How to Use a Loop Turner

comments (14) September 26th, 2008     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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Great-looking flowers are just one of the things you can do with the help of a loop turner.
The loop turner has a ring to hold on to at one end and a hook and latch at the other.
Silk dupioni is perfect for this perky chrysanthemum.
Great-looking flowers are just one of the things you can do with the help of a loop turner.

Great-looking flowers are just one of the things you can do with the help of a loop turner.

Photo: Mary Ray

A loop turner is such a simple tool that works so well. It’s a very thin metal rod with a ring on one end and a hook and latch on the other. It’s great for any fabric cylinder that needs to be turned right side out. If you want really skinny spaghetti straps or tubes for fabric frogs or loop buttonholes, I think this works the best. And here’s a bonus: You can use the hook to dig out the cording that gets lost in the casing of your hoodies when they come out of the dryer!

Silk dupioni is perfect for this perky chrysanthemum.

With a soft cotton fabric, you can create yet another version.

Use strips of bias tubing to add spice to any edge.

The loop turner has a ring to hold on to at one end and a hook and latch at the other.

I’ll show you how to use this great tool to make tubing and how to use the tubing to make some very cute or tailored flowers.

How to make tubing:

1. Cut some bias strips of lightweight fabric about an inch wide. They don’t have to be real long. I would recommend anywhere from 5 to 15 inches in length. You’ll need as many strips as it takes to complete the flower. If you choose a fabric that’s midweight—like the wool/silk blend in my plaid posy—cut the strips wider so the tubes are easier to turn.

Cut a bunch of bias strips about an inch wide for skinny tubes.

2. Fold each strip in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew 1/4 inch or less from the fold. For wider tubes, sew 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch from the fold.
Be sure to stretch the fabric slightly as you sew. Turning the tube will put some strain on the stitches, so it's important to build in some stretch or the stitches might pop when you turn the tube right side out.

Fold each strip in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew a little less than 1/4 inch from the fold.

3. Trim away the seam allowance close to the stitching.

Trim close to the stitching.

4. Insert the loop turner through the tube so the hook and latch come out the opposite end. Poke the sharp latch through the fabric at the end of the tube and close it.

Feed the loop turner through the tube and hook it to the fabric.

5. Carefully begin to pull the loop turner out, holding onto the ring with one hand and the hook end with the other. Pull slowly until you feel the fabric turning, then continue to pull until you’ve turned the tube right side out.

Slowly turn right side out, pushing the hooked end of the fabric slowly with your fingers.

Sometimes the latch may come loose midway through the turn. Don’t panic! Finagle the loop turner so the hook catches the fabric on the inside, then pull through.

How to make a flower:

1. Start by making a fabric base: Cut a circle of fabric, 1-1/2 inches to 2-1/2 inches in diameter, depending on the desired size of the flower. Cut a circle of firm batting about 3/8 inch smaller.

Cut a circle of fabric and a circle of batting to make a base for the flower.

2. Sew some long running stitches along the edge of the fabric circle and pull up the bobbin thread so the fabric covers the batting circle. Press.

Sew gathering stitches around the circle's edge and pull up to cover the batting.

3. Working from the wrong (open) side of the base, pin the end of one tube in the center and fold back and forth to create petals. When you get to the end of that loop, start another and continue layering until you're pleased with your petals.

Pin the end of the first tube to the open side of the base and start folding back and forth to form petals.

It may take several tubes to complete one flower.

4. Hand-sew the tubes in place.

Hand-tack the tubes to the fabric/batting base.

posted in: fabric, wearable

Comments (14)

clothingeng writes: These flowers are great! Another use for my Fasturn tube turner.

Posted: 9:09 am on April 23rd
craftiretiree writes: I have to agree with 'smithmott' that the tutorial seems incomplete without the finishing steps especially for those of us who have not made these. Also in your wide is a little wider if using a midweight fabric?
Posted: 8:42 pm on July 7th
aqn writes: I just read somewhere recently of a tip to quickly trim the tubing's seam allowances (or any seam allowances where you don't need to "grade" the seam allowances): run it through a threadless serger. The serger's knife makes quick work of trimming!
Posted: 6:41 pm on July 7th
margknittinaround writes: Thanks for the tutorial, Mary. I normally knit and crochet but am always interested in improving my sewing skills and learning how to use fabric in different ways. This info has inspired me. Margaret
Posted: 2:15 pm on July 7th
smithmott writes: Is it just me, or does this tutorial seem incomplete? Where are the finishing steps?
Posted: 11:45 am on July 7th
dnjmama writes: Fun Ideas!
I've learned that some of these fabric turners are simply made from piano wire (sturdy stuff!) with one end twisted into a ring (overlapped two times for strength--like a key ring, so you have something to pull on) and the other end spiraled into a circle, Or they can have a fancy latch hook, like the one in the illustrations.
You can make your own fabric turner(the sprial version that is), if you have about 12" of piano wire.
The spiral version would look something like this: (forgive doing this in text--imagine all the lines/letters connected & IGNORE the periods--I put them there to be help the "drawing" to come through):
...\ (this tip you insert thru fabirc--about 1/4" long)
...C (this is small diameter--<1/4")
O (this is the ring end--big enough for your 2 fingers)

For the spiraled version, you insert spiral tip into the fabric end and twist it so the "C" is just on the other side of your fabric, then proceed as above. If your fabric tube is large enough, You can insert whatever wire system you have thru WIDE straws, or wider plastic tubing or metal tubes, if you have them

Posted: 10:51 am on July 7th
ILoveFabric123 writes: thanks for the tool ideas!
now i know how to get rid of all of thise ugly edges!!
Posted: 4:33 pm on November 18th
Lorelei7 writes: These are WONDERFUL! Thank-you for the examples... they got my wheels turning:-)
Posted: 12:33 am on October 26th
gracie_girl writes: A beautiful idea...
Posted: 3:12 pm on October 4th
GladysStrickland writes: Thank you so much! Those are such great ideas!
Posted: 11:18 pm on October 3rd
SewFancy writes: OMGosh! Had forgotten all about these...have to find my mom's. Love the plaid jkt, flower adds just the right touch!

Posted: 7:21 am on September 28th
Lorr writes: I love my fabric turners - mine are the Fasturn ones - bought them from Nancy's Notions years ago and find them invaluable. This flower idea is GREAT!
Thanks for sharing
Posted: 12:20 pm on September 27th
lisa143 writes: Love it... would love to try making one of these beautiful flowers...
Posted: 2:08 am on September 27th
AutumnsMom writes: i've got to get one of those! The jacket edge is sooo COOL!
Posted: 10:21 am on September 26th
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