You know those neat, crisp corners on quilts and professionally sewn napkins that you look at and say “I could never do that?” You’re not alone; we’ve been there! We’re pleased to report that mastering mitered corners is easier than you may think, especially when you’ve got the right fabric. Our Lightweight Cotton Twill (perfect for reusable napkins and table linens) has just enough structure to make crisp corners, but is light enough to be easy breezy to work with. It prints vibrantly and is brilliantly wash fast, so your new napkins will hold up. Follow along as we reveal the secret to sewing crisp, perfect mitered corners.  

Brand new Lightweight Cotton Twill is perfect for napkins
Design shown here is Onion Rings by Zoe Ingram

Supplies

  • fat quarter of new Lightweight Cotton Twill
  • water erasable fabric pen
  • iron
  • scissors or rotary blade
  • straight pins
  • coordinating thread
  • clear ruler
  • seam guide

Notes

Prewash, dry, and iron the fabric before starting. Be sure to pick cotton thread that coordinates with your fabric. This may not be considered an industry standard napkin size, but for convenience we used one 29″ x 18″ Lightweight Cotton Twill fat quarter of Onion Rings by Zoe Ingram.

supplies needed

Step 1: cutting your fabric

Begin by cutting the white selvedge edges off your fat quarter. If you’re starting from a yard, cut a 29″ x 18″ rectangle of printed fabric.

fold the edges of your Lightweight Cotton Twill

Step 2: fold and press edges

Unfold the edges of your fabric

Once your fabric is cut down and before you begin to sew, you will fold and iron your edges. Begin by folding over an edge about half an inch and iron down the entire edge of one side. Be sure to press firmly with the iron, as this will create a guideline for your mitered corner without having to draw a line with your pen.  For our napkin, we will fold over the fabric edge by half an inch and iron the entire edge and then fold a second time (half an inch) and iron again. This will create a clean edge on the wrong side of your napkin. Repeat this step for all four sides.

The fold lines should be visible when opening up your fabric, and you will notice that a square has been created, with the outer seam bordering it on two sides. The corner of the square closest to the center of your tea towel / napkin will actually become the outer corner of your finished napkin.

Step 3: mark and trim your corners

Create a reference line and trim your fabric

Step 4: fold and pin

fold fabric right sides facing

Fold your fabric in on itself at the corner you just snipped, right sides facing. Pin or clip the fabric together to hold it steady.

Step 5: sew your corners

sew your mitered corner

Sew your mitered corner stitch into each corner. Starting at either edge,  sew from the diagonal fold toward the edge of your fabric, and half inch from the fabric toward the fold. We highlighted our fold line and stitch lines with the erasable marker.

snip the bulk of your napkin corner inside the seam

Step 6: snip

turn out the seam to reveal your mitered corner

Snip the “bulk” out of your corner.

Step 7: turn the corner out

Using a chop stick or blunt end of a stick, turn the mitered corner out.

Step 8: fold and press

Fold in the raw edge and press with your iron

Step 9: edge stitch

Edge stitch your hem with a medium length straight stitch, getting as close to the inner edge of that hem as you can.

You’re done! Marvel at how neat and professional looking your napkin is!

Now that you’ve learned how to miter a corner, there’s practically nothing you can’t do. Climb every mountain! Miter every corner! Get inspired by thousands of designs (this Pasta Collection by Zoe Ingram is what I’m currently obsessing over right now) and get to stitchin’! You’re gonna love sewing with the new Lightweight Cotton Twill. Don’t forget to share your mitered corners with us by tagging #spoonflower.

Happy making!

-Theresa

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    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your question! While we haven’t personally tested out this method, this tutorial should help get you started. Additionally, if you’re concerned with ironing the fleece, we recommend setting your iron to the polyester setting and using a press cloth to prevent direct contact with the fleece. I hope that helps, but if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask! – Meredith

  • Gaye Paquet

    Most napkins are square. 29″x18″ is an odd size. You never said to cut it down. Is this really the size you are using?

    • Hi Gaye! When you’re doing-it-yourself, napkins can really be any shape or size you wish them to be. 🙂 For our napkins, we went off the size of a fat quarter of Lightweight Cotton Twill which is 29″ x 18″. Please do not feel obligated to stick to our size of napkin, or society’s size of napkin for that matter! Do your own thing, napkin in whatever way makes you happy.