Considering that my first thought when I see a quilt with mitered corners is “show off”, it won’t come as a shock to you that I don’t normally miter my borders. I do miter the corners of my binding, but not usually my borders. I am currently working on a project, however, and mitered corners are essential. I am using a striped fabric so the small 1.5″ border creates a framed picture effect. In the process, I have discovered some tips that make mitered corners a little easier!
I also made a bunch of mistakes. Like not matching up the stripes. And sewing the strip onto the wrong side. And ironing my seams the wrong way!
Once I finally got it all figured out, this is how I mitered the borders for this project. I am putting a 1.5″ wide strip onto an 8″ square, so I cut the length to 12 inches. This gave me a full 2 inches on each side to do the corner. Technically, you only need to add the width of your border strip but I wanted to give myself a little wiggle room. I made sure the strips that I cut look exactly the same so the stripes will match in the corner.
I then folded the 8″ square in half wrong sides together and finger pressed at the center and took my 1.5″ x 12″ strip and folded it in half right sides together.
Since the square is folded wrong sides together and the strip is folded right sides together, you can just put the block and border strip right sides together and pin right at that fold mark and they will sit together nicely.
The only way the miter corner will actually come out nice and flat is to leave a quarter inch in the beginning and the end of the strip (ask me how I know). To make this easier, I put a tape measure right next to my presser foot. I just taped it down with masking tape. I made sure the “8” was right where the needle would be so when I put the fabric in the machine to start sewing, I made sure the edge of the square was a quarter inch back from where the needle would being sewing. This also gave me a guide to see when to stop sewing in order to leave a quarter inch on the other end as well. I did back stitch in the beginning and ending of each row of sewing.
Once all 4 strips were sewn on with the quarter inch left on each end, I ironed the borders out with the seams also pressed out. I then clipped in an eighth of an inch in each corner and took the square and folded it in half corner to corner, right sides together, making a triangle with the borders matching up and making little tails. Using a ruler and the folded edge of the square as a guide, mark a line on the border.
Pin the border strips together, sew on the line and back-stitch. I started sewing at the square and went out so I could start sewing where my other sew line left off.
Open up the square, iron flat and voila! You have mitered corners! The more you do, the easier it gets. I should know, I had to do all of mine twice 🙂