Learn how to do mitered corners quilt binding and read our tips on how to get sharp quilt binding corners every time!
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If you’ve ever bound a quilt, you know that probably the trickiest part is the corners. Especially if you tend to be a perfectionist and want those perfect sharp quilt binding corners.
I totally get it. Binding is the last bit of love you give into your quilt and wonky corners just don’t look good. That’s why I’ve decided to put together all the tricks I can possibly come up with to help you get those perfect mitered corners.
- What are Mitered Corners on Quilt Binding?
- How to Get Sharp Quilt Binding Corners?
- Tricks for Perfect Mitered Corners
- TRICK #1: Check the binding placement before sewing
- TRICK #2: Use a walking foot
- TRICK #3: Attach the binding to the back of the quilt first
- TRICK #4: Go slow
- TRICK #5: Measure!
- TRICK #6: Press your binding
- TRICK #7: Cut away excess fabric
- TRICK #8: Use a pin to fold the corner
- TRICK #9: Leave the needle in when rotating
What are Mitered Corners on Quilt Binding?
Before I get into the how, let me explain the what first, so we’re all on the same page.
Mitered corners in quilting refer to the corners on binding that are created by folding the binding in the corners at a 45-degree angle. This creates that typical diagonal seam in the corner that seamlessly transitions from one side to the other.
The easiest way to explain this is by showing you, so here is an example of perfect-for-us mitered corners on one of our quilt bindings:
As you can see, mitered corners create that perfect professional-looking finish. If done right, that is. (And that’s what we’re here for today.)
How to Get Sharp Quilt Binding Corners?
The first step to getting sharp quilt binding corners is of course to know the right technique for making and attaching the binding.
We have an in-depth article on how to make quilt binding and a step-by-step machine binding tutorial. These will take you through all the steps you need to take to make and attach quilt binding. If you’re a beginner, I recommend you read that first to get a general idea of how binding is made and attached.
In this article, I’m not going to explain all these steps. Instead, I will focus on the tricks you can use for sharp mitered corners specifically. Of course, many of these tricks will help you produce not only great-looking corners but quilt binding in general. But corners are the focus!
Tricks for Perfect Mitered Corners
I’ve put together 9 tricks that will help you get those perfect quilt binding corners. They are listed in order of the entire quilt binding process from planning to sewing the binding on the first side of the quilt, and that final seam on the other side of the quilt. Here we go!
TRICK #1: Check the binding placement before sewing
One of the main problems with binding quilt corners is that there’s a lot of material bunched up in that one little corner. So you want to do everything you can to avoid adding even more bulk.
When you make binding for a quilt, you sew together multiple strips of fabric (btw, our binding calculator will tell you exactly how many you need). Where they meet, there is a seam, that will inevitably add bulk.
You want to make sure the seams on your binding don’t fall right on the corners of the quilt. This is pretty easy to do. Just lay your binding strip along the edges of your quilt to test out where the seams fall. Make adjustments if needed.
TRICK #2: Use a walking foot
Using a walking foot can make a significant difference in achieving sharp corners and even results.
We have a whole article explaining all about how to use a walking foot, so I won’t go into too much detail here. In short, a walking foot is a specialized sewing machine foot that evenly feeds the layers of fabric through the machine. It prevents shifting and puckering, particularly when working with multiple layers, making it indispensable for achieving sharp mitered corners.
TRICK #3: Attach the binding to the back of the quilt first
We’ve bound many quilts now and tried many different methods. We’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest way to get sharp mitered corners (and great looking binding) is to attach binding to the back of the quilt first, and then attach it to the front. It is much easier to sew the binding on accurately this way. It produces a perfect looking binding on the front and on the back. Here is an example:
It is also much easier to guide the needle when creating that tricky mitered corner if you see exactly what you’re doing. So especially if you’re a beginner, definitely attach the binding to the back first!
TRICK #4: Go slow
This is really one of those general tips I would give for everything you do in quilting, especially if you’re a beginner quilter. But it’s even more important when dealing with intricate little things like quilt binding corners. When sewing the binding, go slow so you can make tiny little adjustments as you go. If you rush it, you’ll just get wonky corners and uneven binding.
TRICK #5: Measure!
When you’re attaching the binding on the back of the quilt and you’re approaching the corner, you want to stop exactly your seam allowance width before the edge of the quilt. Using a small quilting ruler measure your seam allowance and mark it with a pin or a fabric marking pen. When you reach this point, do a few backstitches to lock the stitch.
If using a ¼’’ seam allowance, mark ¼’’ from the edge.
Measuring and marking the seam allowance distance will ensure that you get perfect corners when you fold the binding over to the other side.
TRICK #6: Press your binding
After you’ve attached the binding to the back of the quilt, I recommend pressing the binding. Pressing sets the stitches and helps the binding fold neatly along the quilt’s edge. Start by pressing the binding away from the quilt top, then fold it over the quilt’s edge, pressing again to create a crisp fold. This simple step enhances the precision of your corners by establishing a smooth and even surface for the binding.
TRICK #7: Cut away excess fabric
One of the ways to reduce the bulk in the corners is to cut away some of the excess fabric in the corners of your quilt. If you decide to do this, make sure you don’t cut too close to the binding seam. If you do, you could be dealing with the seam opening, which causes unfathomable problems, so I won’t even think about that haha. So if you’re using a ¼’’ seam allowance to attach the binding, don’t cut away more than ⅛’’ of your quilt corner.
The other place where you can save some bulk is in the seam allowance of the binding. If you cut the fold in the seam allowance open (picture 1) and bring the top layer back (picture 2), you’ll see this little triangle in the very corner of the quilt. You can cut (picture 3) some of it away (but again, not too close to the seam!).
Cutting away this excess fabric will remove some of the bulk making the corners fold nicely to the other side and lay flat. But as I’ve said, make sure you do this with caution!
TRICK #8: Use a pin to fold the corner
This trick is for when you’re sewing that last seam to sew the binding on the front of the quilt. As you’re approaching the corner, you need to fold the binding to create that perfect 45-degree angle.
A great little trick I learned is to use a pin to help fold the binding neatly. Fold the binding over the bottom side you’re approaching. You will get a nice 45-degree fold on the side. Then, place a needle vertically along the side of the quilt and fold the binding over. Take the pin out and pin the corner you just created in place.
TRICK #9: Leave the needle in when rotating
I’ve seen people struggle with how to rotate the quilt when sewing that last seam. The trick is to leave the needle in the fabric (so in the bottom position) and then carefully turn the quilt. This way all your layers will stay perfectly in place and you don’t need to worry about stopping and starting the seam.
Newer machines usually do this for you – they leave the needle in the bottom position when you stop sewing. With older machines, you have to pay attention and remember to leave the needle down yourself.
They say a good magician never reveals their tricks, but here I am, revealing all my tricks. I guess that makes me a not-good magician haha.
You know we love sharing all our quilting secrets with you. But we would love to hear yours, as well! Do you have any tricks you use to get sharp quilt binding corners? Let us know in the comments below!