Home Decor Sewing School | How to Sew Boxed Corners

If you tuned into Instagram this past weekend, you saw that I spent many hours seated at my sewing machine! I’ll show you what all I made on Thursday, but today I wanted to pop in with another installment of my Home Decor Sewing School series. This series is all about breaking down common techniques and projects that are used to make basic home decor items. I am not an expert sewer, but mastering these basic techniques has allowed me to create unique and perfectly-tailored items for our home, time and time again. We’ve covered how to make piping and pillows shams. Today I want to show you how to sew boxed corners, allowing you to transform a flat piece of fabric into a 3-dimensional one that can fit onto cushions, tables, and more!

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Some of you may be scratching your head thinking “Why is it so handy to be able to sew a box corner?” Well…mastering this one, very simple technique opens up a whole possibility of projects for your home. Even if you’re not following a specific pattern or project tutorial, understanding how to give a flat piece of fabric dimension via corner seams allows you to make really tailored fabric items such as slip covers, cushion covers, sheets, tailored table cloths, and more! Here is just a sample of projects I’ve done in our homes over the years that have all used the boxed corner technique.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Chair Slip Covers | Ottoman Slip Cover | Boxed Cushion Cover | Crib Sheets

Once you understand how to sew fabric together to make a simple corner seam, your eyes really will be opened to the various projects you can now do. I promise this one is a simple one…here is what you need to get started:

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Materials Needed to Sew a Boxed Corner

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  1. Fabric
  2. Coordinating thread
  3. Rotary cutting set including a self-healing mat, long ruler, and rotary cutter
  4. Square cutting ruler (optional)
  5. Pins and sewing machine (not pictured)

Measuring and Cutting Your Fabric for a Boxed Seam

I’ve shared with you all before that I’m not really one for following patterns. I like to make things up as I go; I tend to look at my item and figure out how to get the look I want. That’s why understanding this technique is so handy! But since I don’t have a specific project I’m sharing this technique for, I’m going to speak in some generic abstracts. Let’s say you want to make a tailored table cloth, an ottoman slipcover or even a stool cover, you will need to measure your specific item that you are covering as described below to figure out how much fabric you need AND exactly what dimensions to cut the fabric down to:

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

A note here on letter C – the amount needed for hem and/or seam allowance. This measurement is somewhat up to you based on what you are doing and how much of a hem/seam allowance you like to work with. If you’re making a table cloth or slip cover, a 2-3″ hem is probably sufficient. If you’re going to be attaching another piece of fabric along the bottom (to make a full cushion cover, for example) then you may need only 1/2″ extra for seam allowance. Think about your project and how much excess fabric you will need here!

Once you figure out your dimensions for your specific project as described above, cut the fabric down using a rotary cutter and ruler…

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Next, you will need to determine how much fabric to cut away in order to make a perfectly-fitting corner seam. Use the graphic below to help you:

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

In my sample project, the item I am covering is 6″ high (B). I then decided to give myself 2 inches for hem (C). As such, I used my square ruler to cut out 8″x8″ squares from all four corners of my fabric. If you don’t have a square cutting ruler, you can use a regular ruler and a pen to mark your dimensions.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Next, cut out the square according to the dimensions you determined above!

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Sewing the Boxed Corner Seam – Method 1 (The Really Easy Way)

With your square of fabric cut away, it’s time to sew up your corners! Simply bring one of the cut out edges to the other (on the same square).

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

For this method, you’ll want to make sure you’re RIGHT sides are together and the top and sides line up perfectly. You may certainly pin this seam in place if you need to.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Using your sewing machine and coordinating thread, sew the two edges of the cut-out square together using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

If your fabric frays or you want to keep the edges from rolling, you can either use a wide zig-zag stitch or a serger to finish the raw edge. Repeat the process on all four corners of your project.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Once turned right-side-out and pressed, you’ll have lovely corner seams that allow your fabric to now fit perfectly over a table/cushion/whatever!

