Learn how to sew corners with these tips and tricks. Sewing corners is a basic skill that you can easily master.
Sewing corners doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, your sewing machine may be designed to help you sew perfect corners.
And if your sewing machine doesn’t have this design built-in, you can use something as simple as tape (I like to use Washi tape or painter’s tape) to help you sew perfect corners.
If you learn best by watching, simply click on the below image to go to my YouTube channel to watch the How to Sew Corners video by Hooked on Sewing!
Tips for Sewing Corners
#1: Use the Guide on Your Needle Plate
Take a look at your needle plate. It may have stitch guides that are etched into the needle plate. If it does, you can use these guides to line up the sides of your fabric for your seam allowance.
You can also use the etched guides to know when to rotate your fabric for sewing a corner.
How to Use the Needle Plate Stitch Guides
Take a look at the needle plates for my Janome Memory Craft 8200 QCP. The first picture is of the Zig Zag Needle Plate. The second picture below is of the Straight Stitch Needle Plate.
You will notice they have horizontal, vertical and even some diagonal markings or etchings. What do all those etchings mean? They were etched there on purpose to help you sew straighter seams!
- Starting Needle Position – The hole in the center of the needle plate (centered above your feed dogs) is the starting needle position. You’ll also notice there is a horizontal line that runs across the needle plate. This indicates where the needle will drop when you start sewing.
- 5/8″ seam guide (vertical) – With your needle in the center position, line up the edge of the fabric with this mark to sew a consistent 5/8″ seam.
- 5/8″ seam guides (horizontal) – To make a perfect pivot for your corner, stop sewing when the end of the fabric reaches the 5/8″ horizontal guide line. With the needle still down, raise the presser foot and rotate the fabric 90 degrees lining up the edge with the 5/8″ seam guide. Continue sewing.
#2: Use Tape to Make Seam Guides
If your sewing machine does not have the seam guides, you can make your own! I like to use Washi tape, but you can also use painter’s tape or even masking tape.
Supplies & Tools Needed
- seam gauge (small metal ruler) or tape measure
- tape: use washi, painter’s, or masking tape
How to Make Seam Guides
- Start with the sewing machine needle in the down position and the presser foot raised. Find the 5/8″ mark on your gauge (or whatever measurement you want to mark, such as 1/2″ or 3/8″). Line up the 5/8″ mark on the seam gauge with the front center of the needle.
- Take the tape and line it up with the short end of the seam gauge. Pull the tape forward, keeping it as straight as possible and put into position. You can measure from say the edge of the presser plate to the side of the tape to make sure you have it straight. Adjust accordingly.
- To make the horizontal guide for a 5/8″ seam, measure down from the front of the sewing machine and line up the tape horizontally on the presser plate. Again, you can use the edge of the presser plate to make sure you have the tape lined up nice and straight.
#3: Mark Your Seams
Probably the easiest way for beginners to sew even seams and pivot corners is to mark the seam allowance. You can mark the entire seam allowance or just the corners or locations where you feel you need a little extra guidance.
Supplies & Tools Needed:
- fabric marking utensil such as: tailor’s chalk, water soluble marker, disappearing ink, or heat erasable (to name a few).
- acrylic ruler
How to Mark Your Seams
- Measure up about 2″ from a corner, line up the acrylic ruler so that it is 5/8″ from the edge.
- Use a fabric marker of your choice to draw a straight line down the edge of the ruler, extending all the way to the edge of the fabric.
- Rotate the fabric and again line up the ruler with the edge of the fabric at the 5/8″ line and mark the fabric by drawing a straight line down the edge of the ruler a couple of inches.
- Repeat for each corner.
#4: Trim the Corners
Once you have your corners sewn, the most important thing you can do to have nice sharp corners is to properly trim the corners.
Supplies & Tools Needed:
The only tools you need to trim the corners is a pair of fabric scissors.
How to Trim Corners
- Snip directly across the corner of the fabric close to, but not through, the stitching.
- If you used a wide seam or have multiple layers of fabric, you can also trim each side of the corner at an angle.
How to Sew Corners
Below is an easy to read how to for sewing corners. You can even print out the how-to for easy reference.
How to Sew Corners
Learn how to sew perfect corners with these simple tips.
- matching thread
- fabric marking pen or tailor's chalk
- sewing machine
- sewing gauge
- acrylic ruler
- Start stitching down one side of the fabric using the appropriate seam allowance until you reach your turning point.
- With the sewing needle down, raise the presser foot and rotate the fabric counter-clockwise 90 degrees, or until the edge of the fabric lines up with the seam gauge on the needle plate.
- Lower the presser foot and continue sewing.
- Repeat with the remaining corners.
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Learn to Sew
Be sure to read all the tutorials in the Learn to Sew series here on Hooked on Sewing. Here are a few of the lessons you’ll find:
- How to sew a straight line.
- How to properly wind a bobbin.
- The best fabric and thread for learning to sew.
- How to clean your sewing machine.
And to have new tutorials and patterns delivered straight to your inbox, be sure to subscribe to the Hooked on Sewing newsletter.
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