This is a common problem. Most quilters have heard just enough about how difficult a mitered border is to make them never want to attempt it unless someone is there to help them do it. At least that was my experience with them the first time around.
It was only my second quilt and everyone in class said, “oh you have to do a mitered border to finish that off, it will look like a picture frame”, they said, “they are easy”, they said, “it wouldn’t have the same effect if you just did average squared off lincoln log style sides then top and bottom”, they said. What did I know? I’m usually game for trying anything even if I haven’t done it before. Lack of experience has gotten me into some serious jams, but then I always learn what not to do, and usually I find every wrong way to do it first.
Here is a picture of the best corner on that first miter attempt but all other corners look a little cross eyed.
I do love the mitered look. I think it’s ideal if you have a border print that you want to march around the quilt unhindered by the corners, as seen here with this patriotic fabric. You can match up the design so It truly looks like a frame around your art piece.
I’ve also used it with striped fabric and gotten a cool kaleidoscope effect at the corners. With this kind of striped fabric, you have to start at the corners with the stripes at the exact same spot going out from there so the design marries up as you sew the miter. In order to get the same effect in all four corners, you have to do the corners first and work your way in, hiding the seam somewhere in the middle of the border length. It may sound complicated, but take a look at my mitered border tutorial and see if that helps free you up to try it on your next project! And please share ideas or ask questions in the comments section :)