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Sewing Tips – Turning a Tube Right Side Out

Okay, so I realize that sometimes I gloss over one of the steps in my instructions, figuring everyone understands or has done a certain step before. Whoops, I know that must create confusion. Sorry.


So today…….I am going to clarify something from this post. The fabric headbands.

In the instructions, I explain that you sew a long piece of fabric together lengthwise with right sides together. Then I tell you to turn it right side out. Here’s the problem. I have heard from so many of you that they are having problems turning out the piece of fabric that is so narrow. Many of you have asked for an easier way…..or for a trick of some kind. Even my sweet friend came over early one morning at 8:30, asking for help. The dang thing was just not working for her. Grrrr. Sorry to you all who have cursed at your little piece of fabric, wishing it would hurry and turn right side out for this supposed 5 minute project.

: : : Remember that you can click on any of these picture to enlarge : : :

So you start out with a long tube that needs to be turned right side out, right?



Well, hook a safety pin in one end…….from the outside to the inside. Close your safety pin…….



………and shove the head of the pin down inside the hole.



Now, slide the pin down in there, scrunching the fabric as you go.



Then pick at the little puckers of fabric, trying to get the fabric past the safety pin. Getting this first part turned right side out is the hardest part. Just be patient and try to get the fabric to get past the pin and lay flat.



See how nicely it lays now?



Then slide the pin along some more, creating more puckers/ruffles in the fabric.



And then continue sliding the fabric past the pin. It should be easier from here on out and should slide nicely and quickly.



Tip? Make sure not to slide too much fabric at once, like the picture below. It will be too hard to slide past the pin and gets too jammed up. Just nice and slow and a little bit at a time.



Finally, your pin will reach the end. Continue to pull it out…..exposing the right side of the fabric. Now you can press your fabric flat and continue with your project.



Did it work better for you this time?
And honestly, this should take you 60-80 seconds. So if it’s still taking you a lot longer, just scrunch up less fabric at a time…….and practice a few times.


Let me know how it goes for you…….


And over the next few days, I have some great re-purposing projects to show you that have turned out so fun. So keep a look out for those.


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  1. Fran Leiter says:

    I use the following method to turn long straps of heavier fabric such as denim or canvas for tote bags.
    Cut your straps to desired length then cut a strong cord, ribbon, or shoe lace about 2” longer than the strap.
    Place the cord inside the tube, sewing the side(s) closed and across the opening of one end making sure to secure the cord well by stitching across it multiple times. Do not catch the cord in your seam(s) along the length of the strap, just sew it securely inside the tube at one end with the excess cord sticking out of the opposite end.
    Start turning and working the sewn-shut end down inside the tube a bit. Now the magic – begins – start pulling the cord from the open end, working your way to the other end until your strap is fully turned! It is a time saver for me.

  2. kim vogt says:

    Ty finally someone shows how to make a strap possible….tysvm………..this worked great for me on a 1 1/2″ tie for a baby boys bow tie now I can make many of them!!!!

  3. Annette says:

    I must be the idiot of the group because I cannot figure out for the life of me how to do this!

    1. Cathy says:

      Yes I agree with Annette I read and reread and looked at your visuals but it was ineffective with my one inch sleeves. My fabric is stiff and not much give. I will look for another method either that or ditch my Christmas Wreaths

  4. Linda says:

    I’ve known about using the safety pin for a long time. It is still hard to do when the fabric is sewn to batting – a good 6-7 minutes – but it does work.

  5. Ange says:

    I’ve been back to this page as I just can’t remember how to do it without you!!!
    So very helpful xx

  6. Susan says:

    Great tip – not working so well for me with upholstery fabric when the safety pin head comes off – oy!

  7. vanina says:

    Thank you! Very well explained and the pictures are great. I always struggle with this but today I tried your method and it worked perfectly! Thanks again!

  8. Patty Henson says:

    Thank you so much! I had been struggling with making some ties for some crib bumper pads and was very frustrated. I knew there was another way to do it. Thank you so much for posting this, it was a huge time saver!

