DIY: Make a Fabric Yo-Yo

As many parents are headed to the malls for that annual event of back-to-school shopping, I wanted to give you a fun, easy way to embellish a little girl’s t-shirt, instead of buying a new one.

If you have a little girl, or if you’d like to bless a friend or family member’s daughter with a unique new look for back-to-school, here’s a great way to use a small scrap of fabric and a simple bit of hand-sewing to embellish a boring tee with a fun decoration called a yo-yo.

I’ve got a video tutorial for you, along with your basic supplies, for making the classic fabric yo-yo, and even some more ideas for embellishing.

Making a Yo-Yo

A yo-yo is simply a round piece of fabric, sewn together in the middle to create a cute, gathered, three-dimensional circle. They became popular in the 1930s-1940s and have been historically used in quilts among other projects. I first learned how to make them from my friend Allison’s blog.

What You Need:

  • needle & thread
  • scrap of fabric
  • something round to use as a template
  • iron
  • optional: button

(You might need to click over to view the video.)

Embellishing with Yo-Yos

Lately, my go-to baby gift is a headband with a cute yo-yo on it. Once I accidentally made my yo-yo too small and decided I’d just sew it on a onesie, and it came out adorable. This baby gift takes all of five minutes, which I love, because you know those babies outgrow the tiny, little onesies in no time (so I don’t like to spend too much time on homemade baby clothes)!

Last year, my daughter’s “first day of preschool” outfit included a yo-yo-embellished tank top (pictured above). The tank and jeans were garage sale finds that I gussied up with the yo-yos and some simple ruffles. This year, I made her a skirt with a matching yo-yo tee (pictured below). Hmm… maybe this is the start of a silly yo-yo tradition for my girls.

I’ve made yo-yos of all different sizes to make pins, hair clips and even earrings, simply by hot-glueing them to safety pins, alligator hair clips and earring backs, respectively. They are so versatile and fun!

Yo-yos are a fun way to add a homemade touch to a simple store-bought, thrifted, or handed-down piece of clothing, that doesn’t require much sewing experience! For detailed photos, you can view Allison’s tutorial as well.

Where do you think would be a cute place to put yo-yos? Have you made them before?

About Nicole

Nicole can be found blogging at her lifestyle blog, and is the editor of Simple Homemade. She loves to read, sew, make ice cream, take pictures, watch baseball and go for walks by the beach with her hubby and three little kiddos. She loves anything handmade and is affectionately known as a bit of a hippie among family and friends.


  1. WOW! thank you for the video! such a wonderful idea, my kids would love it :)

  2. Those are really cute. Do you have an fraying issues after repeated washings? I like the idea of having them as little flower bracelets that might have covered elastic that wraps around the wrist.

    • Nope, Suzy, I’ve never had a problem with them fraying. I think the folded edge I iron in helps with that. Your bracelet idea sounds so cute!

  3. So cute!

  4. Wow really cute! I would love to try this to my kids. I don’t really have much idea in sewing but the video tutorial seems very simple. Many thanks!

  5. Ooo! I’ve never thought of making fabric yo-yo’s. I bet my 4 year old niece would love this. Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. Very Cute!


  1. […] been posting away at Simple Organic, and this week I posted a fun video tutorial on making a fabric yo-yo, one of my favorite little things to […]

  2. […] DIY: Make a Fabric Yo-YoAug 15, 2011 … Thanks for visiting Simple Organic. If you subscribe to the blog via RSS feed or via email, you’ll get helpful tips for green living sent straight to … […]

  3. […] where the clips are produced from and then do some research on the background of the manufacturer.  Your one year-old daughter may be growing her hair faster that you expected and this could become…well kept often with the aid of baby hair clips. However, even if this may be a quite simple device, […]

  4. […] DIY: Make a Fabric Yo-YoAug 15, 2011 … Thanks for visiting Simple Organic. If you subscribe to the blog via RSS feed or via email, you’ll get helpful tips for green living sent straight to … […]

  5. […] you’re new to making yo-yos, you can check out a video tutorial I made on Simple Homemade last year (and you can also see some other ideas for using yo-yos). They […]