A mitered corner, which one usually finds in a tailored garment where a facing and a hem would otherwise overlap, is not difficult to make if one knows how.
In my ladies tailoring class, we're using mitered corners where the back hem and back center slit meet. Without the mitered corner, either the hem or the seam allowance of the slit would overlap the other, creating a lot of bulk and a visible overlap line (if one looked for it). Think of a wooden picture frame: you wouldn't expect the side of the frame to overlap the bottom, or the bottom to overlap the side. Instead, they meet at a diagonal. A mitered corner is a beautiful touch in both carpentry and tailoring.
Here's how we were taught by our professor to create these.
First, we lay the seam allowance of the slit over the turned-up hem (see below). With a pair of scissors, we cut a shallow notch in the inside corner of the overlap. By shallow I mean less than 1/4".
We now open the layers, and with chalk, we rule a straight line between the notches. One notch will be on the side of the slit, the other on the hem. In my case, both the hem and the slit seam allowance are 1 1/2", so the ruled line forms a right triangle. If the hem were wider than the seam allowance (or vice versa) this would not be the case, but you'd still want to rule that line between the two notches.
On our tailored skirt, before creating the mitered corner, we need to add our Hong Kong finish to our raw seam allowances. The finish covers up the notches we cut so, following the chalk line that's still visible, we extend it over the bias finish. (The bias edge is wider on the inside of the opened hem to accommodate our hand hemming stitches -- we'll address hemming in a later post.)
Now we fold the corner from the center of the chalk line so that two equal lengths of chalk line overlap, like we were making a paper airplane. (We're folding our triangle in half.) We're going to machine stitch along the folded chalk line, matching the chalk line on both sides. Basting helps. (You can also sew starting at the seam binding, the opposite direction of the one shown below).
Now, with a finger, we open out the two-layered triangle to form a flat square. Think origami!
We will push the square to the inside of the corner, shaping the corner with a point presser and flattening all the layers. Press.
Notice that there is no trimming involved in this method. If at some future time we want to lengthen the hem of the skirt, we can do so. If we trimmed off the triangle below our original chalk mark, the hem could no longer be lengthened. I hope that's clear.
And there you have it: mitered corners!
BTW, it's pronounced might-ered. (I used to say meet-ered.)
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!