Yo yo flowers are back! I’ve got a new twist on this old favorite. These yo yo flowers have a kick because I’ve added some layers and embellishments that you don’t usually see.
Making yo yo flowers is a good way to use all those leftover pieces of fabric and remnants of trim, beads and buttons. You won’t believe how fast and easy they are to make.
This is something you can do almost mindlessly while watching TV. You can sit in your favorite chair, cut out one yo yo and sew it by hand in five minutes or less. And let me tell you, once you get started, you almost can’t stop!
After you make a pile of different sized yo yos, start playing with them, putting different combinations together along with bits of trim and beads.
So what are you going to do with all those yo yos when you finally come up for air? Well, they can be used in so many ways: as brooches, barrettes, headbands, bracelets, bouquets, package decorations. Let me show you how they’re done in this tutorial.
Making yo yos step by step
Make paper patterns for the yo yos
The first thing you need to do is make some patterns. Yo yos are made from round circles of fabric. The easiest way to make circles is with a drafting compass. You might remember using one of those in grade school. At least, that’s where I remember them from.
There are different sizes marked on my compass, up to a 6″ radius, or a 12″ diameter. Now you don’t have to use a compass. You can use cups, saucers, cans from the cupboard. Just remember that the finished yo yo is going to be about half the size of the circle you cut out. You can see I made a series of circles using my drafting compass traced onto junk mail (2″, 3″, 4″, 5″ and 6″).
Gather up fabrics to make yo yo flowers
How to make yo yos
Take all your pattern pieces and cut out a bunch of yo yos in all different fabrics. Then put a gathering stitch around the edge of each yo yo. You can do this with a sewing machine, but I think it’s just as quick to do by hand using doubled thread.
One thing I did to make the sewing process faster was to eliminate the step of turning under the edge of the yo yo before adding the gathering stitch. If you were making a quilt, that’s a step you would want to keep since the quilt would have to be washed. Also, if you were to finish the edge of the yo yo, you would not need to cover that spot with a button.
Pull the gathering stitch up tight to form the yo yo and make a knot. Keep the knot on the top of the fabric if the back of the yo yo is going to be on display later, such as if you were making a yo yo flower bouquet. Note: it’s easier to embellish the center yo yo first before gluing or sewing it to the other layers.
Cutting and sewing yo yos
Adding embellishments to yo yos
Yo yos, yo yos everywhere
Giving yo yos a kick
You can give yo yo flowers a kick by adding layers of tulle, lace and beaded fringe. The center embellishment is another way to make yo yo flowers unique. Make some for each season of the year and for the holidays.
I’ve made some yo yo flowers inspired by spring and summer, using lace in a couple of different ways. Twice the lace was used flat as a layer. In another yo yo flower, the lace was gathered tighter to make it look more dimensional like a tulip. My favorite center embellishment for the spring flowers is the ladybug, which is demonstrated below.
I did an animal print yo yo flower, good for fall and winter, that has a heavily beaded center. Then there’s a patriotic one with a beaded fringe layer, and a Halloween one with a layer of tulle and a creepy spider on top! I’ll show you the details on that below too.
A look at each individual yo yo flower
How to make the ladybug embellishment
How to make the spider embellishment
Ideas for using yo yos
What to do with all those yo yo flowers
As I mentioned before, yo yo flowers can be used in many different ways. They make cute package decorations with some double-stick tape on the back. They can be sewn onto throw pillows. You could add wire to them and make a yo yo flower arrangement. You could add them to headbands or sew them onto fabric cuff bracelets. You could also attach them to pin backs or barrettes.
My personal preference is to make them into pins. That way they can be worn on a jacket or blouse, pinned to your purse, or my personal favorite, pinned to a fabric cuff bracelet. I have several fabric cuff bracelets and, if you would like to make some for yourself, please check out my crafting tutorial for fabric cuff bracelets.
How to add a pinback to a yo yo flower
Yo yo flower pins added to fabric cuff bracelets
I have several sequin bracelets. Love the bling!
Wearing yo yo flowers
Here I am modeling the different ways to wear yo yo flower creations.