To Miter or Not? How to Sew a Double Fold Hem with 3 Corner Options

Flat projects, like napkins, scarves, placemats, dishtowels, etc., are excellent ways to showcase your printed, dyed or painted fabrics.  One technique that I often use in these projects is a mitered corner with a double fold hem.  It is a clean and professional looking way to encase a raw edge and remove all the extra bulk from the corners of your fabric.  This post covers the basics for making a double fold hem and choosing and sewing three types of corners.

What are we are talking about:

A double fold hem is a way to encase the raw edge of fabric by folding the edge over twice – as simple as it sounds! You can see the difference here:

A mitered corner is a technique that creates a corner where your fabric meets at an angle, removing all the bulk from folded over fabric.  As you can see from the picture below, there can be a lot of extra fabric in a double folded corner and mitering will both get rid of it and hide your raw edge.

How to press a double-fold hem

  1. Decide on your hem allowance (the amount of fabric you want to use for your hem) and divide it in 1/2 for each fold.  In this example, I am using a one inch hem allowance, so I am making my first fold a 1/2 inch and then my second fold with be 1/2 in as well.
  2. Press 1/2 your hem allowance to the wrong side of the fabric.  Here, I am making a 1/2 inch hem.  Having trouble keeping your pressed edge straight?  Press the fabric over the edge of a piece of card-stock or thin cardboard as a guide.
  3. Next fold over your fabric and press again to the wrong side.  Here, I am pressing another 1/2 inch hem. You have folded a double foldhem!  Easy – peasy!  Before you topstitch it, read on for information about corners.

Corner Options:

You have 3 options for dealing with corners when making a double fold hem:

  • Leave as is and stitch.  If your fabric is not too bulky, mitered corners make your eyes cross, and your corner looks neat and tidy, this may be the option for you.  Personally, I am a miter-er, but hey, each to his or her own.
  • Make a sewn mitered corner.  This is a mitered corner with the miter seam stitched closed.   I prefer this for a project I want to last for a while because it keeps its shape over time.
  • Make a folded mitered corner.  Instead of stitching the mitered seam closed, it is just folded.   I find that the fabric usually gapes a bit with some wear and tear and don’t keep a  crisp and pointed look over time, but it is a good option if you don’t want to take the extra step for a sewn mitered corner.

How to miter your corners – Sewn Miter

  1.  Take the corner and unfold the second fold.  See that creased corner? That is the new corner of your fabric when you are done folding and sewing.
  2. You need to  fold the fabric down to create a crease going across the fabric, just touching that crease corner.  Make sure it is straight across by lining up the crease lines when you fold.
  3. Unfold the new crease.  That  is your sew line.  When you sew that crease, you will stitching the miter seam together.
  4. Fold your fabric in half, right side together, like in the picture, and line up the crease.
  5. Sew across the crease and trim excess fabric to a 1/4 in.
  6. Now turn the corner, so right side is out, and poke out the corner using a pointed object like a knitting needle or chopstick.
  7. Topstitch around the edge of the hem.  I like to stitch from the underside of the fabric, so that I don’t miss any of the hem in my sewing.  If you do this, be sure to put your thread for the top of your fabric in your bobbin.

How to Miter your corners – Folded Miter

  1. Completely unfold the double fold hem around your corner.
  2. Draw a line through the middle square and cut along the line.
  3. Fold down newly cut edge so that the creases line up with each other and the new fold just touches the tip of the finished corner.
  4. Refold the double edged hem.
  5. Topstitch close to the edge of the hem.

So now you have 3 options for  how to deal with corners when using a double fold hem to encase a raw edge.  Later this week, I will be sharing a scarf project using these techniques.