If you want to (or have to) make lots of fabric tubes, I advise that you befriend this specialty presser-foot. Like a microwave, you can do without it but it’s faster and therefore more enjoyable to use. It is the Fast Tube foot (not to be confused with the Fast Turn set of tube turners, although they were made to work with each other). I am not able to verify it’s availability and for that I apologize in advance. If something similar has crossed your path, please comment below.
Fabric ties or straps can be made in any width, straight grain or bias. Here, I’m using a 2 inch bias strip of cotton for demonstration purposes. I will have no eventual use for the tube …… or will I?
The gadget is designed with a presser foot incorporated in it. The flat portion can be moved sideways to customize the width of your bias tube – after you choose the tube width, there is a locking mechanism on the back of the presser foot, which is a key feature to keep an even width without too much human effort.
Using the Fast Tube Foot
To begin, fold your bias tube lengthwise and right sides together, and feed it around the metal separator with the folded side of fabric on the left, fitting snugly but not tightly; the strip goes around the metal on top and comes back out below the metal. You will have to use a pin to feed the tube into the metal slat. Note: make the bias strip as long as you want by joining the shorter strips BEFORE using this gizmo.
I chose the finished tube width of ½” and moved around the slat so that the folded fabric aligned with the ½ inch mark on my sewing machine bed before locking it down. Now, go forth and sew the entire length of the tube. The gadget will automatically keep the folded strip at the correct marking so that your strip is sewn evenly. The raw edges on the right do not matter.
Cut away the extra seam allowance, then use a tube turning tool to turn the strips to the right side. As always, there’s more than one way to turn a tube; without a tube turner, you can use a knitting needle, chopsticks, or similar stuff to turn the fabric tubes to the right side.
Once turned to the right side, press the tube flat and use in your project. These are the things you can use a fabric tube for: spaghetti straps in evening dresses or camisoles, applique, tied together edges like my current favorite neckline in the previous post, fabric belts, or an “open weave” look in your sewing project (one of my favorites). Any other applications of the fabric tube you can think of?
If you have read this entire post, and want this gadget, there’s a problem. The Shirley’s Sewing Stuff website shows the gadget is available but nothing is linked (no hot links to any products). Anyone know of another source, just so we have more options? E-bay? Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with either Shirley’s Sewing Stuff or FastTurn (if they are still in business). If this gadget is not available, high points to someone who can rig a similar gadget, or re-invent the Fast Tube Foot anew. The Dritz Corporation does not have anything like this – they do have tube turning gadgets but not this.
The manual way to make fabric tubes if the FastTube Foot is not available:
- Sew the strip, keeping your eye on the left marking of your choice on the sewing machine.
- Turn the tubes inside out as above.
Hey, have a great summer, and keep sewing.