edges. While the edges may stretch, the center of the quilt will retain the overall measurement more accurately.

Step Two: Cut the binding strips. Sometimes the binding is cut on the straight of the fabric, and sometimes it is cut on the bias of the fabric. For the crisp corners, cut the strips from the lengthwise grain, because it stretches the least. When added stretch is needed, bias binding may be used. Bias binding is made by cutting the fabric on the diagonal in strips, and it may be purchased as a bias binding tape already cut. Cut the strips 2 ½” to 3” wide depending on the thickness of the item being bound and how much seam allowance you desire.

Step Three: Lay the binding strips end to end and sew them together to form one long ribbon of fabric long enough to cover each side of the quilt or item being bound plus two inches for play.

Step Four: Since the purpose of the binding is to envelope the raw edge of the quilt or project, the binding strips will be folded down the middle wrong sides together. Press the strips to form a neat fold half the original width.

Step Five: Lay the binding strip face to face with the fabric edge of the quilt. Make sure the raw edges of the project are even with the binding strip, and sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Start the seam one quarter inch in from the edge of the project on both beginning and end. Leave about an inch of extra binding on each end of both beginning and end as well.

Step Six: As you work from one side to the next, just leave the trailing binding overlapped one on top of the other. Mark end of the seam with and across the folded edge of the binding.

Step Seven: Place the Binding Miter Tool® so that the point of the tool is centered on the binding with the right leg of the ruler following the line of the fabric. To determine the correct angle to follow using the Binding Miter Tool®, place the tool on the corner of the project and move it around until the angle matches the corner of your project.

Step Eight: Mark the placement of the tool by drawing around the tip creating a stitching line.

Step Nine: Stitch along the lines you just marked.

Step Ten: Trim off the excess binding.

Step Eleven: Use the point of the tool and turn the binding inside out and shape the corner.

Step Twelve: Top stitch to finish the binding process all the way around the project. If you prefer, you may hand sew the binding using a whip stitch.

The finished result is a beautifully bound quilt, blanket, or project with neat mitered corners.


How to you sew a mitered border?

A border is a fabric designed to frame a quilt block or around the outside of a quilt. It is usually made of strips of fabric sewn to the block or quilt and to each other. The strips may simply meet with two fabrics butting against each other one longer than the other, but frequently, a mitered border is desirable.

Below is a family heritage picture quilt where the a narrow border and a wider border are both mitered to form a frame around the body of the quilt. It is finished with a mitered binding.

To illustrate the techniques needed to sew a mitered border, we will start with a finished block from an Attic Window Quilt Design.

The inner border has already been applied in using a method in which the side borders and crossing borders simply form butt end joint with quarter inch seam allowances.

To sew a mitered corner in a border, simply overlap the two pieces of border where they meet, mark, cut each border piece on a forty five degree angle, and join the two pieces by sewing them together. Here a detailed step by step description of how to sew mitered corners in borders.

Step One: Measure accurately. Measure across the center of the height (top to bottom) and width (side to side). The edges or sides tend to stretch giving inaccurate measurements. If needed square the block so the sides are true and straight. Be sure to measure across both horizontally and vertically.

Step Two: Select the right fabric for your borders. It may be a contrasting color, print, or texture, but it is important to choose the border you think will look good framing your quilt or block.

Step Three: Cut border strips. Borders should be cut along the lengthwise grain of the fabric . Unlike bindings, borders do not generally need the added stretch inherent in bias cuts. (Crosswise grain also has more stretch than the lengthwise grain, but less than the bias.) The size of your border will depends on how wide you want your border to be. Add about one quarter inch to the width for each seam allowance. (Allow one half inch overall seam allowance to join fabric with other borders, blocks, or bindings.)

Step Four: Cut the border length of the strips to include the length of the side it will cover, plus double the width of the border (half for beginning and half for end), and add an extra four inches (half for beginning and half for end). Make sure you have enough length to conveniently make the mitered corner. If you cut it too short, you will need to cut a brand new piece. If it is cut a little long, it is ok because you can always trim the excess.

Step Five: Layout your border along the edge of the quilt or project by starting in the middle. Measure the side. Divide the measurement by two. Mark the center of the side with a marking pen, chalk, or pin. Fold the border fabric in half lengthwise to find its middle and align the border with the side or your project.

Step Six: Lay your border fabric on the quilt right sides together with the quilt face up. Attach the centers with a pin. Finish attaching the border to the quilt top leaving the trailing ends overlapping the perpendicular borders as they meet. From the end of the quilt top mark a quarter inch seam allowance on both the quilt top and border at beginning and end of the seams.

Step Seven: Begin working on each corner one at a time. Neatly fold back one border at a forty five degree angle. You may use several different rulers to make sure this angle is accurate. Finger press it in place or use your steam iron to crease the angle fold in place. If using an iron, take care to use the press, lift, press, lift technique and avoid rubbing it over the fabric. Continue with the adjacent border fabric until the two forty five degree angles match up as a ninety degree angle.

Step Eight: Open the fold (mark it if necessary) and stitch along the folded line forming the mitered corner. Leave a quarter inch seam allowance at the beginning and ending of the seam.

Step Nine: Trim the excess trim fabric.

Step Ten: Unfold the fabric corner, and press it neatly to form a crisp edge fold over the stitching.

This border technique may be used in dozens of other sewing beyond quilting including such as table covers, table runners, scrap booking, pillows, etc.

There are many variations on this basic technique to speed the process and you may find your own special ways to joining borders in perfectly aligned mitered corners. When we were writing this instruction guide for mitered corners, we felt an obligation to provide the traditional approaches that have been taught for years, but every little bit one of the team members would pipe up, “Why do you do it that way? Here is a quicker and easier way…”

Here is an example of a quicker easier way to do mitered border corners:

Cut your border strips a bit longer than needed. Use longer strips.

Lay one strip face up and lay the block face down on top of the border strip with edges together.

Stitch a border strip using a quarter inch seam allowance along one side beginning and ending one quarter inch from the end of the block’s side.(Be sure to anchor seam beginning and end.)

Turn the block ninety degrees to do the adjacent side.

Turn back the end of the side already sewn so it is out of the way.

Align a second border strip as before and sew.

Now notice that you have two strips of fabric flopping beyond the corner of the block.

Align these face to face following the line of the block to form a forty five degree angle.

Sew along the angle.

Trim the excess fabric, and open it up to a perfectly formed mitered corner.

AUTHOR:
Donna Trumble is a professional designer, seamstress, author, sewing educator, and sewing business owner.   She leads several Sewing Show And Tell groups in her stores guiding participants to shop sewing machines and learn about sewing and quilting.

David Trumble is a sewing professional, author, semi-retired minister, sewing machine technician, and CFO of Temple Sewing And Supply, Inc.

RESOURCE:
For more information on sewing show and tell groups, check out "Sewing, The World's Greatest Hobby" by Donna and David Trumble.  And check out the local Sew And Quilt Stores in Killeen, Temple, and Waco, Texas or at www.sewandquiltstore.com.

 

 

 

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