  9. Elke Murphy says:

    OMG Thank you is worked perfect!

  10. zeba mohsin says:

    thank you so so soooo much!! I have been searching for this since 2 days.

  11. Perior says:

    Thanks for the steps in the tutorial. Sewing can be difficult at times for me.

  12. Ashley says:

    This step made no sense to me at all – hard to tell from the pic what you were doing/which was the right side:

    Then pick at the little puckers of fabric, trying to get the fabric past the safety pin. Getting this first part turned right side out is the hardest part. Just be patient and try to get the fabric to get past the pin and lay flat.

  13. Joy Wolfe says:

    Thank you so much for the great tip on turning tubes! I was making a short jacket this afternoon that uses loops for the buttons. The loops, of course, are very narrow. The sewing pattern said to take a needle with strong thread, attach the thread to one end of the loop, then push the needle through and pull the thread and the loop would turn. WRONG! I spent over 30 minutes trying that method and even using a knitting needle to no avail. When I tried your suggestion, I had the loop turned in just a minute! It worked beautifully!!

  14. Jackie says:

    Thanks! Just made two matching pairs for my girls 1 and 2 yrs. they will be clowns for Halloween, so it’s part of their costumes. Your tutorial was a great aid and easy to follow.

  15. Roberta says:

    Thank you so much for the tip on turning straps inside out!! I have had such a hard time doing this- I will definately try the safety pin trick. You made my day and I am glad I found your site!!!

  16. annelikokulum says:

    very easy thanks too much.ı will try immediatly….

  17. Beth says:

    Oh. My. Word. I have done this a zillion times, and even used a safety pin at times… but in a different way. This was SO EASY. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :)

  18. Elaine says:

    Thank you for this simple tip, it made my day.

  19. Amy says:

    I knew there had to be a trick to this! Thanks!!

  20. bernadette says:

    hi! i purchased the Pattern for the Little Guy Tie . down loaded it and printed the 39 pages ! but did i miss the actual PATTERN for the pieces to the tie ? please tell me where to find the pattern pieces so i can proceed.

    thank you , Bernadette

    1. Ashley says:

      Hi Bernadette,

      If you ordered a pattern and didn’t receive the pattern pieces……email me and we can figure out what happened!


  21. Kim says:

    So- I was having a total brain fart on turning straps inside out. Thanks – saved me some major time!

  22. Lynne says:

    Thank you so much for having this on the internet. My first long strap and 10 minutes had passsed for 3 inches inside out. I decided to see if there was a website with instructions how do do this quicker and better, and your wonderful instructions appeared. Thank you again

  23. deepa says:

    thank u so much for this it made sewing head bands so much more fun

  24. Sheena says:

    Thankyou for this. I'm making your cute little tie for my son and I would have been working on that neck strap forever. :) Thanks!!

  25. Theresa says:

    AHHH!! THANK YOU! I've been trying to figure out the safety pin thing for months now and this is the only tutorial that actually explains how to use it! Thank you!!

  26. virginia+3 says:

    oops! pencil sharpener! LOL

  27. virginia+3 says:

    I use a safety pin AND a small dowel. You can sharpen the dowel end with a pencil, the 1/4" size works well. The point will stick into the end of the safety pin and you can push it through a little easier!


  28. RaeRae Blogged says:

    LOVE IT!!! I just made one, and it was so easy, I will be making lots more. I added a med rhinestone along with a few smaller ones to it too lol. I cant seem to make anything that don't have some kind of bling in it hahah. Thanks so much!! I love your blog.I like it when bloggers act like themselves")
    Hugs RaeRae

  29. Sweet Pea Kisses says:

    First of all love your blog! Second of all I thought I would share another tip my gma tought me when I was first learning to sew, take a piece of yarn and cut it an inch longer then your fabric and place it in between the right sides of the fabric and sew. When your done just pull the "tail" of the yarn and it turns it right side out!

