Fabric Yo-Yos

Fabric Yo-Yos
A precut stash of fabric circles along with needle and thread are a great way to keep hands busy during those times while waiting at the doctor's office, during bedside hospital vigils or on long travels.

To make a traditional yo-yo, you will need a circle of fabric, a needle and thread. Cut a circle that has a diameter that is twice what will be the finished width, plus 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) for the seam allowance. For example, if you want a finished yo-yo to be about 2 inches (5.1cm), cut the circle at 4 1/4 inches (10.8cm).

Alternatively, there are charming simple yo-yo tools that can be used as well to help. Yo-yos can even be in a squared or heart shape, both delightful.

To sew the yo-yo, hold the fabric circle wrong side up and turn in the raw edge toward the center about 1/4 inch. Start a running stitch close to the folded edge. It is not necessary to use a double threaded needle since the small running stitch around the folded edge is not likely to break. Small 1/4 inch (or smaller) stitches around the circle’s folded edge should be suitable.

Experiment with the length of the running stitch if you’d like since when the thread is pulled to gather in the fabric toward the center the length of the stitch will determine the final look of the yo-yo. Continue stitching all the way around the fabric circle, then pull up on the thread so that the gathers form around the center. Take a few stitches to secure the center then flatten the yo-yo to evenly adjust the gathers. Stacks of fabric yo-yos can be made in a short time. Now, what to do with them?

Yo-yos can be connected and made into quilt tops, fabric necklaces, table runners, garlands, embellish napkin rings, curtain tie backs, adorn totes and T-shirts, hair bands, pattern weights…the list is endless!

Although the fabric yo-yo and the toy yo-yo - that round wooden toy with a string wrapped around the center axis, may have nothing other than their colorful and cheery round shapes to connect their names, both seem to have made their way to North America during the 1930’s. Fabric yo-yos were a frugal embellishment for a hand-sewn quilt and the toy yo-yo a happy diversion from the times of the Great Depression.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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