Let’s go fly a kite! This tote is ready to take off on your next adventure or at least on your next excursion to the store. The shopper style construction is fast and easy with deep 4″ boxed corners and no-sew webbing handles. Let your creativity soar with the fun front appliqué. We offer a template download for the kite’s body and tail, and show you two different presser feet that make quick work of this eye-catching embellishment.
With everything you do, the proper tools and accessories make all the difference in both ease of use and a more professional finish. We used two speciality feet and a custom needle.
The Janome Satin Stitch foot is transparent so you can see your stitching and follow along a guide line. In addition, the bright red arrow at the front of the foot marks the center needle drop position. When doing appliqué, simply keep the point of that arrow on the edge of the fabric for a perfectly centered stitch.
We used the Janome Beading foot to attach the kite’s looping tail. This foot option comes in two different sizes to handle various strung beads as well as cording. We used the wide option in the 9mm version, which accommodates 2.5 – 4mm. It allowed us to get a wonderfully smooth curve to our kite string.
In addition, we used a Double Needle to create the final topstitching around the top of the bag.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Satin Stitch foot (optional but great for the appliqué)
- Beading foot (optional but helpful to stitch the kite tail)
- Double needle (optional; we used it for the final topstitching around the top opening of the tote)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ⅔ yard of 54″+ wide canvas or similar for the tote exterior; we originally used 12 oz. Canvas Duck Cloth in Bleached White
- ⅔ yard of 45″+ regular weight, solid color cotton for the tote lining and kite appliqué accents; we originally used Kona Cotton in Asparagus
- ⅛ yard of 45″+ regular weight, solid color cotton for the kite appliqué accents; we originally used Kona Cotton in Azure
- ⅛ yard of 45″+ regular weight, solid color cotton for the kite appliqué accents; we originally used Kona Cotton in Tomato
- 1½ yards of 1″ – 2″ heavy cotton webbing; we used 1¼” cotton webbing in white
- 1 yard of extra wide rick rack in a coordinating accent color for the tote’s opening; we used red
- 1 yard of ⅛” cording or similar for the kite tail; we used a natural twisted cording to simulate kite string
- Fusible web for the appliqué; we used Wonder-Under® by Pellon
- ½ yard of medium weight fusible interfacing for the lining; we used Décor-Bond® by Pellon
- All purpose thread to match all fabric for both sewing and appliqué
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Transparent tape
- Seam sealant, such as Fray Check – optional
Getting Started and Template Download
- Download and print out TWO COPIES EACH of our two pattern sheets: Kite Template Top and Kite Template Tail.
IMPORTANT: These patterns are each ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- From one set of pattern sheets, cut out each of the kite body triangles and kite tail triangles. You will use these cut triangles as your pattern pieces. To help keep track of colors and the right side of the pattern, you can label each piece. This will also help you remember which side is the “right side” of the pattern piece since when using fusible web for appliqué, you work with the pattern pieces upside down (more on that below).
- Butt together the remaining two pattern sheets, using the guidelines and arrows to align the pieces, to form the complete kite and kite tail image. Tape together. Set aside.
- From the fabric for the exterior (white duck in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 17″ wide x 20″ high rectangles for the main tote panels
ONE 7½” x 7½” square for the lining pocket
- From the fabric for the lining (Asparagus cotton in our sample), cut TWO 17″ wide x 20″ high rectangles for the lining.
- From the fusible interfacing, cut TWO 17″ wide x 20″ high rectangles for the lining.
- Cut the webbing into TWO 20″ lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- From the fusible web, cut rectangles slightly larger than all the kite triangles needed for each solid color.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the web to the wrong side of each of the colored fabrics.
- Place the appropriate triangle pattern upside down on the paper side of the fused product and trace around the pattern.
- Cut out the pattern piece.
- Repeat to cut all the kite triangles from all three colors. For the kite body, we used one large red triangle, one large green triangle, one small green triangle, and one small blue triangle. For the kite tail we used two small blue triangles, two small red triangles and two small green triangles.
- Find the assembled full kite template and one of the 17″ x 20″ exterior panels.
- Fold the fabric panel in half to find the center top (8½” in from each side). Place a pin at this center point.
- Place the template on the right side of the panel. Use the center pin point and the “Top Raw Edge” guidelines printed on the paper template to align it correctly on the fabric panel.
- Pin or tape the template to fabric panel to hold it in place. Then, insert a pin at the corners of each of the four triangles that make up the kite body.
- Gently lift up the template and use your fabric pen or pencil to make a small dot at each of the pin points.
- When all the dots have been made, remove the pins and the paper.
- Find the four triangles for the kite body. Pull away the paper backing to reveal the adhesive (we just removed half of the paper in the photo below to show an “in-progress” image).
- Using the dots as your guide, place each of the four kite body triangles adhesive side down onto fabric panel.
- There should be even spacing between each of the triangles.
- As a double-check, before fusing, lay the full template back over the top of your placed pieces to insure everything is where it should be.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions fuse the kite body triangles in place.
- Repeat for each of the three pairs of kite tail triangles.
- Mark the position…
- Place the triangle…
- Fuse to adhere.
- Thread the machine, top and bobbin, with thread to match the first of the kite colors. To cut down on re-threading time, we stitched all the same colored triangles at once, then moved to the next color.
- Following your machine’s manual, set up your machine for a dense satin stitch. We used the Janome Satin Stitch foot, which is not only see-through but also has a red guide arrow at the front of the foot. Both of these features make appliqué stitching so much easier.
