Monday, November 10, 2008

tutorial: how to make a round fabric yo-yo

Fabric yo-yos are one of my favorite craft or quilt techniques - in fact, I love making them so much that I've made thousands of them into garlands for my Christmas tree!

I was taught to make them by my mother, when I was quite young, she in turn was taught as a young girl by a family friend. There is a real sense of continuity for me when I make yo-yo circles - women have been making them for hundreds of years.

I recently was asked by a reader how to make a basic, round yo-yo circle - so here you go :-) An all-new fabric-tastic tutorial!

As always, this tutorial is my original work, so please don't copy the text or photos without my permission!

To begin, cut out a circle of fabric, I normally use a template to cut out the first one - but you can even cut a free-hand circle if you really want :

The finished yo-yo will be approximately half the size of the fabric circle that you started with. I'm using a circle that's four inches across, so my finished yo-yo is just under two inches across.

Thread a needle with standard sewing thread and knot the end. Fold over a 1/4" seam allowance to the wrong side of the fabric (the pale side in the fabric shown here) and using running stitches, start stitching around the outside of the circle. I use a stitch length of approximately 1/8", but it depends on the size of the circle and the kind of fabric you're using. Heavier or crisper fabrics will need longer stitches, and extremely fine fabric may work better with smaller stitches.

Don't pull the thread tight - leave a tail at the end.
Keep on sewing around the entire circle:
To make sure the stitches won't get pulled out when you start gathering them, pass the needle and thread through the knotted end of the thread (that's why we left a tail at the beginning!)

Now start pulling the thread to gather the fabric evenly. It should look like this - the circle is evenly gathered all the way around and it's a nice, even circle:
Knot the thread and trim it. You can press the yo-yo if you'd like at this stage.

Congratulations! You've made your first yo-yo! Now you can make more...

Tutorial and all images are copyright C Findlay-Harder 2008