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
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
How do you sew a mitered
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Here is an example of a
quicker easier way to do mitered border
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
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
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.
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