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Tutorial: how to turn a narrow fabric tube

Some things seem simple. I have spent more time in my life doing simple things, like turning a fabric tube right side out, than I care to remember. Because what is little and simple turns out to be neither. It can be infuriating if you’re just working with your hands. I broke down one day and bought a turning tool at the fabric store. It was only a few dollars so I figured why not try it. OH MY goodness it makes life so much easier! Am I the only one who was so clueless for so long? Do you want to know how to turn a tube of fabric right side out?

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How to turn a narrow tube the easy way. i.e. Why had I never done this before???

Get your rectangle of fabric. Mine was cut haphazardly by hand. Yours might look better. Mine also has some stabilizer ironed on because I used it for my messenger bag strap.

  1. Fold that rectangle in half the long way and sew the long way and one end closed. Grab your turning tube and stick (they are a package deal). This Turn It All on Amazon is basically what I have. Or find a sturdy straw and chopstick. You get the idea.
  2. Slide the tube all the way into the fabric. Way down to the end you sewed shut.
  3. Now hold the fabric so the tube doesn’t move and start pushing that stick into the tube, through the closed end of the fabric. This is where you hope you stitched well.
  4. Keep going. Start to push the fabric down over the tube and stick as you push the stick. Keep pushing that fabric and you’ll end up with the tube on the outside and the stick inside. Push until the fabric is completely turned.
  5. Press your tube flat.

How to turn a narrow fabric tube

Now wasn’t that easy? Much better than wasting 30 minutes of your time sanity. Iron and top stitch and you’ll have a great strap for something.

How do you turn fabric? Do you have any tricks or tips?


  1. says

    honestly I just take a long chop stick, push it to the end of the tube and “scoot” the fabric down on itself till it’s turned inside out. easy peasy. this turning tool looks pretty nifty though.

  2. says

    cool! i always do the pin style. I’ve never heard of that tool before. looks like a glorified bubble tea straw and an orange stick… am i wrong?

  3. Kerry says

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I had a 1.5mtr tubing that was going to house a 1/4in wide elastic and had NO idea how to turn it! With your inspiration I used a plastic straw and bamboo skewer to do it!

  4. Kathi Chesnut says

    check out the retrieval tool that you can find in your husbands garage or at the local hardware store. It WILL change your life.

  5. Jane on Whidbey says

    Depends on the length and width of the tubing I have to turn. for really small ones, sewing a narrow piece of ribbon, or even just a length of twine with a knot in the end to the end of the fabric before sewing it. Make sure you don’t sew down the ‘puller’ when you make the seam. Pull the ribbon through the middle when you’re done sewing. This works really well for straps that don’t need to have a finished end, because you can just cut it off when it’s done being turned.
    A pencil with an eraser works well for medium width ones. A long cooking chopstick, thick end first, works well with some others. I’ve just recently learned about the straw, and I’ll see if that makes it easier. It looks like it would.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how Kathi Chestnut’s solution works, too. My, so many good ideas here. Thanks!

  6. Dee says

    Sewing a piece of string into the beginning of your stitching. Make sure the rest of the string runs down inside the inner fold of your tube. When you have finished sewing just pull the string and the tube will turn itself with no effort!

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