How to Miter Corners on a Quilt

Congratulations! You have almost made a complete quilt一 all that is left to do are the corners. Corners can seem complicated and confusing, but it is simple once you know the methods. Creating a quilt takes a long time, so it can be tempting to cut corners, but all the time and effort you have put into this project deserves a strong finish!

When finishing your quilt mitered corners are a highly recommended method. You might recognize a mitered corners quilt by its predominant characteristic: edges that meet at a 45-degree angle. This differs from the traditional quilt corner, which is usually sewn alongside the main quilt pieces. A mitered corner quilt binding is simple and does not require a lot of specialized materials or machinery (besides your normal sewing machine). Mitered corners on a quilt give the binding a nice, clean edge that looks professionally finished. 

This guide gives a full rundown of how to make mitered corners on a quilt, from folding to cutting to sewing. If you find it easier to see the quilt binding corners being completed, you can follow along with this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpCow6SC89k

What Do I Need to Finish the Quilt Binding Corners?

As mentioned above, no complicated supplies are needed for a mitered corners quilt binding; in fact, they are likely the same tools you have been using all along!

Materials needed for making a mitered corners quilt binding:

  • Ruler. On a quilt binding corners require a good deal of precision to avoid bunching and bumping. Be sure to have your ruler on hand.
  • Pencil. Relatedly, you need to be able to mark your measurements.
  • Pins. A healthy amount of pins will keep your mitered corners accurately straight.
  • Thread. Perhaps a tad obvious, but be sure you have enough extra thread to finish off your binding. 
  • Fabric for border. Similar to thread, it is always a good idea to have extra border fabric. When first learning how to make mitered corners on a quilt, many quilters do not realize the fabric is folded. So, leave a little extra room.
  • Scissors. You could also use a rotary cutter if you prefer. Some quilters find it gives them more control and is easier to cut while in the middle of binding.
  • Your quilt and sewing machine. Your work-in-progress quilt is naturally essential!

 

Once you have gathered all the materials, it is time to get started.

How to Make Mitered Corners on a Quilt

Before beginning, lay all your tools and materials in front of you on a flat surface. This will make the process much smoother. It also gives you an opportunity to double-check you have all the necessary parts. 

 

Finishing the Quilt Binding Corners: Step-by-Step Instructions

You are almost at the finish line. Take your time and read these instructions carefully. 

  • Measure

The process for giving your quilt mitered corners begins, as always, with measuring. The border pieces need to be accurately measured and cut. A common equation used by many quilters to find the right length is:

length of quilt side + (width of the border x 2) + 6″ = total length of one border fabric

This equation will give you the length of each border for one side of the quilt. This is an important distinction, as you will need to repeat for each individual side!

  • Pin Down

Once you have all the borders cut, align them with the quilt. If there is excess batting or backing, now is the time to trim everything up. Once it is all lined up and neat, pin all the layers together. 

  • Sew the Long Sides to Top Layer

Attach the border to the top layer of the quilt. You should both start AND stop a quarter of an inch from either end. This bit of border will be folded and sewn later in the final few steps. Backstitch a little ways to lock the side border pieces in place.

By starting with the longer sides, it is easier to keep track of your stitches and folds. If your quilt is equilateral, simply choose opposing sides and begin there.

  • Sew the Remaining Sides

Before sewing these sides, turn over your quilt and place pins at the ends of your previous stitches. This helps prevent bumping or fabric bubbles. Now, like the previous two sides, sew the remaining sides and stop when you meet the other sides’ thread. At this stage, all four sides should be sewn with the quilt binding corners having ‘tails’ of leftover fabric. This fabric will be used to make mitered corners.

  • Diagonally Fold

The quilt should be folded diagonally to form a large triangle. Carefully line up the borders. Pin the border in place. Precision is key during this step, so be sure to exactly align the border fabric pieces.

  • Measure (Again!) and Mark

Using a transparent sewing ruler, line up the previously sewn border with the 45-degree line on the ruler. Then, draw a line with your pencil following the edge of the ruler (not the 45-degree line) that aligns with the folded edge of your quilt. 

  • Time to Sew

Put a pin at the spot where your drawn line begins and the sewn edge ends. Sew along your drawn line. It is helpful to include a tack stitch at the beginning and end of this line to prevent unwanted bumping and bubbling. 

  • Check and Cut

Unfold and check your newly sewn edge! Now would be the time to fix any mistakes, such as the previously mentioned bumping, rather than waiting until the end. Once you are satisfied with the corner, fold it back up and grab the ruler again. You will need to leave a quarter of an inch of extra fabric on the outside. In other words, there should be an extra quarter of an inch of the mitered corners quilt binding sticking out compared to the normal edge.

  • Press It Open

When flipped over, the seam you just sewed should be sticking up. In order to make a flat corner, it will need to be pressed. Open the seam along the entire length, being sure to lift up the tiny corner from the body of the quilt that overlaps on the inner end of the seam. Once that is safely lifted out of the way, flatten the seam down its entire length using an iron. 

  • Finishing Up

The last step is to press down the tiny corner where the body of the quilt meets the borders. It should lay fairly flat on top of the seam you have just pressed. Once you have pressed this down, turn your quilt over and press on top of the corner. This should ensure everything is flat. You have now finished your first mitered corner! The process is the same for the remaining three. Now you know how to make mitered corners on a quilt.

Mitered Quilt Binding…Using a Machine?

Some people choose to make their entire quilts by hand, including the mitered corners. However, it is very time-consuming and difficult, so most use a sewing machine (as you likely did!). When thinking about how to make mitered corners on a quilt, it may seem convoluted to squeeze your corners into the machine. 

The truth is…using a machine is faster and easier! Here are some tips for easy quilt binding corners:

  • Power of the Walking Foot

The walking foot can be used to attach the binding. Not only is it cleaner and simpler, but the fabric also feeds much more flatly, leading to a smoother result. 

It can also be used as a guide while attaching the binding. In order to make the binding lay as flat as possible along the entire length of the side, sew it as close to the edge as you can. The walking foot can help you line up with the edge of the fabric. 

  • Top vs Bottom Stitching 

To avoid having visible stitches on either side of the quilt, there is a very helpful secret experienced quilters use: use a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin and a top thread matching the binding. Doing so will hide your stitches, making them blend into the fabric beautifully. 

  • Basting

Basting is when a temporary, long stitch is used to simply hold together fabric. When adding mitered corners to a quilt, it can be helpful to use basting stitches to keep all the layers held in one place.

Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you make a gorgeous quilt on your machine.

You Did It!

With the quilt binding corners finished, you now have a completed quilt. Whether it is a personal project or a gift, you have accomplished a great deal. Quilting is a very rewarding hobby with so many ways to be creative. The more quilts you make, the more ideas you will have!

For all your future projects, this guide will be here to help you make a smooth and lovely mitered quilt binding. Happy quilting!

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