know the yo-yo

I am not a fine detail sewer. I am a make 'em quick and robust with as many shortcuts as possible kind of gal. It comes from my nature - I'm easily irritated by fiddly stuff - and from learning how to sew while caring for a toddler. I make no apologies.

But, lately, I've had this nagging feeling like I should maybe be focusing a bit more on the details, the little embellishments that make handmade so much more than ready made. I'm find myself studying colours and textures in a relaxed (spaced out) way that I really haven't indulged in since I was a child studying my Holly Hobbie wallpaper instead of falling asleep in the evening under the mid-summer sun.

Or maybe right there is the connection. The feeling came about about the same time as I made Smootch her Holly Hobbie snack backpack, which is now also my first victim of my forays into embellishments.

Yes, I yo-yo'd it.

I'm not sure how I feel about the yo-yo. It does require the hand sewing, something I usually avoid, but it's actually a fairly easy embellishment and is interesting enough to look at (if you can avoid rectal associations). The thing that the yo-yo has most going for it, I believe, is that it is a big circle of fabric that can be used to cover up sewing flaws and stains, which is why I've started making a bunch of yo-yos for a dress I'm working on. The dress isn't going so well.

Just in case you no know the yo-yo and want to try, I've put together a quick little tute.

1. Cut out a circle that is about twice as wide as you want your yo-yo, plus a 1/4" seam allowance.

2. Fold the seam allowance down, wrong sides together, and sew in place with a running stitch all around the circle.

3. When you come back to the start, do not secure thread, but pull the edges of the circle in.

4. Now secure the thread.

5. Press the edges of the yo-yo.

6. Slip stitch the edges of the yo-yo to desired location.

Now I'm off to play with more yo-yos, and explore some other embellishment techniques I can use to tart up my sewing (and cover oopsies). Happy weekend all!


This is a free tutorial and I encourage you to use the information in any way you need to (check the disclaimer at the bottom of the page). If it works for you, please consider supporting my etsy shop by purchasing a Little Print Design pattern or toss a dollar or two in my paypal to show appreciation and to encourage me to offer up even more quality patterns and tutorials.

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  1. your comment made my day...

    and I am SO into the "get it done" process rather than the take time to focus on detail. I think it is part ADD, and part too many kids will interrupt me. I feel like I live my life on a time clock..that at any given moment, it is going to let out a huge BUZZZZZZZZZ and my time will be up.
    drives me crazy, but I am stuck in this cycle...

    have a great weekend filled with time for detail!

  2. you're my kind of sewer (seamstress, maker of things... what IS the correct terminology?). a thought on the rectal nature of yo-yos... methinks this could be avoided by steering clear of pink fabrics perhaps. I've always wanted to try yo-yos... thanks for the inspiration.

  3. haha, same thing over here, I avoid the hand sewing too, just too lame.
    I made a cute headband with a yoyo and to cover up the rectal look I just sewed a button in the middle ;) (usually I avoid buttons because they involve hand sewing thingy.. you know)

    nice new look :)
    have a nice weekend


  4. oh my. love your blog! i've never seen the rectal factor, but now........that's all i will see. thanks for sharin' that love :)

  5. I love yo yos because they use up your scraps! But becuase they are time consuming, I've been working on one skirt for months...

  6. thank you soooo much for the rectal imagery - something i would have never noticed on my own but now can't stop seeing ;)

  7. Hee, Hee, Hee! Never made the rectal association until now, and I'm a nurse! I don't think I'll ever look at a yo-yo the same again. I agree that they're great for covering flaws and this is how I use them, usually with a button in the center. It's also really cute to layer a small yo-yo on top of a bigger one.

  8. I don't think I have read such plentiful use of the word rectal by 8am before. Best comments ever.

  9. LOL. The "rectal associations". I had never even made that association actually until you said it. I will now think of it every time I see a yoyo.