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Sewing the Boxed Corner – Method 2 (French Seams)

The method I described above is super simple, friends. I mean it. You can have all four corner seams done in about 10 minutes. This next method (French seams – ooo la la!) is almost as easy and almost as fast; it just has a few extra steps to help make your seams a little more durable and polished!

You will cut out your fabric and corners exactly as described above. This time, however, instead of bringing the RIGHT sides of fabric together, you will bring the WRONG sides of your fabric together. It’s still the two edges of the cut-out square, just brought together the other way.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

This time, sew the seam with a 1/4″ seam allowance…

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Next, use a ruler and rotary cutter to trim away 1/8″ of that seam allowance (essentially trimming it down by half).

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Now, take that same seam and turn your fabric inside-out so that your RIGHT sides are finally together. You’ll notice below that this essentially flips your first seam to the inside. Press this seam with a hot iron to make sure it’s nice and flat.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Go back and sew the seam again, this time with RIGHT sides together but again using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

When done, you will notice that the raw edges are caught in between the two seams, meaning you don’t need to serge or zig-zag to clean up any raw edges.

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Again, once turned right-side out, you’ll end up with a lovely boxed corner seam!

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Which method to use is mostly a matter of preference and the type of fabric you’re using. This red start fabric is a flannel which frays like crazy. And since it’s going to be washed a ton, I chose to use Method 2 which  enclosed the raw fabric edge into the seam. This way, with the loads and loads of washing it’s sure to get…I don’t need to worry about the fabric (and therefore the seam!) ultimately washing away! Sneak peek:

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

Once you master this very easy technique, I swear your eyes will be opened to potential projects all over your home! With some precise measuring and cutting, you can make tailored covers for just about anything. Sure there are other ways to create covers like the ones I’ve shown here, but this most-basic technique will get you off and running in no time!

Home Decor Sewing School

The Home Decor Sewing School Series is all about providing thorough, easy-to-follow tutorials for the skills and concepts used most in home decor projects! Catch up on other posts in this series below!

Home Decor Sewing School | How To Make Piping for Home Decor Projects - Learn how to give your home decor projects a finished and professional look with DIY piping!Customize your bed linens and save money by making your own pillow shams! This tutorial walks you through everything you need to know!Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!The Half Square Triangle is a quick simple quilting technique! This tutorial teaches you how to sew a HST which can be turned into fun and stylish quilts for anyone!

Back here on Thursday, I’ll show you more details on what I was making here as well as LOTS more fun fabric projects for baby. See you then!

Learn the simple sewing technique for giving a flat piece of fabric boxed corners to fit over tables, cushions and more!

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8 Responses to Home Decor Sewing School | How to Sew Boxed Corners

  1. i love your sewing projects and ohhh the posibilities. I can sew straight lines and easy projects like that. Would you please do a post about 101 keeping care of your sewing machine? Maybe include the basic funtions about the sewing machine. I had mine for a while and still sometimes I do not how what is what and how to use it. The different icons, type of needles, etc. That will be so very helpful. THANKS!

  2. Loved these sewing projects!! I was wondering how to make the perfect fitted crib sheet with the elastics underneath them to hold those cornes, your link shows about the crib skirt. Do you have any other posts about sewing fitted crib sheet? I love all of your projects,the instructions are pretty clear that anyone can try without fear!
    Thank you
    Anju

  3. This is perfectly timed for me. I am making a tablecloth for a friend, and she mentioned a boxed corner. While I was thinking of the right idea, it’s nice to see the steps involved. It looks easy to do. Yeah! I need some easy in my life. 😉

  4. PErfect timing. I need a boxed corner cushion and I was about to just skip the boxed corners and make it rounded due to lack of knowledge. This seems simple so I am going to try it today!

  5. I will be using your “formula” and techniques for creating a wire kennel cover for my little pup Bachi. Many purchased patterns have failed me in the past. Wrong sizes and failed instructions. Your article will allow me to create something special for him. I will also put in a little window for him on the front (his request)!

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