How to Sew Mitered Quilt Borders
When finishing a quilt top, many quilters like to add borders. A border is made of strips of fabric that frame a quilt, and one or several borders can be used on a single quilt top. These borders vary greatly! Today we are going to look at a mitered border.
A mitered border is one in which the corners meet in a 45 degree angle. What does that mean? Take a look at a picture or window frame, and you will see a mitered corner. This is a more challenging border to create, but the angled seam is well worth the effort! This technique can be completed with some careful measuring and accurate sewing.
To begin, we will start with the basic equation used to decide how long each border side will be.
Length of quilt side + width of the border X2 + 6” = Total Border Fabric
Let’s break this equation down into pieces.
- Length of quilt side. Measure the length of the side of the quilt you will sew the border to.
- Width of the border. How wide is your border? Multiply that times two!
- 6”. This includes the extra fabric needed for the mitered edge on each side of the border plus the seam allowance.
Use this equation to find out the border length needed for each side of the quilt, and then cut the border fabrics to the specifications. For example, my quilt top is 40” x 50” and my borders are 2” wide. My equation for the top and bottom border would be 40” + 4” + 6” = 50”, so those two borders would each measure 2” x 50”. My equation for the side borders would be 50” + 4” + 6” = 60”, so my two side borders would measure 2” x 60”.
Your border fabric has been carefully measured and cut; now let’s sew it onto the quilt! As usual, fold both the border and quilt top in half, marking their centers. Line the centers up and pin together; begin by putting the ends of the quilt and border together, and then proceed to the rest. Sew the border to the quilt top, starting and stopping 1/4″ away from the edge of the quilt top. Don’t forget to backstitch at each end! Repeat with all four borders.
There are different ways to sew the borders together at this point, but I think this is the easiest. Fold the quilt top in half diagonally with right sides facing each other, creating a triangle. Line two neighboring borders, like the top and the right side for example, on top of each other with the fold running at a 45 degree angle between the two. Carefully line up these borders, and then grab a pencil and a ruler. Place the ruler along the 45 degree angle and extend it over the borders. Trace the angle onto the border, and pin firmly place.
You are ready to sew a mitered corner! Locate the stitch line you made when you sewed the border to the quilt top, and begin sewing right there. This will ensure that you there are no gaps or spaces on the front. Sew from the stitch line out towards the end of the border, following the pencil line and backstitching at the beginning and end. Unfold your quilt top and make sure there are no gaps in the inner corner and that the border lies flat. Trim the excess border to 1/4″ and press seam. Repeat these steps with the other three corners, and then sit back and admire your lovely work!
See Machine Quilting Beautiful Borders to learn even more about framing your quilt with gorgeous borders.