Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Project 4 - Triple Rail Fence Quilt - Mitered Borders

Oh Boy.  My first attempt at mitered border corners was not a success.  I don't understand where I went wrong - I followed the instructions, but must have mis-understood somewhere - either that or my sewing skills are just not up to it.

After cutting, pinning and sewing the borders to the top, the next step is to fold, press and glue the corner into place - yep, no problems there. Then over to the sewing machine.

For my first corner I ended up with a hole.

a nasty opps!

I think I know where I got it wrong here.  The instructions for the side borders say to stop sewing 1/4" from the end of the seam.  I did this, but I also started 1/4 from the end of the seams on both the side and top/bottom corners - this is what makes a hole!

Ok, so I repaired the hole and stitched up to the seamlines on the other borders, so it didn't happen again. 

It's not pretty is it.  What a mess!  And why are the seam stitches showing on the top like that?

The second & third corners weren't much better

Again, the seams have pulled and the stitching is showing.

So the seams are stretching as I sew, or at the ironing board, I don't know.  None of the corners sit flat, they all have little peaks, like tents.

As you can see, I'm also having trouble pressing the seams correctly.

So I'm kinda embarrassed to show these pathetic corners, but I'm hoping someone can help explain what is going wrong here. 

Before putting on the borders, I measured up all the corners, making sure they were perfectly square and flat.  Once the borders were on, the corners are distorted with little tents on each one.  My top is now all wavy around the edges, even after trimming back to size.

So now what do I do?  I considered pulling the whole lot apart and starting again.  Now that the fabric has stretched in the corners, I don't know if I can repair the damage nor do I have enough fabric to re-cut new ones.  I think I'm going to have to live with it - it's a practice quilt after all.  Besides, I'm way behind schedule as it is - I'm not going to get all these tops made into quilts before book 2 is released at this rate!

For now I'll put it aside until I can get some hands-on advice.  I think I need someone to physically show me how this is done, so I can understand what I did wrong, before I try again.


  1. Lesley, I think where it all went wrong is the stitching. Look on page 98 #2. Stitch right up to the seam line - not 1/4" from it. If you draw a 1/4" line on both sides of the corner, you would stitch right up to where the lines come together. This makes a tight corner - no gap. Did you work on the ironing board to lay out the corner? You need a large, hard flat surface. Also, if you press the fold after you glue it, it will hold tight so that when you turn it wrong side out to stitch, it holds tight. As for the wavy borders, did you pre-measure the sides? Now you know why you don't see a lot of mitered corners on quilts! It really is quite easy once you have worked through it - like you have. The true joy of making samples and not being committed to something that is a true disappointment when it doesn't work out just right the first time. Let me know if I missed something and can help more. We get the preveiw copies of Volume 2 today. Can't wait to see it for real.

  2. Hi Lesley,

    I did a tutorial on mitred corners which may help you with your corners. Regards Tiramisue.