Making sure corners are exact, neat as a pin and professional is achieved by learning how to sew mitered corners. In the sewing world, a miter is a simple technique used to finish the 90-degree corners of items such as quilts, napkins, tablecloths and curtains. It reduces bulk and creates flat attractive hems.
Follow these easy steps to learn how to sew mitered corners in two different ways.
In case you were wondering –
Dependingwhere you live in the world, you may spell it as miter (US) or mitre(UK, Australia). These are both the same thing but just different spellings.
How to Sew Mitered Corners
There are 2 main methods of how to sew mitered corners. Both these methods should be used for light to medium weight fabrics that are able to be pressed. It is not suitable for really heavy fabrics (unless you make a very wide hem) and polyester type fabrics that won’t easily press. Cotton, Linen and denim fabrics work really well.
- Method 1 has just a folded corner and is suitable for narrow hems such as those found on napkins and scarves.
- Method 2 has the corner sewn on the diagonal and is best for wide hems such as those found on quilts and tablecloths. You can see in the photo how the wider hem is sewn shut on the diagonal at the corner.
How to Sew Mitered Corners – THE VIDEO
Watch my YouTube video on how to sew mitered corners. Subscribe to the Treasurie channel for weekly sewing and craft videos.
Method 1: How to Sew Mitered Corners with a Folded Corner
A folded mitered corner is best for small hems such as those used on napkins and tablecloths.
Step one: Press the Edges
On the wrong side of the fabric, press over one edge by a 1/4″ (6mm) to 1/2″(12mm) and fold and press all around the edges.
(I created 1/2 inch (12mm) hems so you could see my sewing, but smaller hems look much neater at the corners.)
Now fold and press again a second time by the same amount to create a double hem.
See how the hems cross over each other in the corner. You might need to press a couple of times in the corner to get it to sit relatively flat. Don’t obsess about the corner too much, but a bit of water spray helped a lot with this denim.
Step two: Mark the Diagonal
Open the folds and you will see creases a
Take a fabric pen and mark a 45-degree diagonal line through the center of the square.
Just so you can see it more clearly in the photograph, I have marked the creases with a pen. You don’t need to do this unless you are also having trouble seeing the creases. In real life (rather than a photo), the creases are normally extremely obvious.
Step three: Cut and Press
Cut across the first diagonal line and mark another diagonal line through the inner corner of the square.
Press a hem along this marked diagonal line.
Do not sew this hem as it is a folded hem only.
Step four: Refold the Hem
Fold up your pressed edges again and secure the corners with a pin on each side. Repeat this for all the other corners.
Sorry the hem photo is a bit blurry. I got distracted and the autofocus focused on my cat! She was really cheeky that day and kept grabbing my fabric before promptly falling asleep on my work table.
Step five: Stitch the Hem
Topstitch all the way around the hem edges.
TIP: Get a nice sharp corner by stopping with the needle down and then pivoting.
This folded, mitered corner is perfect for any project needing sharp, neat corners.
Method 2: How to Sew Mitered Corners with a Sewn Corner
This follows the same principles, but some stitching across the corner makes the difference and is a better method when you want a wider hem.
Step one: Press the Edges
Press over your edges by 1/4″ or 1/2″ (6-12mm).
Press over the hem a second time by your desired amount.
An example: I am using a seam allowance of 1 1/2 inches (3.8cm) and have divided my hem into 1/4 inch (6mm) for the first fold and 1 1/4 inch (3.2cm) for the second fold.
Your preferred size will depend on the article as you may require a narrow hem for napkins, but a bigger and bolder hem for curtains.
Repeat this and press firmly on all corners.
A bit of spray water can help with stubborn fabrics like this medium-weight denim.
Step two: Open the hems
Open up the hems to show the second crease lines but keep the narrow first crease folded down.
Step three: Mark the Diagonal
Draw a diagonal line across the folded inner corner at 45 degrees. See how it passes edge to edge and through the intersection of the inner creases.
Step four: Fold the marked corner in half with right sides together. This will form a triangle.
Pin this together making sure the marks connect exactly at the edges.
Machine stitch along the marked line with a backstitch at the start and finish.
Step five: Carefully trim off the excess fabric across the corner about a 1/4 inch (6mm) from the stitching line. This will reduce bulk in the corner.
Step six: Turn the corner to the right side and push the point out gently. I generally just use the point of my scissors but just be careful not to push too hard.
Step seven: Press your corner and the rest of the hem ready to be stitched. If you are using a difficult to press fabric, a spray of water might just help.
Step eight: Pressed and ready to go, machine topstitch around the article to complete the hem. Nice and neat isn’t it?
The choice is yours, now you know two simple but smart ways how to sew mitered corners that are sharp and neat.
RELATED: HOW TO SEW HEMS
- GENERAL HEMS – How to Sew a Hem
- NARROW HEMS – How to sew a narrow hem
- ROLLED HEM FOOT – How to use a rolled hem foot
- WIDE HEMS – How to sew wide hems
- CIRCULAR HEMS – How to sew circular hems
- BLIND HEMS – How to sew a blind hem | blind hem foot
- RUFFLED HEMS – Lettuce hems
- KNIT FABRIC HEMS – How to hem knit fabric
- KNIT HEMS – Twin Needle
- SQUARE HEMS – How to Sew Mitered Corners
Projects with a Mitered Corner
Now you know how to sew mitered corners, make yourself some napkins. Homemade napkins don’t need much fabric and are sure to impress your guests. Match your home decor and special occasion.