Making a Mitred Border

Mitred borders allow patterns to be matched around the corners

A mitred border requires additional fabric in order to "set" the mitre

Measure the quilt in both directions to calculate a “base” measurement for each border.

Do not take the measurements on the edge of the quilt as the seams may have opened a little and will give a false result. Instead position the tape measure approximately 20 -30 cm in from the edge at both ends. Take a third measurement through the centre of the quilt.

Measure the quilt in 3 places to get an average measurement

Now average the three measurements to find the “base measurement”.

However, If there is more than a 1cm variation in the measurements it means that the piecing seams are not even so go back to the quilt and adjust seams before adding border. 

When your quilt sits, & hangs, flat you will be pleased
that you took the time to do this!

To calculate the lengths that need to be cut for each border you must add an allowance for the mitre as follows:

 “base measurement”   +   (width of border x 2)   +  approx 20cm 

eg: if the quilt is 150cm x 100cm and the borders will be 15 cm wide 
 150 + 30 + 20 = 200 cm    cut  2 strips for vertical border
100 +30 + 20 = 150cm    cut 2 strips for horizontal borders.

If using more than one border, strip piece the borders together before cutting to length. They are then treated like a striped fabric when joining them to the quilt.

Find the centre point in the length of the border. Now working out from the centre, mark half the “base measurement”length in both directions. You should have a “tongue” left over at each end which is equal to the extra that you have allowed for the mitre


Mark quarter points on the border and divide quilt edge into half way point and quarter points.

Stitch border to quilt matching quarter and half way points. Be sure to start and finish seam exactly ¼” from the raw edges.

Stitch one of the adjacent borders onto the quilt in the same manner, remembering to pin first border excess well out of way before adding the next border.

 Make a mitre before continuing to add the other sides:

  • Fold the quilt in half diagonally so that the right sides are together
  • Pin match the seams so that they are aligned together.
  • 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.
  • Be sure to start the line exactly at the spot where the border stitching finished otherwise you will end up with a pleat.
  • Stitch on the line. Check mitre, trim excess fabric away and press seam open.

Continue adding the remaining borders and mitre the corners in the same manner.

The Secret to Making a Smooth Mitred Corner

  • stop stitching exactly 1/4″ from corner of the quilt. 
  • make the stitching line at an exact 45º angle.
  • keep the corner at an exact 90º angle.
  • be sure that the border sits flat with out any excess fullness around the corner seam.

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