Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Square Points

Wednesday Tip of the Week

When sewing to create square corners, most pattern instructions tell the sewer to stitch, pivot 90 degrees and continue stitching. They further instruct the sewer to trim off the corner point seam allowance before turning the corner right side out. But, by doing so how many times has a perfectly square corner resulted? In my experience, not many.

I no longer trim my corners before I turn them. I also don't sew and pivot 90 degrees. Instead I stitch off the end of the first side of the corner seam. Then I turn the fabric 90 degrees and stitch in the other direction. This creates a perfect 90 degree turn in the stitching. To ensure a tight corner, I re-stitch the turn, using the pivot method, starting and ending about an inch from the turn. The original stitching provides a convenient guide to know when to pivot, creating a perfect 90 degree turn.  

Stitch each seam separately
Stitch corner using pivot method on top of previous stitching to reinforce corner
Depending on the weight and bulk of the seam I may trim the seam down a bit, but I never cut off the corner as most instructions advise. Instead, I place my thumb into the corner and fold one side of the corner seam allowance downward along the seam line.  

Insert thumb into corner
With fore finger and thumb grasp one seam allowance and turn down on seam line
With my fore finger and thumb together I fold down the other seam allowances to form the 90 degree square. 

Holding the folded seam allowances together, I turn the corner right side out. Voila, the corner point should be a clean 90 degrees.  
Now fold down other seam allowance to form square
Turn right side out and with fingers form square

A perfectly square corner
This works great on most light to medium weight fabrics. For heavier fabrics I will grade the seam allowance to reduce the bulk but I don't cut away the corner. Sometimes, a corner turner tool might be needed to finesse the corner. 

This doesn't work as well for points less than 90 degrees, such as in a dress shirt collar. Pointy collars in particular need some trimming, but for all  square corners it is the best way to produce sharp, crisp corners.  


  1. Thanks for the instructions, I will try your method next time!

  2. You're welcome. Let me know if it doesn't work.

  3. Great tip! I have an ongoing crafty-sewing-thingy that requires square points, and this is a much better way. Thank you!

  4. It works amazingly well. Thanks for your comment.