customized gifts for mom customized rustic pillow covers How to Sew a Corner (aka Mitered) Hem
Updated: :2019-09-18

Corners get a bad rap. You get backed into them, things go wrong when you cut them, and when you're bad, you have to stand in them. In sewing, when two exterior raw edges come together at 90?, you're faced with hemming around a corner. If you've always been fearful about what lurks around a hemmed corner, this is the tutorial for you. Today, we'll show you the easiest ways to sew a corner hem. You'll learn how to fold and sew the fabric at the corner of a hem so there is a diagonal seam from the point of the corner to inside the edge of the hem. The diagonal seam is the point of the miter, which is why this type of hem finish is sometimes referred to as a mitered hem.?

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Sewing a corner hem is considered a professional level finish, but don't let the word “professional” stop you in your tracks. It’s really quite simple; it just takes a few extra steps. Once you know those stepscustomized gifts for mom, you'll be cornerin' like an Indy race car driver!?

Panel curtains or other types of window treatments: there is almost always a corner hem at the bottom corner edges. If the curtain is lined, the lining is sewn separately and is shorter than the hemline so as not to interfere with the corner hem process.

Table linens, such as placemats, tablecloths?or napkins sewn with a single layer of fabric: a corner hem eliminates bulk in the corners, which aids in the function as well as the appearance of your finished item.

Garments, such as our famous Sew4Home aprons: corner hems also show up in slits on a skirt or vents in a coat. This is especially true if the garment is made of wool or other heavy weight fabric. If the garment has a lining, the lining is left unsewn at the corners, then is hand-tacked into place after the corner hem is completed. Use today's technique on the three tiers of yesterday's?Michael Miller Cotton Couture shabby chic ombre apron!

Quilt bindings: because the main purpose of a corner hem is to eliminate bulk, this technique is a favorite among quilters to create beautiful bindings.?

The easiest situation for a corner hem is when the side hem and bottom (or next side) hem are equal in depth. In some of the examples we listed above, like a slit in a skirt or the corners of a napkin, the depth of the hem is the same. However, there are always exceptions to the rule! In the case of panel curtains, the side hem is usually shorter in depth than the bottom hem. Therefore, there is a separate way to create a corner or mitered hem for this specific instance. Below, we show you both options.?

Before we get into the details of how to sew this corner hem, we want to make you aware of the hem allowance measurement. With this technique, you usually turn under the raw edge a small measurement (approximately ?" to ?"), then turn the hem under again a set measurement to reach your finished length. Traditionally, this second measurement is equal to or larger than your first measurement. In our example, we turned under the raw edge ?", then turned under the hem again 1". If you’re following a pattern or tutorial, the instructions should guide you how to handle the hem allowance. If you’re creating something from scratch, just remember to keep the total hem allowance needed in mind before cutting the fabric.

Unlike the equal hem depth example above, this bad boy is a little trickier and takes a bit of fussing to get the miter just right. For our sample, we are pretending to hem the corner of a drapery panel where the bottom hem is much deeper than the side hems. Our side hem is 1" and our bottom hem is 3". However, as in the example above, in addition, we first press under the raw edge a small measurement; we used ?".

In our examples above, we opted to turn under the raw edges of the fabric along the hems. However, you can also finish the raw edges of your fabric first,?before creating the corner hem, using a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine or an overlock stitch on your serger. Our photo shows a serged edge.?

Other than finishing the edge first, all the remaining steps are exactly the same. You can use the serging itself as a guideline to sew around the hem once the corner hem has been completed.?

If you are a S4H regular, you know we are passionate about pressing! It is a key component in most sewing techniques and corner hems are no exception. You rely on your pressed lines to know where to start and stop sewing, as well as where to create the mitered point on an unequal hem allowance. You must be very precise with your pressing in order for the points of intersection to be accurate.

In addition, as we stated earlier, one of the main reasons for creating a corner (or mitered) hem is to eliminate bulk. If you’re using a bulky fabric, you need to be cautious about leaving a pressing imprint on the right side of your fabric. Place a piece of heavy paper, cardboard or a metal hem gauge?between the hem and the fabric to prevent unwanted imprinting.

For narrow hems of equal depth on lightweight fabrics, check out our clever folding-and-pressing-only tutorial. Not a true miter, but still super cool.

Clean Corners on Narrow Hems

Contributors

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Jodi Kelly

I buy ugly pillows! ?Sometimes I take my son with me and pile the cart high with ugly pillows on top of him. ?Well, it is one way to make home shopping fun for my boy :)

(Video link here.) Ippitsuryu is a rare Japanese artistic tradition that has been practiced for generations largely by the same family. The mythical dragon, considered to be the embodiment a deity and the source of all animals, is rendered in a single astonishing stroke that is later embellished and refined. This video shows it in its most elemental form as a brush patiently, serenely twists and turns until the image is complete.

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