Your Gorgeous Quilt Deserves a Pretty Mitered Border

Your quilt looks perfectly fine without a border. But with a border? Masterpiece! That's definitely true when you're using a mitered border — and all you need to know to create this style of fabric frame is how to sew mitered corners.

Um, isn't a miter that tall headdress bishops wear? In fact it is. But it also the term for corners that meet at a 45-degree angle, similar to window or picture frames. To learn how to make a mitered corner for a quilt border, you'll need to be careful as you measure and super accurate as you sew.

Who's up for this challenge?

Calculating the Measurements

This equation will help you figure out how much fabric you'll need: Length of quilt side + width of the border x 2 + 6 inches = Total Border Fabric

  1. Length of Quilt Side Measure the length of the side of the quilt where you aim to place the border.
  2. Width of the Border How wide is your border? Multiply that times two!
  3. Plus 6 Inches This includes the extra fabric you'll need for the mitered corner on each side of the border plus the seam allowance.

For example, my quilt top is 40 inches by 50 inches and my borders are two inches wide. My equation for the top and bottom border would be 40 inches + 4 inches + 6 inches = 50 inches, so those two borders would each measure 2 inches x 50 inches. My equation for the side borders would be 50 inches + 4 inches + 6 inches = 60 inches, so my two side borders would measure 2 inches x 60 inches.

Sewing the Mitered Border

1. Pin the Borders in Place

Fold both the border and quilt top in half and mark the centers. Line the centers up and pin together. Place the ends of the quilt and border together.

2. Sew the Borders Onto the Quilt Top

Sew the border to the quilt top, starting and stopping ¼ inch away from the quilt top's edge. Don’t forget to backstitch at each end. Repeat with all four borders.

3. Mark the Corner

There are different ways to sew the borders together at this point, but this is the easiest: Fold the quilt top in half diagonally with right sides facing each other so you create a triangle.

Pick two neighboring borders — like the top border and the right-side border, say (shown in the photo above) — and line them up on top of each other with the fold of the quilt running at a 45-degree angle between the two.

When you've lined both borders up, 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.

4. Start Sewing

Locate the backstitch you made when you sewed the border to the quilt top. That's where you want to sew to avoid gaps or spaces on the front.

Start sewing directly on the pencil line, from the stitch toward the end of the border. Backstitch 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 and Press

Trim the excess border to ¼ inch and press the seam . Repeat these steps with the other three corners.

Then sit back and admire your mitered loveliness!

Learn More Now

Get the how-to for everything you need to know about binding and finishing a quilted project in our free guide, How to Finish Your Quilts in Style.

February 12, 2019
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Your Gorgeous Quilt Deserves a Pretty Mitered Border