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.
How to Sew Mitered Corners
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.
There are 3 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.
In addition, sewing mitered corners can be done with bias tape. See the end of this article for this additional method.
- 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.
- Method 3 uses bias tape and is great where you want a contrast fabric hem.
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 1 - Press the Edges
On the wrong side of the fabric, press over one edge by a ¼" (6mm) to ½"(12mm) and fold and press all around the edges.
(I created ½ 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 2 - 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 3 - 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 4 - 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 5 - 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 1 - Press the Edges
Press over your edges by ¼" or ½" (6-12mm). Press over the hem a second time by your desired amount.
An example: I am using a seam allowance of 1 ½ inches (3.8cm) and have divided my hem into ¼ inch (6mm) for the first fold and 1 ¼ 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 2 - Open the hems
Open up the hems to show the second crease lines but keep the narrow first crease folded down.
Step 3 - 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 4 - Fold
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 5 - Trim and Fold
Carefully trim off the excess fabric across the corner about a ¼ inch (6mm) from the stitching line. This will reduce bulk in the corner.
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 6 - Press and Stitch
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.
Pressed and ready to go, machine topstitch around the article to complete the hem. Nice and neat isn't it?
Method 3 - How to Sew Mitered Corners with Bias Tape
Bias tape can also be used to sew a mitered corner. It does take a little longer to sew but is perfect for when you want a pop of color on the edge.
Use ½ inch (12mm) double-fold bias. You can use store-bought or make some yourself. Making your own bias is ideal for when you want a patterned border. Store-bought bias is nearly always plain and can be quite expensive when you are edging larger items.
Further Reading: How to Make Bias Tape
Step 1 - Open the Bias and Sew the Crease
Open the wider edge of the bias and place it on the wrong side of the fabric edge. Stitch in the crease which will be approximately ¼ inch (6mm) from the edge.
Stop ¼ inch (6mm) from the corner and backstitch.
Step 2 - Fold Bias Around Corner
Fold the bias around the corner. Make the corner tight. This will result in a crease of fabric on the diagonal.
Here you can see how the corner looks from another angle.
Stitch ¼ inch (6mm) from the edge and continue in the crease along the next side.
Fold the bias corner back over the edge to the right side. If you have more than one corner continue in this way for all corners. Read how to sew bias tape if you need more tips on sewing overlaps.
Use pins or fabric clips to hold the bias tape in place on the right side of the fabric. The corner will be folded into a 45 degree diagonal angle. Use an extra pin at that point.
Stitch along the edge of the bias.
Here is what the finished bias corners look like.
How to Sew Mitered Corners - In Conclusion
The choice is yours, now you know three simple but smart ways how to sew mitered corners that are sharp and neat.
Use this as a quick reference
- Method 1 - best for narrow mitered corners and hems
- Method 2 - best for wider hems
- Method 3 - best where you want a pop of color on the edge
RELATED: HOW TO SEW HEMS
- GENERAL HEMS – How to Sew a Hem
- NARROW HEMS – How to Sew a Narrow hHem
- 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
- RUFFLED HEMS – Lettuce Hems
- KNIT FABRIC HEMS – How to Hem Knit Fabric
- KNIT HEMS – Twin Needle
- SQUARE HEMS – How to Sew Mitered Corners
- SCALLOPED HEMS - Scalloped Edges Hems
- PANTS HEMS - How to Hem Pants
- DOUBLE HEM - Double Fold Hem
- HEMMING TAPE (NO SEW) How to use Hemming Tape
- HAND STITCH HEMS - Hemming Stitch – Best Hand Stitches for Hems
- HAND HEM - How to Sew Catch Stitch Easily
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. These linen napkins are made with method 1 which is the narrow mitered corners making them simple and easy for beginners.
Further Reading: How to Sew Napkins