Mitred corners look so classy on a quilt, but they need a bit of care to look good.

How to stitch mitred corners

Stitch each border onto your quilt starting and stopping at a point 1/4″ in from the end of the centre panel. Secure your stitching here  with a fix stitch or by going backwards for a few stitches.The seams should meet at the place which will become the corner of the centre panel.

You can see this shown on the back of this finished cornerlook at the two lines of stitching which meet on the dark fabric.

Tip: When you stitch the border seams, don’t cut the thread off immediately. If you haven’t quite managed to make them meet at the corner, a couple of stitches by hand with the thread tails will fix this.

Fold the centre block along the diagonal right sides together, so that two adjacent border pieces lie on top of one another, lining up the border seams on top of one another from the corner.

Lay the 45º line of your ruler along the border seam line, positioned so that the diagonal fold of the central block is directly underneath the edge of your ruler.

Draw a line along the edge of the ruler diagonally across the border. Make sure that you start exactly at that inner corner point. Lift the ruler away, and carefully pin the border layers together without disturbing their position.

Stitch the mitre seam, along the drawn line, again stopping and finishing with a fix stitch at the inner corner point. (You can’t see this point on the photo below, as its tucked in behind the seam – make sure that you move these seam allowances out of the way before you stitch, so that you can get right in the corner)

Trim the excess border fabric away by positioning the ruler with its ¼” line along the mitre seam, and rotary cutting along the edge. Check that you are cutting on the side of the line with the spare triangles of fabric!

Open out and press carefully – you should have a perfect mitred corner.

If this is the first time that you have attempted this, machine tack the seam with a long stitch as a trial first, and open out to check it before trimming – its easier to unpick if its not quite right.

Repeat this mitring process for all four corners to give a lovely finished effect.

Using striped fabrics

I love using striped fabrics – if you want to match the stripes as I have done, it’s not as difficult as you might think – the key is to cut all four border pieces with the stripes in exactly the same place. They should then meet correctly. There will be more about using stripes in my blog, Carolyn Gibbs Quilts in coming months.

When stitching the borders on, you need to be very careful to have exactly the same part of the stripe at the corner point for both of the borders. Look at how I pinned this tartan fabric in place before stitching the border seams, checking that the lines on the top fabric matched exactly with the same lines underneath:

After stitching the border seams, I then pinned the two layers together matching many of the pattern lines on both the upper and lower layers, before drawing the mitre line on.

The finished corner looks so perfect that you need to look twice to see that it is not all the same piece of tartan!!


    1. Carolyn Gibbs Post author

      Do you mean wavy edges caused by borders of different lengths? Yes, it might do! Although my tip about this is to run a machine tacking stitch along the very edge before adding the binding, and to pull up slightly until it hangs straight – you might like to try that too.