Fabric yo-yos are small rosettes made by sewing a running stitch around the edge of a circle of fabric, then gathering the stitches to create a smaller fabric circle with a shirred center. The finished yo-yo is a three-dimensional puff that looks like a flower. Yo-yos can be made any size you like, from tiny to extra-large. It is easy to create a yo-yo template by cutting a circle from cardboard or a plastic container lid.
Yo-Yos Make Embellishments for Quilts, Clothing, and Crafts
Yo-yos, first popular with quilters in the 1920s and 1930s, have made a comeback because they are a fast and easy way to add dimensional appliqué to a wide variety of different projects. Yo-yos are used to embellish quilts, clothing, doll accessories, hair clips, and purses. They can also be sewed together into flat sheets to make blankets, vests, dresses, or Christmas ornaments. Stacks of yo-yos threaded together through their centers make flexible bodies and limbs for dolls or soft animal toys. Yo-yos can be made from fabric scraps and can make even ugly fabrics look like pretty flowers.
Pros and Cons of Homemade Yo-Yo Templates
A homemade yo-yo template consists of a circle about twice the size of the finished yo-yo. Anything circular whose shape can be traced with a pen or pencil can be a yo-yo template—a small plate, a soup can, or a yogurt lid, for example. For mass production, many sewers cut out a circle from a cereal box or plastic lid and use that to trace circles onto their fabric. Homemade templates have two advantages: they don’t cost anything to make, and they can be cut to any size, large or small.
They also have two disadvantages. The first one is that precision is important in every step of making the yo-yo, from cutting out the fabric to turning over the cut edge bit by bit while putting a running stitch through the outside edge of the fabric circle. The running stitches must be small and placed an equal distance apart to make the shirred hole in the center of the finished yo-yo the right size. The second disadvantage is that it takes longer to make a yo-yo using a homemade template than it does with the Clover Yo-Yo Maker.
Pros and Cons of the Clover Quick Yo-Yo Maker
Notions manufacturer Clover makes a set of yo-yo making templates called Clover Quick Yo-Yo Makers. Clover’s templates currently come in sizes from extra small (3/4” finished yo-yo size) to extra large (3 ½” finished yo-yo size) at a cost of $5.25 to $6.25 U.S. In addition to the traditional round yo-yo, Clover also offers templates that make heart and flower shaped yo-yos. The biggest advantage of using a Clover template is that it really does save time compared to using a homemade template. The yo-yo fabric can be cut in a square or rectangle instead of a precise circle, then trimmed quickly to shape. The Quick Yo-Yo Maker also makes perfect yo-yos easier for beginners or less accurate sewers. The template holds the fabric in place during stitching. Precut holes in the template make sure every stitch is the right size and placed at the right distance for a perfect center. It isn’t necessary to be as precise in turning under the fabric edge.
The Verdict: For Most Sewers, Clover Quick Yo-Yo Maker is Worth the Money
It’s no wonder the Quick Yo-Yo Maker won the American Craft & Hobby Association Innovation Award. If you’re planning to make more than a very few fabric yo-yos, and If Clover makes a template for a yo-yo of the size and shape you want to make, the Clover template is well worth the investment. If you are already an expert sewer, it is still easy and fun to make yo-yos the old-fashioned way.