How to Make Oval Shaped Fabric Yo Yo's

Fabric yo yo's are an old quilting tradition, but here recently (or for the past few years or so) they have been appearing on EVERYTHING as fun, creative embellishments. I have a love for these quick, easy to make, cheerful pretties.

Traditional fabric yo yo's that are used in quilting are circles, but this tutorial puts a spin on them by changing them into ovals... an idea that came to me while brainstorming ways to revamp an old project that I shared with you yesterday.

Pretty nifty, if you ask me.

Here is what I did.

Using white tissue paper, I traced the oval pattern stitched into the blanket so I would know what size the finished yo yo would need to be.

Let me tell ya, that was a little tricky because it turns out that it is pretty difficult to see stitching through something even as transparent as white tissue paper! 

Holding the tissue paper up the the light, I could see though it and was able to fold the oval in half. Just line up the two sides of the circle as you hold it in the light. (Hope that the picture helps me explain this better.)

Leaving it folded it in half, I free hand cut around the oval, but I left an edge around it equal to the radius of the oval. The reason you have to leave the edge is because when you stitch the yo yo and gather it, you are going to loose half of the size of your original shape. 

This is what I came up with when I did my free hand cutting. I know what you're thinking... THAT THING'S HUGE! I promise you that it has to be that big in order to make the yo yo the size that you want. Notice that it is not perfectly rounded on the sides? Did I mention that I am sometimes not perfect at free hand cutting? :) It's going to be more than fine when I use it to trace the real deal on fabric. Yo yo's are not an exact science. That's why I love them. They are super easy, way fun to make, and pretty much fool proof. 

Scrap fabric is always nice to have around when trying out new patterns and things like these oval yo yo's. I never throw away a scrap of fabric that is at least as big as a postage stamp, for this very reason. 

I traced the yo yo pattern on the scrap fabric (rounding out the sides that weren't so round after my free hand cutting) leaving the points at the top and the bottom. You are going to need them to make the oval shape more.... well, oval-y. 

After cutting it out, I flipped the oval over to the reverse side and started stitching. Looking at this picture now I realize how wrinkled this scrap fabric was. When I make the oval yo yo's out of the fabric for the blanket, I will iron it. It just makes it easier to work with. 

This part is easy-peasy. Just use your fingers to fold over the edge of the fabric and gather stitch it as you go using a regular needle and thread. In case you don't know what a gather stitch is, you just use your needle to go over, under, over, under, over, under. You want to make these stitches fairly large. All of your stitches do not have to be the same size. Don't worry about your thread matching your fabric. You aren't going to see it when you are finished stitching and gathering the yo yo closed. 

Continue to go around the entire edge of the oval. 

Once you have gone around the entire edge, you can begin to gently pull on your needle until the fabric starts to gather. You will have to pull and twist the fabric a little bit to get it to make the oval shape as you are pulling to gather it.

This is what it looked like when I was finished! It perfectly fits the oval stitched into the blanket. I couldn't be more pleased! 

Here one last picture to show you the size and shape difference of the oval yo yo compared to the traditional circle one. See the difference?

When you want to finish off your yo yo and stitch it closed, just poke your needle back down through the middle of the yo yo, in the hole that the gathered area makes, and stitch a knot in the back! (Sorry I didn't take a picture of that part. You are most likely on picture over load by now anyway!)

It's that simple! 

Let me know if you try out any oval yo yo's on your own. I would love to know how they turn out and what project you used them on! If you have any questions or if something is confusing, please let me know. Have fun! 

Much love. 

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