Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to sew a Mitered Corner (and How To get your Tablecloth to Lay Flat)

I am always glad to be able to share some sewing tips with you all! I love learning new things and sharing them with you! Today I am going to show you how to make a mitered corner.

Mitered corners is something I have done in the past, but it is one of those things that takes me a while to figure out and actually think through before I "get it." Really it is quite simple!

I was working on a tablecloth a friend of mine ordered, and decided it would look much neater with mitered corners. I turned to my lifesaver-of-a-book-series, the Singer Sewing Reference Library: Sewing for the Home. I used these same books for this project, and often find myself referring to them! Copyrighted in 1984, they are a little outdated, but the techniques haven't changed. They made this project so much easier!

I started by pressing my hem all the way around. I finish my raw edges with a serger and then pressed 1" over on all sides for a 1" hem. I pressed the corners very well.

This gave me nice clear crease lines when I opened the hem back up.

I folded the corner back until those crease lines matched up with each other.

And then pressed my new horizontal line really well!

Opened it again, and there is a nice crease line making a triangle on the corner.

I folded the corner right sides together so that the raw edges were even. I pinned that in place, making sure that horizontal line was still visible. (That crease line is important!)

It is pretty much impossible to see in this picture, but I just sewed across that horizontal line.

That made a triangle-shaped corner, which I trimmed down to 3/8". Then I trimmed the corner of that even more to make it angled. Once you turn this baby right side out, all that extra fabric would get in the way and keep it from laying down nice and flat, so this is important!

Then I just turned it right side out and pressed the whole corner, making sure that little seam I had made on the horizontal crease was laying open and flat.

And, its done! Repeated 3 more times, and I had a tablecloth with nice, even, mitered corners!

And from the front, after I hemmed the entire thing...

It was really nice to just sew a nice straight hem all the way around, just putting my needle down when I got to the corner, turning the fabric, and continuing on! It made everything look so nice and smooth and professional!

I accidentally discovered another trick while I was working on this tablecloth that I can't wait to share with you! Maybe this is a common technique, and I'm just the last one to figure it out, but it was a small trick with a huge impact!

In order to make the tablecloth wide enough, I had to join two lengths of fabric together and match up the print. I have done this before with curtains, but never with something that had to lay flat like a tablecloth. I was able to get the pattern lined up exactly (just ask if you want more details on that process!) and then sewed the two pieces together. Then I had a great idea to get the seam to lay flat and not be all wonky once it got on the table.

Here is how I did it:

1. First I sewed the two pieces together (making sure the print of the fabric was exactly lined up). That is the green line you see to the right.

2. Next I serged the entire seam, keeping it close to that first line. The serger cuts off all the excess, so I was left with a little stubby seam.

3. Lastly, I sewed the "flapping" edge down. That is the green line on the left.

I wasn't sure if it would turn out better or worse, since now there would basically be two lines running down the middle of the tablecloth. But it was amazing!  Here it is from the right side:

It only worked because a) the thread was the exact green of the fabric, so it blended in perfect and b) because I worked until I got the tension of the thread exactly right so that everything would lay flat with no bunching. If the seam had been bunched up it would have been waaay more noticable and not at all nice. But as it was, it was great! Well, as great as a seam down the middle of a table can be.

So there is a little picture tutorial on mitered corners and how to get your tablecloth to lay flat. Haha. It totally left me wanting to try it again! What new things have you tried recently? Anything so fun your just rushing to give it another whirl?


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