By Susan M. Thigpen © 1988
Issue: December, 1988
How many of you remember old fashioned yoyos? No, I don't mean the kind of child's toy made of wood with a string wrapped around it, I mean cloth yoyos.
A yoyo is a circle of material with the edge hemmed and a drawstring run through the hem. This makes a smaller circle when flattened out and can be attached to other yoyos to make useful and decorative items. No one seems to know just how far back the yoyo goes, but most elderly seamstresses remember them.
All yoyo patterns start in the same way. Take a circle of material and fold a small hem along the cut edge of it. Draw a needle and thread through this hem and pull the thread up tight. Fasten off thread. Flatten the circle out so that the gathers are in the center of the circle on one side. This is the decorative side that is usually placed where it will show. (See illustration.) Do not use material thicker than cottons as it will be too bulky when you gather it into a circle.
Make a Yoyo Doll
To make a yoyo doll, go through your scrap material bag and collect the colors you want to use. Cut a paper pattern of a circle and use it to cut your material. The number of yoyos you will need will depend on the size of the doll you wish to make. Draw a needle and thread through the center of enough circles to make the length you wish for a doll leg and fasten off thread. Using the same amount of circles, sew together the other doll leg. Repeat same process for doll arms.
Some people like to make a stuffed body and head for the dolls and attach the yoyo arms and legs to it. If you do this, add a few yoyos sewn on the head for a hat. This will make a good looking clown doll. You can sew hands and feet onto the ends of the yoyo arms and legs. You can either embroidery a face on the doll or glue on felt features. If you wish, you can add yarn hair.
If you wish, you can make the body of the doll out of yoyos also. You will probably wish to make the head out of something solid though. Yoyos also make cute monkey dolls.
Make a Yoyo Quilt
To make a yoyo quilt, start with the basic yoyo pattern. Make the individual yoyos in whatever color you wish and attach them on all four sides to other yoyos until you have a quilt top the size you wish it. Then sew a solid color backing behind the yoyos and your quilt top is finished. At this point you will put it together with the batting and backing and quilt it together. The tacking method of quilting looks especially good on yoyo quilts.
A variation on this design is made by making two different size yoyos, one larger and one smaller. Sew the larger yoyos in to the same squares by attaching them together on four sides to other yoyos. Then sew the smaller yoyos in the spaces left in the corners. (See illustration.)
Yoyos make interesting pillow tops and it might be a good idea to try making a couch pillow first, to see if you wish to make a whole quilt.
Good luck with your yoyo projects. Once you start working with them, you will probably invent other ways of using them in your craft projects.