Make sewing narrow tubes of fabric easy peasy!
If you ask sewers what they find the hardest to do while sewing – it’s likely this task will come up as so many things require this step, such as making spaghetti straps for sundresses and lingerie, ties or drawcords, fabric loops for buttons and fabric closures such as ball buttons and knot ornaments. Liz Haywood takes you through how to tackle these fabric tubes with a loop turner.
Patterns that may need you to use a loop turner:
Calvin Wrap Dress & Top from True Bias
Pine Cove Pyjama Set from Itch to Stitch
Saltwater Slip from Friday Pattern Company
What is a loop turner?
A loop turner is a handy, inexpensive tool for turning narrow tubes of fabric through to the right side. The tube is often, but not always, cut on the bias – this makes it more flexible and better for tying and shaping into curves. Bias-cut narrow tubes of fabric are called rouleau.
The end of a loop turner is like a latch hook there’s a hook and a tiny moveable arm.
How to use it:
1. Slide the loop-turner through the fabric tube. Note that the fabric tube has to be open at both ends to use the loop turner.
2. Push the moveable arm of the turner through the fabric when you reach the end. You’re actually making a little hole in the fabric to use the loop turner.
3. Slowly pull the tube through to the right side, maintaining tension on the hook as you do!
4. Press the fabric tube flat and you are ready to use it on your sewing project!
Some tips for turning
If necessary, trim the top of the fabric tube first so there’s less bulk when you start turning the tube through.
If the tube is cut on the bias, it will be easier to turn through because the fabric will stretch a little.
Fine, slippery fabrics such as satin are easier to turn through too, because the fabric slides against itself.
The strips for making bias-cut tubes need to be cut exactly on the bias otherwise the seam will twist around the tube.
Do a test first on a short length of fabric to see if the tube is the correct width when it’s finished. You might need to adjust your stitching line or trim off some seam allowance to get the result you like.
Be extremely careful not to lose the fabric off the end of the loop turner. If this happens, push the loop turner back in and try and hook the end of it. If you’ve only just started to pull it through, you could cut off the turned part and still use the rest. Otherwise, you will need to kiss it goodbye and start again!
- Keeping a gentle tension on the hook as you pull the fabric through will stop this from happening.
Something a little different
Here’s a collection of ornaments made using round rouleau
If you’re making rouleau, it can be made flat like ribbon or fettuccine, or round, tight and tubular. Round rouleau is filled with its own seam allowance. You’ll need to experiment to achieve the type of rouleau you want. If you’re making round rouleau, there should be a firmness as you slide it through the loop turner because if it turns through too easily, you can tell it won’t be tightly filled enough.
Author: Liz Haywood