Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tutorial for Mitered Borders

I presented a tutorial on making Mitered Borders at our Foothills Guild Meeting this month.  Here is the hand-out I prepared.  Try these steps - they will make your mitered borders easy and come out looking so nice.  The "Formula Chart" for mitered borders at the end is a helpful way to remember the calculations you need.   This is a free tutorial that may be copied, used, and shared.  I'd appreciate you acknowledging that you found it on my blog if you share it.

Mitered Borders
By Linda Puttmann ( )

Here's the block we'll miter

Step 1:  Borders.  Determine the overall width your borders will be to achieve the look you want for your quilt.  Determine how many borders you’d like on your quilt and determine the width of the strips needed to achieve the look you want.

Step 2:  Determining the length of border strips.  Measure the length of the quilt (notate that measurement and half that size on a piece of paper).  Calculate the length of the strips for each of the 2 lengthwise border sets by adding the measurement of the length of the quilt above, plus the width of the border twice, plus about 3” (notate those totals on your paper, see Formula Chart, below).  Do the same for the width of the quilt.  Why use this formula?  When sewing the border strips on for a mitered border, you must take into account that there is a border on both sides, and you must also add extra length for the miter. 

Step 3:  Cutting and sewing border strips together.  Once you’ve determined how long your border strips need to be, you can cut your strips (2 sets for the length of the quilt and 2 sets for the width of the quilt).  If using more than one border, strip piece the borders together. They are then treated like one piece of fabric when joining them to the quilt.
Step 4:  Determining placement of the borders.  Fold the border sets in half and mark the centers of all 4 borders.  Fold the quilt in half and mark the centers of all 4 sides.

Shows center mark(Step 4) and marks at one side (Step 5)

Step 5:  Marking border sets.  Using the half calculation from step 1, measure and mark the size of the quilt on the 2 lengthwise border sets by measuring out from the center, and placing a mark to designate where the edge of the quilt should be.  Also mark ¼” in from each edge.  With right sides facing, and raw edges aligned, match the centers and pin.  Then match the ¼” marks and pin.  Please Note:  The strip sets will extend beyond quilt edges - do not trim the border strip sets.  Do the same for the border sets for the width of the quilt.  (I combine Steps 5 & 6, pinning & sewing, when doing each side and then proceed to the next side and pin & sew.)

Shows placement with edge of block at the 1/4" mark (Step 5)

Step 6:  Sewing border sets.  Sew lengthwise border strip sets to quilt edge, starting and stopping ¼” from the corner of the quilt, and backstitching at each end.  Do the same with the border sets for the width of the quilt (holding back the lengthwise pieces so they don’t catch in your new seams).  You now have all 4 sides sewn to the quilt, that stop ¼” from each edge, and with strip sets extending beyond the edges on all 4 sides.  Do not trim the border sets.

  Strip sets extend beyond block - don't trim (Step 6)

Step 7:  Pressing.  Press strips making up the lengthwise border sets toward the quilt, press strips making up the border sets along the width away from the quilt.  The border sets will now nestle nicely when you miter them.  I recommend that you don’t press the border seam where it attaches to the quilt at this time.

Step 8:  The mitering process.  Method A:  Lay the corner to be mitered on your ironing board.  With the right side up, fold the border strip back at a 45-degree angle and align raw edges of the adjacent sides.  Work with the fold until the seams meet properly.  When you think you’ve got it, you can use a square ruler to check that the corner is square and flat. 

Miter is folded and pressed (Step 8)

Press a crisp line where the fabric is folded back (you can then mark on the line with a pencil if it will help you to see it better). 

Pin it well to hold it together, then carry it to your sewing machine, and sew on the crisp line beginning at the outer, raw edge, and sewing into the inner corner until you are within about 2 stitches out from the juncture, and secure seam with a backstitch.  Optionally, it’s also okay to sew from the inner juncture toward the outer edge if you prefer and if your sewing machine has good clearance and visibility to start at that juncture.

Unfold and make sure the border lies flat.  Correct stitching, if necessary.  Trim seam allowance to ¼” and press seam open.  Miter remaining corners.

Two borders mitered


Method B:  This method works for small wall-hangings or for individual blocks.  Follow the preliminary steps above.  To miter (instead of using Step 8) with right sides together, fold the quilt or block diagonally at a 45 degree angle.  Use the 45° angle line, marked on your ruler, to pencil a 45° stitching line from the corner of the quilt to the raw edge of the border, and sew on that line.  Check for accuracy, trim, and press.

Method B - this option seems to work okay for small wallhangings or individual blocks

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Formula Chart for Mitered Borders
by Linda Puttmann  ( )
Length of quilt _____, ½ length _____
Width of quilt _____, ½ width _____
Length of quilt _____, + border set width _____, + border set width again _____, +3” = _______
(Cut the 2 lengthwise border sets this size.)
Width of quilt _____, + border set width _____, + border set width again _____, + 3” = _______
(Cut the 2 widthwise border sets this size.)