How to Sew Mitered Quilt Borders

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Quilting | Comments


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.

Mitered Quilt Borders

What are mitered quilt borders?

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.

  1. Length of quilt side. Measure the length of the side of the quilt you will sew the border to.
  2. Width of the border. How wide is your border? Multiply that times two!
  3. 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”.

Mitered Borders
Your border fabric has been carefully measured and cut; now let’s sew it onto the quilt!

1. 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.

2. 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.

Quilt Borders
3. 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.

How to Make Mitered Quilt Borders
4. 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.

5. 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!

Final Mitered Quilt Borders

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Comments

  1. Donna S Lucas says:

    Wow, I was just thinking about this a few weeks ago and like magic the instructions appeared in my inbox! Great instructions on how to miter border corners! THX!

  2. Mags Lamb says:

    It is awesome to see all these ideas and to refresh your mind at times. Thank you for all your support and sharing. The classes I’ve bought so far has been lovely and i just love them.
    Please come to South Africa.

  3. Yasmin Macan-Markar says:

    Vow! This was very clear and seems easy. I hope I will be able to sew it this way next time.Thank you

  4. Debbie Egbert says:

    I’ve seen lots of guidelines on how to sew mitered corners. This is by far the easiest that I have seen. Can’t wait to try this technique.

  5. Wendy says:

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for this tutorial, I’ve always wanted to try these. Happy ww quilting day :)

  6. margaret says:

    Great Instructions. Thanks

  7. Nancy says:

    Nice instructions!

  8. Janice says:

    aaaaaaaaaaahow can I keep these how to miter border corners on my computer for future reference?

    1. Barbara says:

      Janice,
      Highlight the instructions, then hit “Copy” then save it to a file. I saved it in my Word program.

  9. wendiq says:

    Clear instructions…..I really need the visual…..Thank You!

  10. Carolyn says:

    Just what I wanted to find out…are you mind readers? I already knew how great Craftsy was from some of your classes but this was a nice surprise and free!! Thank you so much. Carolyn

  11. Rosemary says:

    You make it look so easy!

  12. ana says:

    Very clear and easy.Thanks.

  13. anniegess says:

    I see how this works, easily, for the front of the quilt. Could you include what one does next, that is, when using that border as the edging for the entire quilt? I would appreciate instructions for turning the border fabric over as the the binding. This seems tricky!

  14. Lori says:

    I have seen videos that instruct that the boarders are sewn together and cut before attaching to the quilt and then joined at the corners, has anyone ever done it this way before? Did it work? Thanks

  15. Lisa Graves says:

    Terrific tutorial. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Allafaye Taylor says:

    So glad you posted this my friend just this morning ask how to miter the corners and i told it was hard for me also .Thank you for showing me the way!

  17. jenny says:

    great instructions and it really helps to have the pictures

  18. Judy Sandefur says:

    Thanks

  19. amazing way to finish corner.now my corner will be as perfect as yours.
    thanks

  20. Betsy says:

    Nice, easy to follow instructions.

  21. Debbie says:

    Love the mitered corners and struggled with remembering how to make these. Thanks so much !

  22. Dawn says:

    I only do mitered corners. Learned that from my woodworking dad. Mitered looks more professional.

  23. sally hakes says:

    how about multiple mitered borders? like 3 unfinished 4, then 2 then 9???? please help.
    thank you

  24. Rita says:

    Luv this method. One Question – are pressing the seam to one side or open?

    Thank You for sharing.

  25. Tracy says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I just finished my quilt top and all four corners turned out perfectly. Your instructions were the most simple and straight forward ones I found and your photographs helped a lot, great job :)

  26. Deanna Warren says:

    Ty, ty, ty! I had never made a nice looking mitered corner, until reading and following your instructions! They look Great! Thanks again!