Monday, June 11, 2012

Sewing narrow fabric tubes

How to sew narrow fabric tubes
sewing fabric tubes

Projects like this baby dress use narrow fabric tubes for shoulder ties. These tubes are an easy way to add coordinating ties at shoulders, to things like potholders, pacifiers etc. They can even be used to hold buttons instead of buttonholes.
Here's how I make them.


1. 1.25 inch wide strips of fabric ( any length )
2. Upholstery thread ( or any strong thread)
3. Needle (long and blunt)


fabric strips

Cut the strips.

fold inhalf and sew
Fold in half along the width and sew along the length with a 1/4 in sewing margin.


Thread the needle with upholstery thread. tie a knot at one end.
Now sew two stitches at one end of the tube, take care of sewing through only the single layer of the fabric.

It was very difficult to take a picture of this step with the narrow tube, so I made this fat tube to just illustrate the point. You need to do the same thing with your narrow tube, just make the stitches smaller, ok?


pull the needle out from other end
Now push the needle with its eye first into the tube, keep pushing it until it comes out of the other end along with the thread.

pull the thread

Now tug and pull the thread until the tube starts to slide inside itself. You may need to nudge the end inside the tube a bit to get it started. Use a screwdriver or a hair-pin or some pointed thing  to do it. In the pic above I have shown the tube which is sliding into itself. I have placed another tube alongside for comparison.

slide out the turned out tube

Keep pulling the thread until one end starts to show up at the other end. Now just slide the inverted part off the turned out tube with your hand.


fabric tube turned out
Here's your tube turned out. It will be likely be a little longer than the original strip because of all the pulling and tugging.


Pick out the stitches
Pick out the stitches that you sew at the end.

sewing fabric pipes

Yay! fabric tubes!

Now sew something pretty with them.

Of course! I'll be bringing a tutorial on that soon.

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  1. genius Anshu!!! I have always had trouble with that!

  2. Thank you! What a nifty, efficient way to turn those tricky little tubes!

  3. It can be even easier if you make the stitch and lay the thread down the fold before you sew the seam. You just need to be watchful that you keep the thread at the fold so that you don't catch it in your seam.

  4. Brilliant. I hate small tubes and curse every time I need to make one. Thanks for the great tip!

  5. I've tried making tubes but never ever succeed, thanks for the idea!

  6. Great little tutorial for those fiddly little tubes!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  7. AWESOME!!! I always wondered how people did this and now I know the secret :)! BTW, I am a fellow Asian Indian and have been sewing for a couple of years but it has mainly been simple stuff. I have a baby girl of my own now and just starting to get into the baby sewing mode!!

  8. Hey Sam,
    Thanks for stopping by. always good to see more of Indians in this field. Usually I run into engineers or MBAs. Yeah baby girls are a big incentive to sew, its like having a doll to dress. Congratulations on your baby.


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