Cut a long narrow strip. With right sides together, sew a seam down the long raw edge. Turn out to right side.
Easy to describe, but I don’t find the turning out at all easy to do.
The key tips :
– For narrower straps, it’s best to cut the strip on the bias. If that would waste a lot of fabric, cut 2 shorter strips – though the joins can be difficult to pull through, so angled seams are a good idea.
A bias cut strip can stretch sideways as the lump of fabric goes through. Bias cut is not essential : the strip can be straight cut, but a narrow tube will be more difficult to turn.
– Cut the strip at least 2″-5cm longer than needed, as the ends are likely to end up a mess.
– Cut the end at an angle, so the first section being pulled through is narrow.
– Trim the seam allowances narrower than the loop, but not less than 1/4″-5mm.
This is a technique I have difficulty with. For me, the tube needs to be at least twice as wide as the seam allowance. And at least twice as wide as any ribbon/tape used for pulling through.
Narrow tubes called ‘rouleaux’ can be made most easily from fine fabric such as lawn or silk. (It’s a French word pronounced ‘roo-low’. The x on the end is correct for a plural meaning, but often omitted outside France.)
Some people can make beautiful rouleaux. If this technique comes easily to you, leave the wide seam allowances (or just trim one layer), as they give the tube more substance and wear resistance.
Many turning techniques :
I find the best tool depends on the width of what I want to turn :
– less than 1/2″ wide – pull through with thread/ tape/ ribbon,
– 1/2″ wide or more – push through.
Aids for pulling through :
The method most mentioned is to put a safety pin into one end of the fabric, put the safety pin inside the tube, and push the pin along, so that it pulls the fabric in behind it. You may have to help the fabric to turn in at first.
Using a bodkin or loop turner to turn, photo tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons. I confess I don’t do well with the loop turner with a hook on the end.
Using threads to turn narrow loops, photo tutorial also from Tilly and the Buttons.
Use a thick thread such as crochet thread or perle embroidery thread. Or narrow ribbon/tape – I find this needs to be less than half the width of the tube.
For narrower tubes (1/2″ or less across), I find it best to use ribbon/ tape/ thick thread to pull through.
Aids for pushing through :
Some more special tools to help with turning tubes 1/2″ or wider right side out.
For wider tubes I have more success with a Clover Easy Loop Turner.
There are also the similar Fasturn tubes, which claim to go down to a finished tube of 3/16″ (5mm).
Substitutes : chopstick, knitting needle (not with sharp end).
Fold instead :
For wider straps, you can avoid the turning-out problem by making a folded strap ! Cut a strip 4 times the finished width wanted. First press it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Then press the edges in to touch the first fold. Topstitch the long edges of the resulting four thicknesses.
(cross section through strap : black line = fabric, red lines = top-stitching)
Originally written August 2017, links checked December 2021
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