  30. Gigi says:

    Love your blog, thanks for all the great tips and projects. Another way to do this is to sew up one end, then take a chopstick, or pencil and push it into the tube until it comes out the end. Either way, when turning, if you make sure your seam allowance stay flat, your tube will turn out neater. So, press your seams before turning. It's a good habit to get into anyways.

  31. miminhos da Mãe (Galinha!) says:

    Hello Ashley!
    I loved your blog! Great ideas. Thank you for sharing with all of us.


  32. Renee says:

    Thanks for posting this!!!!
    Its help us …thanks for sharing…..
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  33. VanBurenMom says:

    Ack where was this info yesterday when I was making some straps for my Melly-bean's dress! I wasn't going to make her a matching head band for the outfit because I had such a hard time with the straps, but now I am going to do it because that was WAY easier!!!

  34. Erika says:

    fabulous trick! I used it last night at it worked great! Thanks.

  35. Melissa @ The Cheerful Home says:

    Thank you! I am so, so new to sewing, and am literally learning as I go. I never would have thought to try it this way.

  36. Simply Delightful says:

    I just discovered your blog and I really like it. You have some genius sewing ideas and your instructions are really well done. This gives me motivation to try a new sewing project I just don't which one to pick first?

  37. Brandi says:

    I have sewn for years and never thought of doing that!! Thanks for the awesome tip! I can't wait to sew something so that I can try it out! :)

  38. Maria Amélia says:

    Wow! very good and simple tip. Thanks.

  39. cmricha2 says:

    I had never tried the safety pin trick, but I used a pencil in a similar fashion (regular #2)

  40. Tarah says:

    Thank you! I thought about this but hadn't tried it yet, now I can finish my headband!

  41. Gwen says:

    I have made four of your headbands and while the turning was a pain, it didn't take too long.

    I actually cheated and used some fabric from a Moda honey bun that I had. The strips are even smaller than what you suggested, but it worked and it was what I had one hand.

    I was soooo tired of using a srunchie, so thank you!

  42. The Denny Family says:

    I had this problem awhile ago and my mom went and bought me a bodkin. It is a little thing that looks kind of like tweezers. You clamp the fabric on one end and push the bodkin through to turn it. I never knew about it before that. The safety pin works well too but if you have to do this a lot a bodkin may come in handy.

  43. Rose says:

    I thought of this, but I also thought about using a crochet hook to reach in and grab it and pull it all at once, but looking at your post I realize it may not have worked out as sweetly as I had hoped! Thanks for the clarification, great tip!

  44. kheaney says:

    Thanks for posting this! I tried it this way the other night and it work soooooo much better.

  45. brandy says:

    I had the same problem, lol. I've sewed for years, but rarely had to make tiny straps/tubes like that. So I posted the question on my blog and my good friend's mom told me about the safety pin trick. Since then I've made several headbands. Seriously a 3 minute project start to finish. Thanks! I'm sure you'll receive many thanks for your clarification post. Love your blog!

    1. Miss Linda's Crafts says:

      My friend taught me to use a plastic tube and plastic chop stick to turn straps, headbands,and anything else I need to trun. You take a plastic tube, similar to a very large straw, and inset it into the strap. Use the chop stick to push the strap inside of the plastic tube. Pull the strap downover the tube and pull the plastic tube out. Now catch the strap with the chop stick inside of it and pull the strap inside out. Now straighten the strap and pull the chop stick out. Press the seam and you are done!!! I hope I have explained this so you understand. I did not have to practice to learn this trick because it is so easy. You can use different sizes of plastic tubes to “match” the size of the strap you are turning. The larger the strap of fabric you want to turn will tell you the size of the plastic tube needed for the fabric ( to turn). I used the safety pin as my mother taught me but this is sooooo much easier.

    2. Miss Linda's Crafts says:

      PS. One end has to be sewn closed for this to work.

    3. Tracy says:

      Wow – this made a very difficult task super easy! Myself and my hands thank you very much for the tip!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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