NOTE: If you are new to appliqué, we have a tutorial to help you get started.
- Find the full template again. Carefully cut along the looping line of the kite tail, leaving the section of the tail where it loops back on itself un-cut at just the cross-over point.
NOTE: We also cut out the triangles for the main kite body so the template would lay flat and line up perfectly.
- Place the cut template into position on the front of the fabric panel.
- Double-check that all the kite tail triangles are in alignment.
- Using a fabric pen or pencil, trace along the cut line to form the guide line for the kite tail.
- You’ll need to hand draw just the final connecting line to form the loop of the tail.
- Pin the thin cording in place, following the drawn line. Cut away any excess. We found it helpful to also place a small piece of tape at each end of the cording to help secure it.
- If possible, attach your Janome Beading foot. This little gem of a presser foot comes in two widths, narrow and wide. We used the wide 9mm version of the foot (it also comes in a 7mm version). There is a groove on the underside of the foot that helps it glide over the cording while a wide zig zag attaches the cording in place.
NOTE: Take a look at our full tutorial on the Janome Beading Foot Set.
- If you don’t have this foot, you can use a regular presser foot. Set up your machine for a zig zag that hits to either side of the cording.
- No matter which type of foot you use, test your stitching on a scrap of fabric to insure your zig zag is correctly set and feeding easily. When stitching into place on the tote, go slowly and guide the cording on the line, removing the pins along the way. You’ll want to go especially slowly and carefully at the cross-over point of the loop. Also, start and end as close to the ends of the cording as possible.
- When the stitching was done, we removed the tape and added a drop of seam sealant to each end of the cording to help insure there’d be no fraying.
Assemble the tote exterior
- With right sides together, pin together the front and back exterior panels. Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
- Re-thread with thread to match the exterior fabric. Stitch both sides and across the bottom, using a ½” seam allowance. Remember to pivot at the corners.
- With the bag still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners. Our bag is designed to have 4″ sides and base. To create this width, we figured our corners at 2″
- If you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions. We recommend a double line of stitching to reinforce the corners.
- Fold back the upper raw edge of the exterior bag ½” and press. Lightly pin to hold in place.
- Find the length of rick rack. Starting at one side seam, pin the rick to the inside of the folded edge. The center of the rick rack should run along the top folded edge so half of the rick rack’s “wave” is visible above the top edge of the tote. Pin in place and then machine baste in place.
- Set the exterior bag aside.
Create the lining and its pocket
- Find the two 17″ x 20″ lining panels and the 7½” x 7½” pocket square.
- Press back all four raw edges of the pocket square ½”. Along what will be the top of the pocket, press down an additional 1″.
NOTE: If you have trouble with bulk in the bottom corners, cut the corners at a diagonal, trimming away about ½” at the point and re-fold.
- Pin all four sides in place.
- Stitch across the top of the pocket to secure the 1½” hem.
- Find the two 17″ x 20″ pieces of fusible interfacing. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse one to the wrong side of each lining panel.
- Fold one of the fused panels in half to find the center. Place a pin at this center point along the top 17″ raw edge.
- Place the pocket on this panel so the top of the pocket is 2½” down from the top raw edge of the fabric panel and the center of the pocket aligns with the center pin point on the fabric panel.
- Pin the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the bottom corners. The top remains open. Use a generous locking stitch or back tack at the beginning and end of the seam. The top corners of a pocket are a stress point and it helps to have some extra strength there.
- With right sides together, pin together the front and back lining panels along both sides and across the bottom.
- Re-thread with thread to match the lining fabric. Stitch both sides and across the bottom, using a ½” seam allowance. Remember to pivot at the corners.
- As above, with the lining still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners. The 4″ sides and base are the same. To create this width, figure the corners at 2″
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
- Make a double line of stitching to reinforce the corners.
- Fold back the upper raw edge of the lining ½” and press.
Attach handles and stitch exterior to lining
- Find the two 20″ lengths of webbing.
- Find the exterior bag. It should be right side out.
- Measure 4″ in from each side seam on both the front and back of the tote and place a pin.
- Align the outer edge of each end of one length of webbing with each pin point on the front of the tote. You want the outer edge of the webbing to be 4″ from the seam line. The raw ends of the webbing should align with the folded down portion of the tote’s top hem.
- Pin the handle loop in place, making sure it is not twisted anywhere along its length.
- Repeat to pin the remaining length of webbing to the back of the tote. As on the front, the outer edge of the webbing should be 4″ from each side seam.
- With the tote exterior right side out and the straps securely pinned in place, find the lining. It should be wrong side out.
- Insert the the lining inside the exterior so the two are now right sides together. Align the top raw edges, the side seams and the bottom corners. If the top folded edges aren’t flush, adjust the lining’s folded edge until the two are perfectly aligned.
- Pin in place all around the top opening.
- Topstitch all around the top opening to secure the two layers, running the stitching approximately ⅛” from the top folded edge.
- We used a double needle, standard on our Janome machine, for an extra finishing touch. This is optional; you could certainly use a standard topstitch.
NOTE: We tested thread colors and found that with such a different and darker color for the lining, it did not look quite right to use thread to match the exterior in the top and thread to match the lining in the bobbin, which would be our traditional suggestion. With the double needle stitching there is just a tiny bit of bobbin thread visible from the front so it was better to use thread to match the exterior in both the top and in the bobbin. This meant a more visible seam line on the inside, but we preferred this option. We suggest testing with your project to get the look you like best.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild