When creating a quilt, sometimes we decide we want to add an extra border to our projects, whether adding more length and width or just enhancing the aesthetic of the overall quilt.
But what do you do if you want to add a little extra panache to your border?
Today, in an easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorial, I want to show you how to create mitered corners on a quilt, specifically for borders.
- What Does It Mean to Miter a Corner on a Quilt?
- How to Miter Corners on a Quilt: A Step-by-Step Guide
What Does It Mean to Miter a Corner on a Quilt?
The Oxford Dictionary defines “miter” as “a joint made between two pieces of wood or other material at an angle of 90°, such that the line of junction bisects this angle.” Imagine the corners of a picture frame. Those are most likely mitered corners.
So translating that into quilting corners, we will take four strips of fabric and sew them to a quilt block in a way to create that beautiful 90° angle.
Mitered quilt corners are a bit more complex than regular corners, but the payoff is well worth it when you see the gorgeous “picture frame borders” you will create.
How to Miter Corners on a Quilt: A Step-by-Step Guide
Before we begin, I want you to put away any preconceived ideas or feelings about doing mitered borders, and trust me when I tell you this will be so much more simple than you may have heard it will be. This straightforward tutorial will show you how to make mitered quilt borders like a pro!
1. Figure out what length to cut the strips.
We can’t avoid math in this tutorial, but don’t worry, it’s not calculus! You will need to know the size of the block that you will be creating the border for. I am using a 10” square for my example, and I will have a 2” border. (It doesn’t have to be a square to make this formula work.)
To figure out what length strip to cut for each side of your block, you will need the following:
- The length of the side.
- The width of the border multiplied by 2.
- Add 6”
Here is the formula with my example numbers plugged in.
- The length of the side = 10”
- The width of the border x 2 = 2”x 2 = 4”
- Add 6”
- Total= 20” strip
Since I am doing a 10” square, all my strips will be the same length: 2”x20”.
2. Cut the strips and mark them.
Cut your strips from your border fabric. I will be cutting 4- 2”x20” strips for my example block.
Using a water-soluble or disappearing ink pen or marking pencil, make a small mark on each strip in the center.
Also, mark the center of each side of the center block.
3. Line up the center marks for the border and the center block.
Place your border and center block right sides together, line up the marks you just made, and pin in place. Next, make a mark on either end of the border ¼” away from the edge of the center block.
4. Sew the borders to the center block.
Starting at one end ¼” in from the edge of the center block, sew the border to the block. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of these seams to hold those stitches in place.
IMPORTANT: Leaving the ¼” ends unsewn is extremely important, so if you accidentally sew to the end of the block, be sure to seam rip those stitches and fix it.
Repeat this step to attach all four borders to the center block. Your block so far should look like the image below.
5. Fold the block diagonally to create a triangle.
Match one corner to the corner diagonal from it. It will look like a triangle, not a rectangle. Have the folded edge pointed towards you on your table and line up the border strips in each of the bottom corners.
6. Mark and sew the mitered corners.
Line up your ruler or another straight edge with the fold and mark the line you will stitch to create the mitered corners. Mark both corners at the bottom of the triangle.
Take your triangle to your sewing machine and stitch the two marked lines you just made. Trim the excess off these two borders leaving a ¼” seam allowance.
Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for the other two corners.
7. Press the block to finish.
Press your block and stand back and admire that perfect 90° mitered corner.
See, that wasn’t too bad, was it? With a little extra effort, you can create these beautiful picture frame borders for your quilt blocks. You could easily scale up this tutorial to make mitered corner borders for an entire quilt top too.
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