How to Make Fabric Yo-Yo Dolls

Updated February 21, 2017

You can use yo-yos, long a part of American folk art, in a variety of household and apparel projects. Yo-yo creations include pillow covers, place mats, quilts, various animals and dolls. The traditional art of making yo-yo dolls allows crafters an opportunity to recycle scraps while making something charming. Even children can easily learn to sew yo-yo creations. Use pretty calico scraps for instant appeal. Sewing a yo-yo doll involves lots of repetition.

Thread a needle, doubling the thread by tying the ends in a knot.

Insert the needle into the right side of the fabric ¼ inch from the circle edge. Sew around the circle with a running stitch. Insert the needle into the fabric, pulling the needle until the thread stops at the fabric. Move the needle over ¼ inch from the previous stitch. Reinsert the needle into the fabric, sewing until you reach the starting point again.

Pull the thread tight, gathering the circle edge so the right side of the fabric is on the Yo-Yo outside. A hole forms in the centre as the fabric folds over itself, creating a double-layered circle. Push the needle through the centre, sewing three secure stitches.This makes one Yo-Yo.

Cut three 8-inch pieces of yarn. Thread a large-eye needle with one yarn piece. Tie a knot at the end. Thread a 5-inch, flesh-tone yo-yo onto the yarn, pushing it to the knot for a foot.

Poke the needle through 22 5-inch yo-yos. Thread the yarn through the yo-yos, forming the left leg. Push the yo-yos down the yarn until the leg measures 4 inches. Tie the yarn above the yo-yos into a knot. Then, at the knot, tie the leg yarn to the end of a second piece (body yarn) of 8-inch yarn, leaving half of the leg yarn loose to form the right leg.

Thread 22 5-inch yo-yos onto the other leg yarn, pushing the yo-yos toward the body yarn knot until the leg measures 4 inches. Thread one flesh-tone, 5-inch, yo-yo on the right leg for that foot. Sew two secure stitches through the last yo-yo. Your doll looks like a Y, with the V section of the Y as the legs and the stem of the Y as the body.

Thread the needle with the top of the body yarn (the bottom of the body has two finished legs). Push the needle through 20 9-inch yo-yos, forming a body 5 inches long. On the last yo-yo, at the top of the body, sew two secure stitches with the yarn/needle.

Fold the remaining 8-inch yarn piece in half. Tie the yarn centre around the top of the body yarn between the first and second body yo-yo for arms.

Thread 22 5-inch yo-yos onto each arm yarn. Thread a flesh-tone, 5-inch yo-yo as the last yo-yo on each arm for hands. Sew two secure stitches with the yarn/needle to the last yo-yo on each arm.

Push the stuffing into the 9-inch, flesh-tone yo-yo through the hole with your finger until it forms a "ball."

Sew the bottom of the ball/head onto the yo-yo on the top of the body with needle and thread. Cut excess yarn hanging from any of the parts.

Use fabric paint, permanent markers or embroidery floss to form a face. Draw two eyes, a nose, if desired, and a mouth. You can draw a sleeping eye easily by forming an upside down letter U. Simple dots will suffice for open eyes.

Things You'll Need

  • (20) 9-inch fabric circles (paper plate size)
  • (88) 5-inch fabric circles
  • (1) 9-inch fabric circle, flesh tone
  • (4) 5-inch fabric circles, flesh tone
  • Yarn
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Large-eye needle
  • Stuffing, approx. 227gr.
  • Scissors
  • Black floss
  • Fabric paint
  • Permanent markers
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About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.