How to Sew a Basic Fabric Yo-Yo

Suffolk puffs, yoyo fabric, quilt
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Although they share the same name as a child's toy, fabric yo-yos aren't playthings at all—but they are great ways to use up fabric scraps to make adornments for a variety of projects. Any light- to medium-weight fabric, even old clothing, is appropriate for making yo-yos. However, avoid heavy fabric, which can bunch up during the gathering process and stop the yo-yo from laying out smoothly.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • A circle template, such as a glass, plate, or embroidery hoop
  • Tailor's chalk or quilting pencil
  • Scissors
  • Hand-sewing needles


  • Light- to medium-weight fabric
  • Strong thread


  1. Cut Out the Yo-Yos

    With your fabric laid out smooth and wrinkle-free, trace around the edge of your template. To cut multiple circles at a time, pin the center of the circle, keeping the fabric flat and smooth. Cut the circles out following the circle that is marked on the fabric. Be sure to keep the fabric aligned if you are cutting more than one at a time.

    Trace a circle on a piece of fabric using a glass
  2. Start Sewing the Yo-Yo

    Thread a hand-sewing needle and knot one thread, leaving a tail after the knot. Working with the wrong side of the fabric toward you, gently turn under approximately 1/8- to 1/4-inch of the edge of the circle.

    Insert the needle in the edge of the fabric on the wrong side, so the knot will be inside the yo-yo. Sew a running stitch around the edge of the circle, turning the edge as you sew, stopping when you reach where you started.

    Sew the fabric circle
  3. Gather the Circle

    Holding the needle thread, pull the thread to gather the circle. Tuck the turned edge into the center, keeping the right side of the fabric out as you gather the circle. Gather until you have an almost-closed circle.

    Use the gathering thread and the knot-tail to knot the thread multiple times. Trim the threads close to the knots. Finger press the yo-yo flat with the "hole" in the center. Join yo-yos together in any desired pattern.

    Gather the circle of fabric