SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, July 11, 2011

Fun Fabric Yo-Yos | Family Economics

By Cathe

In grade school, one of our holiday crafts was a darling holiday wreath crafted from little sewn yo-yo's, each stuffed with one cotton ball, and strung together into a circle. I could hardly wait to get home to make more. I remember thinking how “cutting edge” these little stitched circles were until over the years I discovered that fabric yo-yo’s were made long before my time for many projects such as bed quilts dating back to the 1920s.

Fabric yo-yo’s are simple dimensional pieces created by folding and stitching the edge of a circle-shape piece of fabric and are a great craft to tote along for those on-the-go projects. Most fabric yo-yo creations are made from multiple fabric patterns and colors married into one collective piece. However, some pieces are made from only two or three colors or patterns. Fabric can be store-bought, thrifted, re-purposed from clothing, even inkjet printable fabric sheets with your own custom pattern design. Finished yo-yo’s can be laid out and connected to show either the flat or cinched side or a combination of both.

stitch the outer edgeHere is how to make your own fabric yo-yo’s:

1.  First, make a template from any cardstock such as the back of a note pad or product box.

2.  To make the template, draw a circle twice the size plus a ¼-inch of the finished yo-yo.

3.  Trace around any round item such as a drinking glass, or standard school compass to create your circle.

4.  Use the template to trace circles onto the back of fabric to trim out.

cinch fabric and tie off5.  With a needle and thread, knotted at the end, fold and stitch the outer edge of the circle inward.

6.  The tighter the stitching, the wider the finished center hole. The looser the stitching, the tighter the hole.

7.  Cinch fabric tight and tie off thread.

8.  Press flat and sew individual yo-yo’s together with a few small stitches to connect.

Here are just some of the sweet projects made by combining fabric yo-yo’s.

•    Decorative Garland
fintage yo-yo quilt•    Small quilt wall hanging
•    Pillow covers
•    Decorative trims for clothing and linens.
•    Pin-back brooches clustered to resemble flowers
•    Tiny rosette prize ribbons with added button-bling center
•    Clusters of various sized yo-yo’s can be stitched together to create a necklace
•    Hair clip adornment
•    Wreath ornaments (like the one I made with cotton ball stuffing)
•    Fabric doll body and limbs (when strung together like tall stacks of pancakes)
•    Tote bag adornments
•    Scrapbooking and Collage embellishments

Have you ever made fabric yo-yo’s? If so, what was your best creation?

10 Comments so far

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On Saturday, February 16, 2013, Meredith from California wrote

I re-created the yoyo clown doll my grandmother made for me when I was 6 years old (50+ years ago and I still have it). I have made two clowns and a rabbit. A wonderful memory for me.

On Monday, September 5, 2011, Karen in North Texas wrote

I made a king size quilt with points all around on 3 sides. It had over 3000 yo-yos in it. It was beautiful!

On Saturday, July 30, 2011, KS from Idaho wrote

It is fun to see projects created from Yo-yos. I, too, find it to be the perfect travel project; I've been making yo-yos when I travel to visit family members out of state; I can work on them when my husband is driving or when we reach our destination and are visiting with family. Especially nice when my in-laws watch TV as I don't enjoy it; but I can work on my yo-yos in the same room and not be bored with TV or be unfriendly. Thank you for all of your posts.

On Thursday, July 14, 2011, Ellen in Nixa wrote

I've been thinkinking about making something from yo-yos and your article was just the nudge I needed. Thanks!

On Wednesday, July 13, 2011, Anna from Lawrence Girls wrote

I made pillows from a huge haul of vintage yo-yos I grabbed from an Estate Sale... I still have enough for a quilt, too. :)

On Wednesday, July 13, 2011, southernblueyedquilter wrote

I find yo-yo's to be one of life's little hidden joys. I also find your site helpful and informative in supplying crafters with ideas for their use. Thank you for taking the time to perpetuate this time-honored sewing tradition that is seemingly timeless regardless of how they are used.

On Tuesday, July 12, 2011, Wendy from Rio Rancho wrote

Thanks for sharing the yo-yo quilt, it reminds me of my Mamaw's. She made at least 4 quilts...I got the full bed quilt size one. She had cataracts and her eyes weren't completety perfect. The hodge-podge colors remind me of hers.

On Tuesday, July 12, 2011, Sonja From MO wrote

Yo's Yo's are great for a traveling project, that's how made mine below I do want to make one for our christmas tree.

On Tuesday, July 12, 2011, Elise wrote

SUCH a fun and useful technique! Thanks for the tute AND terrific ideas! Can't wait to make some of these!!!!!

On Monday, July 11, 2011, tiara kirksey wrote

i loved it that is so cool and i think i should create it for earth day this would be a great way to have something to play with that you could make .


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