Magic Tube-Turning Trick

on July 14 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips | by | with 91 Comments

Dear Catherine,

Congratulations on completing your first garment for yourself. Well done! Now you are eligible to become a member of our top secret club and I can reveal to you the Magic Tube-Turning Trick.

1. Cut the fabric for your tube, adding about 1/2″ to what the instructions require.  Iron it in half with right sides together.  Cut a piece of bias tape, ric rac or ribbon a few inches longer than your tube piece.  Place this inside the folded fabric, right next to the crease.

2. Sew across the short end of your tube, securing the bias tape in the stitches.

3. Sew down the long side, making sure to not catch any of the bias tape in the stitches.

4. Say the magic words.  Pull on the bias tape and use your finger to push the very end of the tube to the inside.  Pull on the bias tape and slide the tube back over itself.  Abracadabra! The tube is right side out!

5. Cut off the end with the bias tap, fold in your ends, press and sew.

Shhh.  Don’t tell anyone.

~ Kristin

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91 Responses to Magic Tube-Turning Trick

  1. Katia says:

    Thank you!!! Thank youuuu!!! I adore you!!! (I promese dont tell, shhhh!)!

  2. Michelle S says:

    Best trick EVER!

  3. bella says:

    wow! this is an amazing and helpful trick. these are the things that remind me why i love sewing sooooo much. there is always something new to learn.thans.

  4. Lisa Marie says:

    This has been very helpful. Thank you!

  5. SarahB says:

    This is such a great little trick! You just saved me so much frustration!

  6. Faye Lewis says:

    This is so amazing, and I will be using it from now on.

  7. Angela says:

    this is the kind of genius that makes me slap my forehead and say “DUH.” so simple, yet i wouldn’t have thought of it in a million trillion years…so glad i ran across this in my rss feed! thank you!!!!

  8. aditi says:

    oh wow !!! what a great trick.i make a lot of tubes when creating my bagsand pouches.this is going to make life a bit easier.

  9. RitaSmeeta says:

    OhMyDearLord. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS!!!! I wish I had known this long ago, turning tubes is no fun!!!

  10. Paula says:

    WOW!) I am utterly amazed! Soooooo smart.

  11. You, madam, are a genius!

  12. Suzie says:

    Great hint – I am always all thumbs when turning narrow tubes and usually resort to doing something else. No longer now i know the secret.

  13. Carol says:

    LOVE IT! Simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I’ve been sewing all my life and never heard of this before. THANK YOU!

  14. Zana Carter says:

    I am so glad I read this now instead of later. I am going to use the idea right now. Thanks!!

  15. Jodie says:

    Awesome! All the years I’ve sewn, I never came up with this.

  16. Kirstin says:

    OMG! You made me cry with delight!

  17. omama says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! Seriously, I alter all patterns that have long skinny tubes because I can’t stand to turn them. This just might change that!

  18. susan says:

    This is genius! No more sweating it out w/ the safety pins!

  19. MMOM says:

    Great idea! How can I NOT tell people?????
    By the way, what about turning a skinny tube?

  20. helen says:

    what a great idea thanks for sharing I started a fabric toy for my grandson and got so frastrated turing all the pices I gave up Think I will finish it now

  21. KerryQ says:

    Brilliant. Thank you. Now I can spend less money on Tylenol, and more money on fabric!

  22. Ashley W says:

    OH MY GOSH!!! How have I never known about this?!?! My life has now changed!

  23. Kaytee says:

    I learned this decades ago…. However, this is hardly a narrow tube, and the bias tape/twill tape (which is what I learned to use)is much too big for truly narrow tubes (like for spaghetti straps). Occasionally, I’ve been able to use this basic technique with string to do it, but usually, I either catch the string in the stitching or it breaks in the turning. The little hook thingie on a long stem works, but usually needs several tries to get it hooked in JUST the right place. Usually, I “cheat” by just turning the edges in and edge stitching….

  24. Chris Worthy says:

    All this time I have been fighting a safety pin???? This is genius.

  25. Deanna says:

    Thank you for this, I can give up my safety pin now and do it this way, which seems much easier!!

  26. Verity says:

    This is the 2nd life-changing tip I’ve come across in the last 2 days. My life is revolutionised!! I’m so excited about this that I’ve had to blog about it!

  27. Beksi says:

    This is truly a revelation. Thank you!

  28. Shelly says:

    Is this anything like becoming a member for fightclub?

  29. Judy R says:

    Great tip! This will work better than my safety pin method!

  30. Elaine Barnett says:

    Amazing! I have sewn for years and NEVER heard this!
    That’s why I love this site-everyone is so willing to help and to make sewing more fun with less effort!

    Thumbs up, Kritstin!

  31. An says:

    I’ve been doing this for years – I have a piece of cording that I just keep reusing for larger tubes like purse straps.

  32. Jessica says:

    That is an awesome tip! I will be using that soon with some dress’s for the girls!

  33. Elizabeth says:

    Fantastic! I wish I had thought of this before!

  34. Rebekah says:

    oh my gosh. i could hug the author of this post!! i have shed tears over turning tubes… why didn’t i learn this before??? thanks for sharing!

  35. Jeanne says:

    For Spaghetti straps use rattail cord and your zipper foot

  36. Lori says:

    WOW. This is such a simple idea but so “why didn’t i ever think of this” at the same time!! Thank you for this!

