When you get to a particular point in making your first quilt, you realize there are four corners that you must do something with. Many people let their first experience with corners keep them from ever attempting another quilt project.Do not get cornered by quilt corners. You have options and solutions that are easy enough with a little practice.
We want our quilts to look good, obviously. A lot of work goes into them and a final step like corner work shouldn’t be a big dilemma. The choices are to leave the corners as strips that bump up to each other or to miter the corners.
With the first choice, your borders simply look like long rectangular strips that meet in the corners. You could choose to have your side borders as the long borders with the top and bottom borders fitting in between them.
You have the choice of doing just the opposite, using the top and bottom borders as the full width and bumping the sides up to them. You can even vary the border bumping around the perimeter of you quilt.
Lots of quilters choose to make borders in one of these methods to avoid mitering corners. Maybe we tend to shy away from it because it is also a term used in wood working.
While we are fine with using scissors and a rotary cutter, something about a term that is also used with a saw can get a little frightening.
There is really nothing to be scared of. Mitering corners, like with any aspect of quilting, just takes a little practice.
To miter corners, you might need to add extra length to your border template or pattern. Check first to see if the additional length has already been allowed. If not, add about three inches to each end of your border strips.
Mitering begins with centering the border onto your quilt top and sewing it in place. Start and stop sewing about one quarter of an inch from the end of your border strips. Once you get to the edge of your quilt top, be sure to back stitch several times to secure your stitching.
Once your borders are centered and sewn all the way around your quilt top, it is time to begin the mitering process.
Start by turning the quilt over so that the right side is down. In your corner, lay one strip of border on top of the other.
Draw a line at a 45 degree angle from the inner to outer corner of the border. Flip the borders so that the other is on top now. Draw another line at a 45 degree angle on that border.
With the border right sides together, pin together the pencil lines on the back of the borders. Sew the borders together.
Don’t forget to secure the stitches by back stitching a little. When you open the fabric back up, your corners will be mitered. If you have achieved the look you wanted, trim off the excess border from the back and press the seams.
If your stitching looks a little crooked, simply rip out the seams and try again. Leaving the trimming and pressing for the very last step insures you have enough fabric to work with in case your need to make a stitching correction.
No matter which bordering technique you choose, they just take a little practice. Practice with scraps or by mitering on a small scale by adding a border to a quilt block.
Once you have finished, create a wall hanging or coordinating pillow to match your larger quilt project!