Yoyo craft

by Grace Bonney

Because of all my sewing projects around here, dolls, animals, curtains, etc. I end up with so many little scraps of fabric I can’t bear to throw away. Lately I bought a handy little tool from Clover and decided to try my hand at yoyo making. You might say, what are yoyos? It is an old quilting technique where a quilt is covered with hundreds or thousands of little circles called yoyos. What’s great is you only need a little piece of fabric and there are all different size yoyo makers, so even a tiny scrap is usable. I decided not to color coordinate them too much but keep it playful with lots of patterns. This is a good craft to do in the evening in front of the television or on the subway. It’s a little time consuming but satisfying to quickly compile a big pile of them. See below for the how to.

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fabric scraps
yoyo maker from Clover
fabric scissors
needle and thread
sewn pillow cover
pillow insert



1. After you’ve picked out which fabrics you’d like to use, follow directions on packaging of the yoyo maker to make a big pile of yoyos. I used the large yoyo maker which gives you an approx. 1.75″ yoyo. The pillow I made is 15.5″ using 81 yoyos. The pillow insert is 16″.


2. Once you’ve made the correct number of yoyos to fit on your pillow size, begin stitching them together. Again instructions for this are on the packaging but the basic idea is a whip stitch with right sides facing. You should stitch for about a 1/2″ on each side. Once all the yoyos are sewn together gently iron.


3. I made a quick envelope cover for the pillow out of a neutral linen. This means that the front side is a plain square (16″ x 16″) and the two back pieces (12″ x 16″) are hemmed and overlap so the pillow can be inserted. Stitch the perimeter of the yoyo square to pillow cover with a whip stitch.

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  • So cute! and so vintage too! I have seen entire quilts made of these-maybe I need to get my scrap bin out and get to it!

  • I am from Argentina and I would like to know how is the tool that you use to make a yoyo. Thank You!!!

  • Great idea! I remember having a few little creatures made from yoyos when I was young. Thanks for resurrecting this lovely technique!

  • it’s strange this showed up today–just yesterday, i was wandering around the fabric store and picked up one of these yoyo makers on a whim. i’m excited for all the possibilities!

  • I got the most gigantic rush of joy seeing Laura (one of the most talented people I ever worked with in my entire career) here on a favorite blog. A perfect match.

  • adorable! and i just checked ebay to find lots of pre-made yoyos to buy if one does not have a yoyo maker.

  • cute idea for yo yo’s. love making them; never know what to do with them. thanks for the tutorial.

  • fun project! i also love that you have an eastlake piece in your house. i rarely see that ‘vintage’ in the design blogs i read!

  • I was just looking at a bag of yo yo’s this morning and wondering what I was going to do with them. Thanks for a fun idea

  • I made a bunch of these when I was around 12, but I didn’t finish the project, there’s somewhere stored with all my childhood things. Now I want to dig them out and make a pillow! I didn’t use a yoyo maker, and I think it would probably slow me down. It’s pretty easy without the tool, and after a dozen or so you don’t even really need to look and it goes quickly.

  • i love yoyos. i can’t even bear to put a button or something to cover the gathered part. so cute. i am too lazy to even use a pattern and make them perfectly round, and they still come out cute.