How to Turn Doll Arms Inside Out

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Putting together dolls and plushies can be kind of frustrating when it comes to the arms, legs and other small skinny type tubes that you’ll be sewing. Today let’s go over some great tips and tricks for How to Turn Doll Arms Inside Out and not have them shred apart.

Fabric choice:

Taking in consideration your pattern and the style you are going for, fabric can really help your creation come to life.

Beyond the pattern and design though, you’ll need to really pay attention to the fabric itself.  Thin, thick, stretch and weight.

For the most part, you’ll want to stay away from stretchy fabric and thicker fabric.  The stretch can cause size issues and the thicker can make it impossible to turn right sides out.

So, ideally- you’ll want to use a quilting cotton which is thinner, but still quite strong.  Thinner cotton will have a tendency to shred or fray and when stuffed can literally fall apart. That is not good.

*if you are using any kind of stretchy fabric, like minky- you’ll want to pin like crazy before sewing. So, you can use stretchy fabric…but you will need to prep prior to sewing or you’ll run into all kinds of issues.

Tools to use:

My favorite tool is the long sticks that come in the stuffing boxes, a crochet hook, or the turning tool which has the wood pole with a tube (comes in multiple sizes)

You can also turn the arms and legs right sides out using a safety pin, or a small tube if you don’t have any of the supplies mentioned.

A hemostat also works well if you have larger pieces- you can pinch the tip on the inside and pull it right sides out. Be careful that you don’t pull too hard at the first and damage the end of the fabric


Clip the tips.  This really is important.  You are going to be turning these potentially smaller limbs and there will be a lot of fabric bulk in some of the points.  You’ll want to remove the fabric at the tip by cutting across the top straight (DON’T snip the stitching!)

Clip your corners or curves.  Along with the tips, the corners or curves will pucker if you don’t allow the fabric the ability to spread out or move when stuffed. You’ll want to make small snips (DON’T snip the stitching!) along the curves from the edge straight down to just above the stitching.

Sewing clips are also great when you are working with fabric that will show pin holes.  Plus in tight spaces, they are helpful that they don’t stick you.

how to turn doll arms inside out

How to Turn Doll Arms Inside Out

1- Pin and sew the arms and legs

2- Clip all curves or points

3- Using your tool of choice, turn the arm / leg right sides out

4- Using a chop stick or blunt end dowel, push the edges and stitching out.  This will help you identify any puckers (turn back inside out and snip a little more) or holes prior to stuffing

5- Stuff firmly, leaving the top 1/2″ – 1″ empty.  You’ll need this extra seam allowance area flat so you can sew these into the body later. Having no stuffing in this area will save a lot of frustration.

How to use a tube turner:

  • Place the straw inside the doll at the end of an appendage (such as an arm, leg or head).
  • Place the chopstick on the outside touching the tip of the straw.
  • Gently push chopstick toward straw and push fabric onto chopstick until that part is right side out.
  • Do each part of doll separately and then turn whole doll right side out.
  • Then use the pointed end of the chopstick on the inside to smooth out all the turned seams- again checking for holes, puckers or other problems.

What you’ll find in the Everything You Want To Know About Sewing Dolls & Plushies series:  Free tutorials, multiple options, ideas, inspiration….

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The Plushie 101 series - Everything You Want To Know About Sewing Dolls & Plushies is going to help with that!  We are so excited to get this launched and help fill in the gaps when it comes to sewing plushie patterns and dolls.
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