Reported by Susie Ziegler
I have long been inspired by prolific yo-yo makers and their gorgeous traditional creations made with these cute and simple fabric circles. Talented people can make fabric yo-yos with just a cut out fabric circle. Even though I consider myself pretty versatile with a needle and thread, I never was able to do more than about 4 or 5 yo-yos in a session. Check out what Sunshine from Vintage Threads has stitched with her daughter in THIS Flickr set. Fabric Designer Heather Bailey posted a beautiful looking tutorial on the traditional method of yo-yo making HERE.
When I heard that the Clover Quick Yo-yo Maker won a Best of Innovations award at CHA, I decided it was time to break down and buy one of these tools and test it. Clover has five sizes of this circle shaped tool ranging from about 3/4 inches finished to 3.5 inches finished. They also offer two sizes of heart shapes, and two sizes of a flower yo-yo.
It was the Jumbo size version of their yo-yo maker that specifically won the award this summer. I haven’t seen the jumbo in stores yet, but I think it will be out soon.
I tested the extra large, 2 3/8 inch (60 mm) version. I gathered up some cuts of Halloween themed fabric and cut them into squares about 6 inches wide, larger than the tool. I found that sturdy thread is very helpful for these; I used carpet and button thread on mine. You can use any color thread, because your stitches will be hidden inside the finished yo-yo.
Clover’s instructions were very clear. The tool comes in 2 parts that snap together over your fabric square. Trim up the fabric with a useable seam allowance. It does not matter if you trim this unevenly. See that light circle around the center hole on the white template? Clover stamped that for us so we can know the exact finished size of our fabric creation. Thanks, Clover!
Now it’s time to start stitching. The tool has easy consistently spaced guide holes. You must be sure to stitch in and out of the holes in the correct direction so that later you will be able to pop the thing apart. I found this so easy, that I was actually able to stitch these up while watching subtitled foreign films on television and not miss out on any of the film dialogue.
Just keep your finger out of the way while holding down the flap of fabric.
You have to overlap one stitch so that the center will come together completely. The fabric you’ve just sewn comes off the template easily.
Now is when you will be grateful you used some sturdy thread. Pull it together and shape your yo-yo into a circle.
Take care to knot your thread as tightly into the fabric as possible so the center stays closed. Keep your needle threaded and you can make several yo-yos with one length.
Very quickly you will have a pile of consistent, perfect yo-yos. The first time I used this tool last month, I stitched up nearly a hundred yo-yos before running out of fabric.
I am actually very resistant to tools. Why spend money on unnecessary things I don’t have any storage space for? However, let me tell you, crafty readers, if fabric yo-yos have ever tempted you, run don’t walk to the craft store (with your newspaper coupon) and get one of these. Even my totally non-crafty son was able to easily make a yo-yo and when we got to the part where the center pulls together, he let out a “wow!” of amazement.
You can use any type of not-too-thick fabric with this tool. Don’t bother to use your cutest novelty fabrics because the little motifs will not show up in your finished yo-yo. I like the way striped fabrics turn out when pulled into a circle. In the old days, our grandmothers used to cut up old clothes and scraps and make them into yo-yos. With this tool, it would be much easier to craft these little circles out of difficult to control fabrics like satins or sheers.
I give this tool a 12 out of 10 rating, but let me break it down for you:
- Using it is almost intuitive. I recklessly tossed out the instructions.
- Sizes and style are color coded and stamped for easy identification
- Feels great in your hand
- Easy to find at craft and sewing stores all over
- Stores flat and takes up very little storage space
- Um.. let me come up with something…. Measurements are in millimeters and not inches?
- Using one size only makes you want all the sizes. They are like an addiction. Is that a con?
The Clover Quick Yo-yo Maker retails for $5.25 to $8.25 (USD) depending on the size. You can get them online at numerous sewing and fabric outlets including Clover site, ReproDepot.com, or Superbuzzy.
Yo-yo’s are seemingly begging to have button centers. I attached mine to a long length of black rick rack and made a garland. I’d show you how cute this looks hung up in my front window, but the photo didn’t turn out. I think I’ll have to do a Holiday version of this garland for next season.
Yo-yos make cute appliques and adorable barrettes, and I’d imagine there are also uses for them in your papercrafting projects. My dream is to make a whole quilt out of them. With this fantastic tool, I think I might actually be able to do that!
Have you used the Clover Quick Yo-yo Maker? Do you find it fabulous, or not worth the money? Leave us a comment and let us know!