Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to make a Mitered Border

My Summer Sampler Series quilt top is finished and I thought that I would do a little tutorial on my border.  It's different from anything that I've ever done.

Here's a picture of the mitered corners. 

I wanted to make the border a scrappy mosaic type of border.
I think it turned out nice.  
And I decided to leave all the white in the middle of the quilt to bring your eyes to the center, where all the hard work was put in!

So here's how you make a tiled, mitered border. 

First decide how wide you want your strips to be, then cut them half an inch wider to allow a quarter inch seam allowance on both sides.  Mine will be 1 inch finished, so I cut them 1.5 inches.  

Then sew them together in one continuous line.

To decide how you long your strips should be, use this formula, taken from Quilt

For a  mitered seam, you must add another 2" on EACH side for the miter.  If your main quilt is 36" and the border is 2" wide, the math would look like this:
miter + border width + body of quilt + border width + miter + seam allowance
(the seam allowance is 1/2", which is 1/4" on each side and needs to be added only ONCE for the entire piece)
2" + 2" + 36" + 2" + 2" + 1/2" seam allowance = 44 1/2"

 There are two ways you can do it from here.  Cut your strips to the length you need, based on the math above, then sew them together.  I ended up doing 3  rows of 1 inch strips.  Once you have them sewn together, you can then sew them to the quilt body, making sure to leave the correct amount of fabric free on each side of the quilt for the mitered corners.  In the example above, you would need to leave 4 and a quarter inches on each side. 

You can do it the way I did.
I started with one strip at a time.  I added the first trip to  the body of the quilt and left 3 inches hanging off the side, to allow for my mitered corners.

Don't forget to leave the same amount at the end of the strip.

I continued to add strips.  This is what it looks like with one side done.

Now it's time to turn the quilt and sew the strips onto the next side.  See where the pin is pointing?  This is where you will begin sewing.  Do not sew the other border strips to this strip.  You will sew the two together later, when you miter the corners.  I did a back stitch here, just in case. 
Here's the next strip on the second side of the quilt.  
Make sure you hold the other border strips away from the needle.
Once you have two sides done, you can begin mitering them.  
Fold the quilt so that the edges of the two borders line up.  
The edges in this picture are down next to my pinkie.

Since my border has different strips, I needed to make sure that the strips are matching up in a straight line, so that when I sew it, it will look like one continuous line. 

Pin the fabric in place, so that the lines will not shift.  
Then line a ruler up along the folded quilt body to the end of the border.  
Mark with a pencil, erasable pen, or a sharpie like I did, just make sure that you know that part of the sharpie will not be seen.  (I just didn't have anything else dark enough to see the straight line.)  

Sew. Begin where the two borders meet at the quilt body and sew out.  Start your stitch and make sure you lock it with a back stitch.

After you sew, check your corner to make sure that everything lines up correctly and that it lays down flat.  If it doesn't lay down flat or puckers, you'll probably have to try again. 

Once you're satisfied, go ahead and cut off the excess on the corner, just make sure that you leave a good seam allowance.  I made mine half an inch.

That should be it! I hope that your mitered corners give you no problems along the way.  
There's always a learning curve, but it was fairly easy for me, even though it was my first time! 
Please let me know if you try it.

And don't forget to enjoy the view from your sewing machine!
Here's mine :)

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