September 22, 2017

Kite Tail While Sewing to Save Time ~ Sewing Tips & Techniques


I am always looking for ways to save time while sewing for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  The faster I go, the more items I can make and the more children I can share with.  Over twenty years ago I saw a tip on a t.v. show that the host called "kite tailing."  It is like making a kite tail--you know, a string with fabric pieces tied every so often.  Basically you do not stop sewing between pieces of a project, or when doing "mass sewing," that is making several of the same
thing, you can kite tail all of one piece at a time.

I'll explain thru illustrations below from sewing my Reversible Fat Quarters Library Bag.

Kite Tailing While Sewing to Save Time and Thread


Kite Tailing while sewing to save time and thread.

Basically you sew the first piece, backstitch at the end if you normally would, sew off the edge, and without lifting the foot, slip the second piece under and begin sewing again.  If the feed dogs do not catch the second piece you may need to press up just slightly on the end of the foot to lift it and slide it under.  If yours will not pivot up you may need to lift the foot slightly.  This will leave a little tail between the two pieces.


You can see the small bit of thread between the two pieces above when finished.

Kite tailing while sewing reversible library bag.
Here are the two handles and two bag sections of the library bag kite tailed together.  This is how to incorporate the method in a single project.  I then took them to the ironing board, snipped apart and pressed.  I continued to kite tail at any of the steps where it was possible (like top stitching the handles--down one side and back up the other of both before snipping apart).

Kite tailing while mass sewing for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

These are the handles from our mass sewing project kite tailed together from sewing the first side.  Kite tailing when making large quantities of the same item is where you really notice the difference in sewing time.

Benefits of Kite Tailing While Sewing


There are basically two benefits to kite tailing.

1)  It saves time by sewing one piece after the other in quick succession without stopping between.

2)  It saves thread.  There is only about 1/2" of thread between two pieces instead of the usual 3 to 4" tail on each end of each piece.  When we made 14 Library Bags we kite tailed 28 handles.  The thread savings can add up over time when sewing in quantities.  But even with kite tailing several pieces of the same project thread is saved.

Reversible Fat Quarter Library Bag Tutorial
Click image for Reversible Library Bag Tutorial used as illustration in this post.

I have enjoyed using this method of kite tailing over the years and it is my hope that it will help some of you save time in your sewing so you can accomplish more in the time you have.  Editing to add:  I shared this post on our Facebook page and one reader had read where this can damage the underside of a presser food (Bernina's anyways--apparently the worse).  Another reader said you need to only leave a couple of stitches between each piece to avoid damage.  I have never had a problem to date, but wanted to share this in case anyone was interested.  Other readers said they have also been doing this for years.  You can read the full discussion here:  Simply Shoeboxes Facebook Post.

If you are interested in finding more Tips & Techniques for sewing check out Threading My Way's ongoing link party thru the button below.


I have shared tutorials for items I sew to place in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes or to send as filler items.  Check them out, along with crochet and no-sew projects here:  Crafting for My Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

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