  37. Rachael says:

    This is awesome! I hated turning tubes, but this will make it so much easier.

  38. Jackie H says:

    A.w.e.s.o.m.e!! Thanks so much! :)

  39. Kristin says:

    Wow, such a good idea! I’ll have to try it next time :)

  40. Joy says:

    very cool way to do it!

  41. Aimee says:

    So great, so easy, so rational…thank you :)

  42. Shin Ae says:

    Hooray! Thank you!

  43. Jo says:

    Ha ha — love the humor in this article — thanks!

  44. Crystal says:

    Amazing! Will be sharing this with all my sewing friends! Can’t wait to try it!

  45. Stephanie says:

    Much better than my former coat hanger & safety pin method!

  46. HeidiU says:

    Oh my gosh! Brilliant! Thanks!

  47. OMG! So simple and SO helpful! Thank you! How come my mind doesn’t function like that? lol

  48. gillian cross says:

    this is absolute genius.

  49. Debra says:

    Seriously?! Amazing. Thank you so much for this!

  50. Megan says:

    Brilliant!

  51. Jen Higgins says:

    Oh, this is so helpful! Thanks for the tip!

  52. AisforAmy says:

    Oh my word! I’ve never thought of this! Why did no one ever tell me about this before?? I was using a really long tunisian crochet hook for turning and it was a pain in the butt!

  53. Alison Marie says:

    This changed my whole attitude towards making straps when I learned how to do it! Hysterical post!

  54. Dana says:

    I will put off sewing something just because of the tubes, thanks so much, that is the best tip I’ve heard in a long time.

  55. Sara says:

    Definitely better than the safety pin trick. Thank you!

  56. briana says:

    O wow. Thank you. I will be using this one!

  57. Ramona says:

    Great tip! I’ve always been a safety pin woman myself but not anymore.

  58. Liz Noonan says:

    Um, I’m sorry – but you are a GENIUS!!! I will be using this trick for the next 14 bag handles I have to sew, thank you!!!

  59. Natalie VV says:

    Amazing.
    A dread project becomes so simple it’s tempting to try just for fun!
    Thank you.
    Very much!

  60. craftytammie says:

    brilliant! thanks for sharing!

  61. This is awesome! I never thought of that! :)

  62. Sarah says:

    You just rocked my world.

  63. SusanW says:

    Ahah! I have been making tiny tubes for months and this will save me soo much headache. Thanks

  64. Maggie says:

    Love this!! Those super skinny tubes make me crazy.

  65. julia Reedy says:

    I’ve seen this done and I’ve even done it myself, but I had forgotten all about it. Thanks so much for the reminder. I hate turning skinny tubes.

  66. Linda says:

    Clever!

  67. Corvus says:

    Ooo. That’s even better than my magical “giant safety pin” method.

  68. Karen U says:

    Such a simple solution, yet one I never would have thought of! Thanks for the tip. I am completing a sundress that had shoulder straps that needed to be turned inside out and I used a hemostat to clamp the end and pull, but your idea sounds much easier.

  69. Connie Jagolinzer says:

    Thank you for posting this trick! I think of all the times I struggled with turning those tubes. I can’t wait to try this!

  70. Oh my gosh, this is genius!

  71. pammalammadingdong says:

    Brilliant!

  72. liz says:

    holey moley — you don’t even know how excited this makes me.
    thanks!

  73. AmyP says:

    Where was this tip when I was learning to sew? Wonderful, wonderful tutorial, thank you!

  74. Beth says:

    Love that!! I have done that long ago – I think with my mom – but haven’t used that trick for a long time! Perfect for “apaghetti straps”.

  75. Sarah says:

    OH man I wish I knew this a month ago when I started! That’s brilliant!! :)

  76. Renee says:

    That is too cute! And to think I’ve been doing it the hard way with a safety pin!

  77. Polly says:

    Wow! what a cool trick! I love it. Now I can’t wait to try it.

  78. Debbie says:

    This is absolutely the best tip I have ever heard! Can’t wait to try this. Thank you!

  79. Woo Hoo! I am going to remember this one!

  80. I ‘sew’ could have used this tip while making Pikmin for Son#1 this week. Thanks for sharing! It will come in handy next time. Happy Sewing! :)

  81. liz says:

    wow. great idea. thanks.

  82. Christine M says:

    What a great idea! I’ll have to remember that next time I’m trying to turn a tube inside out. Thank you.

  83. Siobhan says:

    I just spent an hour turning a tube out with my (now red) fingers. A little late but THANK YOU!

  84. Cyrene says:

    Brilliant!!!..

  85. That… that is brilliant.
    Oh, and don’t worry— mum’s the word.

  86. Meghan says:

    Oh. My. God. A-mazing tip!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  87. Kelly says:

    This little tidbit will change my life. Thank you. :)

  88. Nicole Lamb says:

    Great trick! That is my LEAST favorite part of making things with tubes!

  89. lucy locket says:

    What a fantastic tip! Shhhh! I won’t tell anyone…………

  90. Jenny says:

    My lips are sealed. ;)

    Thanks!
    Jenny

  91. Sarah says:

    Love it!

    Alternatively, when you are teaching a friend to sew and her husband is so curious he can’t leave you alone, recruit him to turn all tubes inside out (he was faster than me!)

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