Friday 1 July 2016

Adding Mitred Borders to Quilt Blocks {A Tutorial}

I've been working on a quilt top over the last month or so, that has involved adding mitred borders to each of my blocks. These can be a little intimidating, so when I had to decide on what my tutorial as part of the 2016 Finish A Long would be, I decided it would be a great topic to cover.

Mitred (or mitered, depending on your country) borders are borders that are joined at a 45 degree angle at the corners of the block or quilt. They can be really effective - especially if you use a directional fabric, such as a stripe.

To add mitred borders to a block, you will need to do a simple calculation to figure out what sized borders you need to cut.

1. Decide what width borders you want to add to your quilt block. 

For example, if you want an 8" x 8" quilt block to finish at 12" x 12", you will need to add 2.5" borders to each side. This calculation is:

(Desired Block Size - Current Block Size)  +  0.5"

which is:

(12 - 8)    + 0.5"

2. Calculate the length of the border strips.

Your border strips will be cut with enough overhand on both ends to enable you to sew a 45 degree angle. This calculation will give you strips that are a lot longer than you'll need, but it's far easier to

To calculate the length you'll need

(Current Block Size) + (Border width x 2) + 2"

So for the example above, the calculation would be:

(8") + (2 x 2") + 2 = 14"

Adding Mitred Borders

Once you've cut FOUR border strips, you're ready to add them to the quilt block.

  1. First take your block, and mark a point 1/4" in from both edges at all four corners. 

 2. Take your block, and finger press a small crease at the centre of all four sides. Take one border strip, finger press a small crease at the centre of the strip, and align this with the crease on the quilt block. Sew between the points marked on the block, leaving 1/4" unsewn on both ends of the seam, keeping the block on top as you sew the border strip. Stitch a few reverse stitches at both ends of this seam.

3. Continue around the edge of the block, adding border strips and aligning the centre as per step 2. You will need to fold back the edge of the first strip and take care not to catch it as you sew each subsequent strip to the block.

4. Once you've sewn all four border strips on, you'll have an interesting looking piece, with bits hanging out at the corners... Don't press anything yet!

5. Take a ruler, and line up the 45 degree line along the outer edge of your border strip, and align the edge of the ruler with the mark 1/4" in from the corner of your block.

Mark this line on all 8 ends of your border strips.

6. At each corner, fold the block diagonally in half, and carefully align your drawn lines, and pin.

7. Starting right at the point where the seams around the block meet, sew along the marked line, securing the start of your seam with a few reverse stitches. Repeat for all four corners.

8. Take your ruler, and trim 1/4" away from each of these seams.

The wrong side of your block should look something like this after trimming.

9. Now it's time to press your block! First, carefully press the corner seams open.

And then carefully press the borders away from the block.

And there you have it, a block with mitred borders! I'm hoping to properly share the quilt I've been working on using this technique very soon - but this is a sneak peek...

Hopefully it won't be so long between blog posts from now on - I have quite a few things to share, once I get my shit together and take some decent photos!

xx Jess


barcord said...

Thank you Jess. This is really helpful. Mitred borders is something I have never tackled. I think I could give it a go now.

Debbie said...

Thanks for this tutorial! I bit of a tricky method, but not really that hard!

Leanne said...

I love how those stripes matched up! Thank you for the clever tutorial!

cathallen said...

Fantastic tutorial Jess & wonderful quilt top!

Archie The Wonder Dog said...

I love mitred borders on blocks!

Rachaeldaisy said...

That's a great tutorial. it's so effective with that wonderful stripe fabric.

Nicky said...

Lovely tailored finish - especially when those stripes match up beautifully

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this tutorial. I used to fear doing mitred borders. Going by trial and error. Now I know the trick I must go try it again. :)

Sew of Course said...

Thanks for a wonderful tutorial! I have only used mitred borders to a whole quilt. They look great on your blocks, I must try that one day too!

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