How And Why To Do Mitered Corners


Considering mitered corners for your quilt top? Quilting Contessa covers, why, when and how to do mitered corners.

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How And Why To Do Mitered Corners

Good reasons for using mitered corners abound, but my favorite is the fact you can sew two or more borders together first, then put them on your quilt top and miter them. It just looks so great, so professional, and it isn’t that difficult.

How And Why To Do Mitered Corners


Or if you have a block that’s pretty plain and needs some pizzazz, or one in a sampler that needs to be a tad bigger, put borders around just that one block and miter those corners.

Or if you’re doing a quilt using photos, mitered borders around the pictures make them look framed.

Let’s just get to it.

I got the panel from one of the shops on our last Oklahoma shop hop. And by the way, if you haven’t participated in a quilt shop hop, you are missing loads of fun and goodies. Get a group together and go on a wonderful road trip. Use Quilting Hub’s trip planner. Spend a night or two on the road. Have fun with your quilting buddies.

The first thing to do is square the panel. In this case, I trimmed off an inch or so. Then measure the width and length and make a note of it. The narrow gold strip was on the panel.

I decided on a dark, narrow strip next to the panel (strips 1 1/2-inches wide), with a wider border in red (strips 2 1/2-inches wide) on the outside.

First thing is to be sure your border strips are several inches longer than the piece you’re sewing them on.

Here is a simple formula:

Length of quilt side + (width of the border X2 + 6") = Total Border Fabric

In our case, we’ll start with one short side. And we’re going to sew two borders together, so our border width must be the total of the two sewn together. Here’s our formula:

17 1/2-inches+ (3 1/2 x 2=7 + 6=13) = 30 1/2 inches

… so we will need 30 1/2 inches for the length of our side border strips.

The long sides are as follows. (Note: The width of the borders stays the same.)

22 1/2-inches + (3 1/2 x 2=7 + 6=13) = 35 1/2 inches.

Notice on the photos my strips are longer than they need to be. That’s because I knew they were long enough and elected not to trim them first. (Sometimes laziness wins!)

Now sew the strip sets (one dark and one red) together lengthwise. Press the seam closed to set the stitches and press to the dark fabric. Mark the center of one short side of the quilt and the center of one short set of strips. Pin these strips on the quilt at this mark. We are going to begin and end sewing at the 1/4-inch mark, so mark this in some way. Put in a pin, or make a little X: whatever will tell you where to start and stop. Also, back stitch at the beginning and at the ending at the quarter-inch mark; we don’t want the seams to come apart. Sew the borders on.


Pin another strip set, in the same manner, to the other short side and sew, again starting and stopping at the 1/4-inch mark.



We’ll do this on the long sides the same way, starting and stopping at the quarter inch mark. Be sure the borders on the short sides are out of the way when you pin and sew the last two.



And here it is with all four border sets sewn on and straightened out. Here comes the magic!



Lay the quilt out flat, fold it over diagonally, right side to right side, to form a triangle.



Put the 45-degree line on your ruler on the raw edge of the border set and align the other ruler edge along the fold. Now mark a line across the border. The line will be diagonal.


Sew on this line, being careful to stop about one stitch before the previous stitching line. Fold out, press and check your miter. Does it look fabulous? Yes!



TIPS: A Bernina instructor gave me a good tip about securing stitches: Set the zigzag stitch to 0 on both width and length and use that at the starting and stopping. Don’t forget to set it back to the straight stitch! It will just do a little tack stitch! If you don’t have one of those new-fangled machines that does everything but cut out your fabric, this is a time saver deluxe!


Finally, this little Measuring Gauge is one of the handiest danged things in your tool chest; especially when you are marking 1/4-inch corners.



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The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.
Mitered Corners
Two edges are joined at a 45 degree angle.

Same As: Mitered Border, Mitred Corners
Method of using an iron to press seams and blocks. This means simply pressing downwards on the seam with the iron from above and not moving the iron back and forth which can distort the block or seam.
Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
Raw Edge
An unfinished fabric edge of a piece of fabric or a quilt block. For applique, an edge which has not yet been turned under with stitching.
A heavy plastic measuring guide that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
A construction technique in which long, narrow pieces of cloth are joined lengthwise, sometimes with long rows of quilt blocks, to form a quilt top. The term "strip" can be used to describe the long pieces of fabric between blocks (see Sashing) or to describe the small, narrow remnants used in string patchwork.

See Also: Sashing
Zigzag Stitch
Machine stitch that goes side to side.
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