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Buttonhole Loops

SewCrazy | Posted in General Discussion on


Please can anybody please tell me how to turn a thin tube of fabric into a loop for my buttonholes.  There must be an easier way to do this than the frustrating time I’ve been having, just to end up with a mangled, sweaty and frayed piece of fabric!!

Maybe I would be better off to buy some nice upholstery cording?  Although for this garment, a long, unlined duster coat, I don’t want too much bulk right in the front area.

Any tips would be helpful, thanks.



  1. rsolish | | #1

    I know just what you mean!! here are instructions as copied from a bridal burda:
    "fold bias strip in half lengthwise, RIGHT sides together. stitch 5 mm from fold. turn strip right side out" using the needle still attached to the end of the seam.
    i'ts really easier to buy a thin cord i once used a satin cord and it worked fine. Right now i'm planing a lace top and i think will make loops out of embroidery thread.
    good luck!!
    from Netanya

    1. solosmocker | | #8

      Just wanted to add that when I have made fine cording I do not use a cord. The seam allowance itself pads the cord. Just a hint.bunny

      1. User avater
        Thimblefingers | | #9

        Same here - I don't usually use cording inside my loops as they can become too bulky, especially for fine work or fine cloth.  However, if you do want to use cording inside the tube (for heavier applications or embellishements), just cut cord that will be inside double the length required and attach the bias strip in the middle and stitch close to the edge same as previous instructions for loops.  Then when you turn it right side out, it will turn back over the other half of the cord and, viola, you have the cord inside the tube!

        1. poo | | #10

          I'd like to add a thing to this
          when stitching the tube,(of BIAS) fabric, make sure you pull it tight - strech the fabric as you sew it to its limit - understand that this will make the whole thing seem much narrower and you have to adjust where you place your stitiching line, it will 'puff' up again after its sewn, but, when you strech it while its sewn, this inusres that your stitches won't pop and break when you are turning the tube,
          Then, strech the tube again while pressing it, and it will give you a very fine, narrow, strong tube.

          1. FitnessNut | | #11

            If the fabric is compatible, I wet the turned tube and pin each end to the ironing board, stretching it lengthwise as much as possible. Once dry, you'll have a skinnier tube than you ever could have turned yourself.

  2. Megh | | #2

    First of all, in order to make fabric tubes, your fabric must have a fairly tight weave or it will fray terribly.  But you knew that, I'm sure.  There is a product called Fast Turn, a metal tube and wire puller-thingy.  I've never used it. 

    I make tubes using bias strips of the fabric and household string.  I fold the strip in half with the string inside, next to the fold.  I stitch across the top/short end to secure the string to the fabric, then stitch down the side of the strip, close to the string (or with a seam allowance enough to not fray while the tube is being turned).  A shorter length is easier to turn than one that is yards long....  And once your stitching is done, trim the top edge a little, and begin pulling the string. 

    If you don't secure the string well enough at the top, it will pull out.  I usually leave a little tail of string hanging out of the top.  And depending on how narrow a tube you want/need, it will take more patience and time to turn the tube.

    Good luck!

    1. User avater
      Thimblefingers | | #3

      I'll add a little more to that.  Instead of string, I use rattail or cording about the diameter I would like my loops to be.  Then proceed  exactly the same as Meg, using a small stitch length - 1 - 1.5 and a zipper foot to get really close to the cording (but be careful not to catch it or it won't turn).  Fabric with texture can be very difficult to turn and slippery fabrics are the easiest.  You might want to use a matching slippery fabric if your fabric is difficult to turn.  Using the cording will give you nice smooth even loops.

      1. solosmocker | | #4

        I have a fast turn and think it is one of the most important notions I own. It works fabulously and simply. If you are going to do any amount of cording, invest in one. You won't regret it.Bunny

  3. mem | | #5

    You need a Fast Turn  . It makes tiny rouloue and is very easy to use . Google it Iam asure that you will find one to buy I know That "Punch with Judy" have the full range .They are here in Australia.

  4. mimi | | #6

    I agree, a Fast Turn will make your life much easier!  Make sure your fabric is cut on the bias as this makes turning the fabric much easier.


  5. diday | | #7

    For buttonhole loops I like the concept illustrated here, placing a serged chain inside the fabric, but using the sewing machine and thin string instead.


    We did this in class when I first got my serger and it was a great tip. I have a set of tube turners but this was just as easy.


  6. promdressesrme | | #12

    Have you tried a FastTurn?

    1. SewCrazy | | #13

      Hi everybody!

      Thank you to everyone who responded to my question.

      I re-cut the material piece to make the tube, this time on the bias, as the pattern (Vogue Adri) failed to mention this!?  Then tried again, still with difficulty, so cut yet another strip, this time a little wider, and it did turn eventually.  To make the loop look more interesting I sewed some gold braid on top and the effect is quite nice.

      Sounds like I should invest in the turning widget that several of you have suggested.  I wonder if I can buy one here in Spain where I live? 

      1. promdressesrme | | #14

        Don't know if you can find one in Spain, but you could order it from here online.  Nancy's Notions or Clotilde would probably have it.

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