The yo-yo is a thrifty way to use up scraps of fabric, or to re-purpose old fabric from garments or linen. It can be used individually or en masse for embellishing everything from hand-made stationery to jewellery
The use of the simple yo-yo for decoration and craft dates back many centuries. Yo-yo quilts were very popular in art deco times, when yo-yo making was particularly well-liked for its portability – little rounds of fabric could be whipped into a yo-yo anywhere, any time. The yo-yo toy was also very popular during the art deco 1920s and 1930s, which could help to explain the popularity of making yo-yo quilts during this period, according to the Alaska State Museum.
Whatever the origin, if you’ve never made a fabric yo-yo, you’re in for a satisfying treat. It should also be noted that it’s virtually impossible to just make one yo-yo. You’ll find yourself just wanting to make one more. Then another… and another. That quilt might not be impossible after all!
Yo-yo Uses And Children
Consider yo-yos as a great way to teach a young child needle skills which will, in turn, help to improve their fine motor skills or coordination. The yo-yo is easily achievable by a child, who will also gain a sense of satisfaction at completing the item, probably within 20 minutes or less.
Think outside the square when offering a yo-yo project for a child. You could make one of sturdy paper using a blunt needle, for example, or string a row of yo-yos made from crepe paper together as decoration for a party.
As a gift for a child, those readers born in the 1950s might recognize the yo-yo as the limbs of fabric rag-dolls, and they’re easy enough to make.
How To Make A Yo-yo
To make a yo-yo, first choose some interesting fabric. Experiment with fabrics and textures such as denim, silk, knit – or even a round crocheted doily. The finished size of a yo-yo is approximately half the diameter of the fabric circle.
- Trace a circle on your fabric with dressmakers’ pencil, and cut it out. A CD is a good size template for your first yo-yo trial.
- Select some sturdy thread and a long sharp needle. With the wrong side of the fabric facing you, stitch a running stitch around the circumference of the fabric circle. Leave the end of the threads loose.
- Draw the threads together to gather the fabric and form the puff, and finish with a knot.
Hints And Tricks
- Make a tight yo-yo, that is, one with a barely visible opening in the finished product, by using a long running stitch. A short running stitch will result in a yo-yo with a hole, which may be the effect you desire.
- If you are unhappy with the raw finish of the yo-yo, turn under the edge as you work the running stitch.
- Thread your needle with a long length of thread if you intend to make many yo-yos and just pull through what you need for each.
- If the back of the yo-yo won’t be seen in your finished product, consider using up flawed scraps of fabric.