Sewing corners can be found in most garments you make in places like collars, bows, pockets and straps and in countless other sewing projects such as quilts, pillows, and bagmaking. Here I will show you just how easy it is to learn how to sew corners.
Sewing Corners - Stitching
Step 1 - Mark Seam
If you are a beginner then drawing the seam line at the corner with chalk or removable pen will help you to predict when to pivot.
Step 2 - Sew and Pause
Sew normally along the seam line until just before the corner. As you approach the corner slow right down.
Step 3 - Pivot
Stop at the corner with the needle down in the fabric. Lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric right round to face the new direction. Start sewing normally again.
Sewing Corners - Trimming and Clipping
Once you have sewn the corner you will need to trim some of the bulk of the fabric away before you turn it the right way out.
90 Degree Angles
90 degree angles are really common in sewing corners. Think about the corners of pillows, quilts, and bags.
For a 90 degree angle, just snip the point of the corner off.
If your seam allowance is wider than ¼ inch (6mm) you can trim a bit off the sides at an angle too. For narrow seam allowances, this is not usually necessary.
Sharp or smaller corners such as those found on collars may require a little extra trimming to remove excess fabric. If your fabric is thick or you have a lot of layers, you may need to grade the seams as well.
Extra Narrow Corners (Points)
For very narrow corners, you will also get a better result by stitching across the corner a couple of stitches to lessen the point and to leave room for the seam allowance when it is turned the right way.
For inside corners, you will need to snip into the corner almost up to the stitching line.
How to Sew Corners - Turning Tools
The last step in sewing corners is to turn your corner the right way out. Use something pointy (but not sharp) to poke the corner out, and always press well.
I have a bad habit of using my scissors as they are always handy but be careful if yours have a sharp point as you may accidentally cut the fabric or poke a hole through the end. Most paper scissors aren't overly sharp at the end.
A knitting needle, bamboo skewer, or a specialized point turner will usually do a better job. You will generally need a selection of tools of different lengths and thickness on hand for different projects.
There are numerous brands of point turners on the market, including the popular Dritz and Clover, and most are really cheap. Some have markings on them so as to double up as button and seam gauges. Fewer tools to lose in your sewing room!
So with your special or improvised tools, here is what all our corners now look like now they are the right way out.
Sewing Mitered Corners
There is another type of corner you can sew, and this is a mitered corner. This applies to a 90 degree corner that needs to be hemmed or have binding applied. As the item will not be turned the right way out after being sewn double, there are different techniques that need to be used.
There are 2 different techniques that can be used depending on whether the corner has a narrow or wide hem. The narrow hem has an opening on the diagonal of the corner, while the wider hem has the diagonal sewn shut.
Further Reading: How to Sew Mitered Corners
More About Corners and Curves
- Clipping Sewing
- Sewing Curves
- How to Add Seam Allowance
- Square Corners with Bias
- Mitered Corners
- How to Make Napkins with Mitered Corners
- Sewing Basics Sewing machine, needle. thread, scissors, iron
- Draw the seam line at the corner with chalk or removable pen for greater accuracy.
- Sew normally until just before the corner. As you approach the corner slow down. Stop at the corner with the needle down in the fabric. Lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric round to face the new direction. Start sewing normally again.
- Trim the corner.
- Turn the right way out and poke the corner out with a thin but blunt tool.