How to sew fabric yo yos with a yo yo maker

Learn how to sew fabric yo yos from! Uses an inexpensive yo yo maker.

I absolutely love fabric yo yos. Once I learned how to sew fabric yo yos, I couldn’t stop making them.

…I even purchased a coat specifically because it featured wool fabric yo yos around the the cuff and waist.

(I’m nutty that way!)

I’ll be making several projects featuring yo yos on the site…so here’s a tutorial on how to sew fabric yo yos quickly and easily.

Usually I’m not a fan of templates for any of my hand work except applique, but I’ve made yo yos without templates before….

(I’m a hold out…in addition to being nutty…)

…. and it’s much trickier than using Clover’s fabulous round yo yo makers. You can easily find these at your local quilt shop (like my favorite shop, Erica’s Craft and Sewing Center). I highly recommend these useful templates.

What you’ll need

* Round yo yo makers from Clover

* Small pieces of fabric. I’m showing fabric here from Riley Blake Designs

* Needle, thread, and scissors

How to sew fabric yo yos

Let’s take a look at your yo yo maker! It comes in two parts, a bottom disk and a notched piece that snaps inside of the disk. It looks a lot larger than the finished yo yo! So check to make sure your yo yo maker is the size you need. There’s a circle in the center than shows the final size – shown here in photo 2 below. That yo yo was made with the 45mm Clover yo yo maker.

On the notched piece is a series of lines (photo 3 below). These need to be lined up with the raised bumps on the outside of the bottom disk (photo 4 below). If they’re not lined up, you won’t be able to sew in and out of the u-shaped opening-thingies as needed.

(they look a little like old-style phones to me!)

yoyo by sewmccool collage 1

Cut your fabric larger than the bottom disk, but don’t snap it in yet. About 1/4in (10cm) larger than the disk will do (photo 1).

Now, fold your fabric circle in half, then in half again. Crease well, but don’t press with an iron.

Unfold and place your fabric, right side down, into the bottom disk. Line up one of your creases with one raised bump on the outside of the bottom disk (photo 3 below).

Now snap the top, notched piece in place, lining up the line on the plastic with the crease in your fabric (which you’ve already lined up to the bump on the bottom disk).

Snap the notched piece in place.

See how tricky we are, with our super-duper lining-up secret?

yoyo by sewmccool collage 2

Thread your needle and knot one end. Now bring it up from the notched side through the right side of one of the u-shaped openings in the bottom disk (photo 1 below).

Next, bring it back down through the left side of the u-shaped opening (photo 2).

Once you’ve stitched all the way around the circle in the same manner – essentially making  a running stitch through those openings – you can carefully unsnap the disks, pressing your thumb in the hole in the bottom disk to release it.

yoyo by sewmccool collage 3

You’ll see it looks a little like a fabric shower cap (photo 1 below).

(I’m not a shower cap gal myself, but I’ve seen them!)

Gently pull the thread to start gathering the yo yo. I pull from the long piece and from the other knotted end, to make sure the gathers are centered at the end. To help form its shape, I usually also put my thumb inside to cup it inward while I’m gathering.

When you’re finished gathering, it will look like….

…a fabric yo yo.

(shocking, I know!)

Now bring your needle and thread through the center of the yo yo and pull it out the back, securing it by knotting and clipping the thread.

yoyo by sewmccool 4

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Now you can use yo yos to embellish all sorts of projects, including fabric bracelet cuffs, shown below!

Yo yo fabric cuff by

I hope you enjoyed learning how to sew fabric yo yos! If you enjoyed this tutorial, you’ll also enjoy this fabric cuff tutorial.

Deanna McCool writes for To make sure you don’t miss future posts, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box! :)


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