Sewing Corner, Angle, and Pointed Seams Tutorial

After sewing the Style Arc Victoria I thought I’d share the method I used to sew those tricky corner seams you see at the back and  above the bust:


To follow my method you’re going to need small, very sharp scissors, pins, a pencil, ruler, and iron-on stabilizer. The stabilizer holds the shape of your fabric (silk georgette in this case) and will help you determine when to pivot. I’ve tried making corners without it before and found it much, much harder, especially on a lightweight fabric like this. Using stabilizer will make your life easier.

What you’re going to do first is make “stay” pieces from the stabilizer. Take the stabilizer and trace your pattern at the edges where the corners are. Then iron the stabilizer to the fabric. Take a pencil and mark your seam allowance on the stabilizer. In this case it is 3/8″. Create a stay for any piece where there’s a pivot point. Do it for both pieces of fabric that are going to be sewn together, not just the top one.

photo 1

Next you’re going to pin the pieces together at the seamline and at the corner. Make sure they match up at the pivot point. Since you marked the seamline it is easy to know just where to place that pin.

photo 2
Note: the basting stitches you see are just holding doubled-up layers of silk georgette together. They have nothing to do with this particular technique.

photo 3

Now stitch your seam, using your paper as a guide. I find it best to sew with the corner (as opposed to the “pointed” piece”) on top. Keep your needle in the down position whenever you stop.

photo 2

Decrease the stitch length when you are within 1/2″ of the corner. Stop EXACTLY at the corner. Very important: before lifting the presser foot, make sure your needle is in the down position!

photo 4
Note: this photo was taken from another corner. The one I took of the corner I was working on was out of focus.

Now lift your presser foot, take your scissors and cut into that corner at a 45º angle. It is exactly like a welt pocket where you don’t want to cut into the stitching, but instead get as close as possible (barely 1/16″). Just like with a welt pocket, the closer you cut the sharper your corner will be. Just make sure not to cut into the stitching!

photo 4

Now pivot and turn the fabric so the new seamline is in front of you. Take all of the fabric that’s bunched up and push it to the side and back, match up the seams and start sewing. It may take a minute to pivot and orient your fabric—just take your time! You’ll see a tiny fold right before the needle. Sew right over it. The more you cut into that corner the smaller the fold and the sharper your corner will be. That’s why it is important to cut as closely as possible. Once you are 1/2″ past the corner you can resume your normal stitch length.

photo 1

When you are done with your seam you can tear away the stabilizer. With my delicate fabric I had the best results when I held the seam allowance between my fingers very close to the stitching, and gently tugged at the stabilizer. The needle creates a proforated edge along the stabilizer which makes it a little easier to tear away. After you tear away the stabilizer from the main body the stabilizer in the seam allowance usually just falls away.

Now all that’s left to do is press your corner. I also topstitched mine.

photo 5

12 thoughts on “Sewing Corner, Angle, and Pointed Seams Tutorial

  1. Thank you for posting this. This is super, super helpful tutorial for this technique. I’ve seen general tutorials for this sort of thing posted, but you’ve added detail (i.e. the little fold that I always wondered about). I will definitely reference this the next time I have a project with corners.


    1. I’ve always wondered the same thing too, which is why I thought I would write my own tutorial. The closer you trim to the stitching the smaller that fold will be.


  2. Thank you for taking the time to document this technique. I plan to use it when I make my next version of Vogue 8975.


  3. I am i the process of making a jacket with these exact details. 2 days I’ve been trying to get the front panel onto the side panel and I just cannot get round that tight angle. A forum friend gave me this link. Thank you.


  4. Just saw this referenced on a PR review. Thank you so much for taking the time to clearly explain and photograph this technique. i have several books, but your tutorial is most clear.


  5. Despite sewing for 45 years, I have never really been completely happy with sewing seams like this. Thanks to your excellent tutorial, this has changed. Thanks so much for the very precise instructions. So glad I found your blog.


  6. I’m so impressed by your sewing. I’ve just found your blog from the Burda top 50. Do you find that Style Arc works best for you? I see you use those patterns alot…


    1. Yeah, they work pretty well for me. I really like how they include seam allowances as well as stitching lines, and how the styles are so up-to-the-minute. In general the drafting is very good, with ease similar to what you would find in RTW.


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