How to sew mitered corners

31

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When hemming two edges that meet, the multiple folds along each edge pile up on top of each other and create an excess of fabric at the corner. Mitered corners reduce the bulk, allow the edges to meet evenly, and look oh-so-satisfyingly neat and tidy.

Here are two different methods for making mitered corners.

Topstitched

On all edges, press half your hem allowance to the wrong side.

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Press the same amount again. At the corners, make sure you fold and press evenly. It will be bulky.

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Unfold everything.

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Find the middle square formed by the folds. Mark a line through its corners all the way across as shown.

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Trim along line.

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Fold angled edge in so that the creases line up with each other. The creases you should be aligning are marked in blue. Press lightly, taking care not to press out your other folds.

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Refold along first fold and press.

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Refold along second line and press.

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Pin corner and sew around inner fold, pivoting in mitered corner directly between folds.

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Sewn and Topstitched

This form of mitered corner is stronger and will stand up to more wear and tear.

First, divide your hem allowance in two parts. You can divide it evenly, or, for a wider finished hem, divide it into a smaller and bigger portion. (For example, if my hem allowance is 1″, I can either divide it into 1/2″ and 1/2″, or 1/4″ and 3/4″.)

Press half your hem allowance towards the wrong side along both edges. If you divided your hem unevenly, press the smaller portion.

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Press half your hem allowance towards the wrong side again. If you divided your hem unevenly, this time press the larger portion.

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Unfold the second fold only. Fold the corner in towards the wrong side as shown so that the creases line up with those from the second fold. The creases we are aligning are traced in blue.

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Press to crease and unfold.

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Now fold the corner right sides together, aligning the outer edges. You should be folding so that the most recent crease – the one diagonally across the corner – is lined up with itself through the layers. This crease is marked in blue. Pin.

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Stitch along crease, backstitching at beginning and end. Cut off excess and clip top corner.

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Turn corner right side out and use point turner or chopstick to push it out.

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Press, then topstitch around free inner fold, pivoting at the corner.

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Devon Iott   —  

Raised on a farm in Ohio, Devon moved to Los Angeles for college and worked in the film industry for several years. She has taught sewing at various shops throughout Southern California and at the Craftcation Conference in Ventura. She now resides and teaches in Nashville. When not obsessively sewing she can be found knitting, baking, and drinking wine with her cat.

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Comments 31

Noelle

Brilliant! Just what I need!

Samina

So helpful, thanks! I’m eagerly awaiting this hem guide you’re putting out. Will all of these hem issues you’re posting on the blog be in the guide? It’ll be great to have one handy resource for my hemming needs.

Sarai colettepatterns.com

Yes, all of this plus tips from Snippets and past hem posts will be included all together. :)

Lara

You ladies are awesome! Thank you so very much for making everything so very easy to see for those of us whose eyesight doesn’t keep pace with our vision!

Colleen

brilliant!

Meg Hamel

I’m making a million napkins using Kaufman Essex Linen, and recommend the “Sewn and Topstitched” technique. This is worth doing in a couple of test runs on your fabric’s scraps, if it’s really important to get an exactly square corner. I get the smoothest, flattest, squarest corners by angling the short stitching line to be a little less than 90 degrees. (Find the photo of the clipped corner which is third from the bottom, above. Imagine that the “bottom point” of the stitching line is nudged a tiny bit toward the center of the napkin.) This snugs up the corner better and helps get a flawless topstitch with no puckers.

Devon missmake.com

thanks for the tip!

Sarah – Fabrictragic fabrictragic.blogspot.com

This is so clear and useful. Thankyou – you’re a champ Devon!

Devon missmake.com

Aw thanks! Glad you found it useful. :]

barbara barbarajanemade.com

Agree! really useful. thanks.

maddie madalynne.com

Even though the first one is the lesser sturdier of the two, I have never gotten as clean a finish with the second method. Thanks for this tutorial!

Beth afterdarksewing.wordpress.com

I can’t wait to do some metered corners now! Thanks :)

darialine

Thank you so much for this tutorial, the resulting corners are lovely !

Johannah

This is such a great skill I have never understood or honestly taken the time to understand. Super excited about the all the new stuff I can make. Specifically, I am going to replace the only set of cloth napkins we have which are not at all our style. Thank you for so many amazing tips and tricks!

Juliana missgago.blogspot.com

Devon makes such great tutorials… this is really clear, and really useful!
thanks.

Devon missmake.com

Thank you! I’m so glad it’s useful for you! :]

sarah rootbranchbole.wordpress.com

I’m inspired. I just raided my scrap bin to cut out a bunch of cotton handkerchiefs. They’re pressed and waiting for the next time I get to the sewing machine! They’ll be perfect for those blustery fall days.

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Really nifty tutorial, thank-you! Can I ask what fabric you’re using here?

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Jerusha

I’ve been doing a less-tidy version of the topstitched for my family’s cloth napkins. Because I can’t eyeball anything and be accurate but I don’t want to mark every side, I sew a basting stitch where I want to do my first pressing. It takes a little time to take out the stitches, but I’m much happier with the results. Plus, my brand-new-to-sewing nine year old daughter is getting a lot of practice sewing straight. The basting stitch will also be a good way to introduce her to pressing seams…and ripping out stitches. I will try both of the above techniques when I make something that I will give away. Or when I make nice holiday napkins for myself.

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