How to make Perfect thin FABRIC TUBES

Sew easy fabric tubes (Also called Rouleau loops) suitable for spaghetti straps , drawstrings, decorations and button loops

A sewist sure knows the value of a good fabric tube; also called Rouleau loops they are very versatile. So many many uses in sewing.

  • They are used to make button loops.
  • They are used as drawstrings in the back and front of tops and blouses.
  • These fabric tubes make great spaghetti straps
  • They are used for lacing
  • They can be used for couching embroidery and other embellishments on the fabric surface. 
    how to make thin straps

These fabric  tubes are very easy to make – you do not need any fancy tool like a loop turner to make these ones; though they are great to have. 

Which cloth is suitable for Fabric tubes?

It is better that you choose a light weight cloth to make these tubes, like chiffon, thin cotton, thin knit fabrics. Heavy Cotton or heavy synthetic materials are best avoided. 

What do you need to make these tubes ?

Cut out fabric of width 1.5 inches. You need preferably the longest bias strip you can make, without joints.

If you do not have enough fabric to make very long strips, you will have to join several bias strips together. Join them diagonally. Cut off the extra seam allowance and press the remaining seam allowance open.

join different lengths of bias-tape into long lengths

Checkout the tutorial to make the bias tape for more details and instructions

A thick hand sewing needle / tapestry needle

Double strand thread 

How to make very thin Fabric tubes ?

thread needle through fabric edges sewn together to make thefabric tubes

 Cut out fabric strips cut on the bias.

Fold the 1 1/2″ bias strip by half lengthwise. Mark a stitching line 2/8″ from the fold .

fabric tubes

Stitch through that marked stitching line. Keep the width of the fabric tube even as you sew. 

(Another option is to take a fabric strip of 1 1/4 inch and stitch 1/2 inch from the fold- for a thinner tube)

Thread the tapestry needle with a double strand of thread. Knot the ends together so that you have a very long thread 4 layers of thread together. (This is so that you have a very strong thread which do not break when you pull the tube inside out)

use needle and thread to turn the fabric tubes

Anchor the thread at the end of the  fabric strip. Make the thread extra secure here. A buttonhole twist is good to secure it super thoroughly. 

turn the eye end of the needle to turn the roulleu strips
The eye end of the needle is used to turn the fabric tubes

Thread the needle through the tube till it comes out from the other side. Coax the tube inside out with the needle and thread.

(The first part of pushing the needle in and coaxing the end is the most difficult part. If you are having problems, cut off a bigger hole at the edge for ease in the first part) One easy way is to reverse the needle ie GO FORWARD THROUGH THE TUBE BY THE EYE SIDE OF THE NEEDLE WHICH IS BLUNT. (I find it impossible to proceed with the sharp side and almost always use this side to pass through the tubes)

To turn any other fabric tubing you can use a bodkin as described in this post, but here you have to use a thick needle – that is the only thing that will go through.

coax the thin fabric tubes using the needle

The extra fabric outside the stitching line will form the bulk inside the tube and make it look well rounded and thick. 

The thin tubes made from fabric

If you find that the cording seems to have unwanted bumps, just wet it and use your hands to arrange it smooth or better stretch it smooth. When it is dry it will be properly distributed.

If the fabric tube is made of synthetic material you can steam it with your iron to get it smooth. 

Checkout the tutorial to sew a Drawstring lounge pants to see how these tubes are used as waistband ties.

To close the ends of the fabric tubes, turn the open edges to the inside carefully, (use thin tipped tweezer to get it all inside) and then use fabric glue to close it or use hand stitching to stitch it closed.

You can make drawstring stoppers to prevent the drawstrings from accidentally slipping out of the casing, following the tutorial given in the post about making gift bags .

fabric gift bag diy with fabric tube drawstring

The drawstring stropper made from fabric cut in the shape of a triangle

You can also use big buttons or beads as stoppers as well as check out the following photos for more ideas. 

fabric tubes stopper

fabric tube stopper made of fabric

How to make Flat Spaghetti straps ?

fabric tube ends made of net and beads

To make spaghetti straps it is better that you get fabric strips which are cut on the straight grain unless you want the straps to stretch.

Turn under the short ends of the strips 1/4 inches . Now fold the strip right sides together along the center line lengthwise. Stitch along the edge. If you are using knit cloth to make the straps use a small zig zag stitch to sew. 

You can turn this inside out by using a safety pin. Another easy option is to keep a ribbon or cord inside the tube as you sew. Cord/ribbon should be 1-2 inches more than the fabric strip.

Keep the cord or ribbon inside the fabric strip fold so that it is 1″ extended from the short edge. Make sure to attach the ribbon with a basting stitch to that edge. After you have stitched the tube, You can now turn the tube inside out easily pulling on the ribbon/ cord. Remove the basting stitches and the cord afterward. You have a perfectly turned spaghetti strap.

Fabric tubes with cording inside

To make a fabric tube with cording filled inside, you have to sew the bias strips right sides together with the cording inside. Sew along the edge of the cording closely with a zipper foot.

Make sure that you have stitched (securely) the cording to fabric edge (without sewing the opening closed). Now when you pull the cording, the fabric tube will automatically turn right side out, with the cord inside.

Related posts : Make 4-strand braid with these fabric tubes – tutorial

fabric bow tutorials


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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.