*No offense to those who use yo-yo makers but I simply see no point to them. Sewing yo-yos by hand is so simple, I can't imagine it being made any easier!
Step 1: What You'll Need
Pen for tracing-air-soluble markers work very well, but a regular pen will work on everything but the lightest fabrics.
Template (An old CD works great or a cardboard circle cut to your choice of diameters depending on the size yo-yo you want to make.)
Fabric-yo-yos are a great way to use up scraps!
Thread-regular cotton or cotton blend thread to match fabrics or mono filament for invisible stitches
Needle-for hand sewing
Step 2: Cutting Your Fabric Circles
Then cut out the circle.
I find that I like to do yo-yos in stages so I trace a whole bunch of circles, then I cut them all out, then I sew them all.
Note that if you are using a CD as a template, ignore the hole in the middle and only trace and cut around the outside edge. :)
Step 3: Sewing Your Circle's Edge
Create a knot in the end of your thread. I like to use a doubled thread for strength. Fold over the edge of the fabric 1/4 " to the wrong side. Starting from the wrong side, insert your needle through both layers of fabric to create your hemmed edge. (In this example I have used contrasting thread but you'll want to use matching thread or mono filament thread.)
Continue to stitch around the entire circle. I like to use an up and down motion with the tip of the needle while creating an accordion look with the fabric while I sew by using my other hand to press the fabric onto the needle.
TIP: Your stitches do not need to be exactly the same size but the key is to keep the fabric folded under the same amount around the entire circle so that when you have completed several yo-yos, they end up the same size.
Step 4: Create Your Yo-yo
Flatten the pouch so that a disc is formed.
Holding the yo-yo so that it doesn't unfold itself, stitch a few extra stitches through the first few gathers. Tie off the thread with a knot.
You have created a yo-yo! Repeat over and over until you have piles and piles of yo-yos!
TIP: When flattening your yo-yo, spread out the gathers so that they are nicely aligned and even before stitching through them to secure.
Step 5: Linking Your Yo-yos
To link two yo-yos, simply stack them on top of each other with their gathered sides together.
Knot your thread and whip stitch along one side for a short distance. I usually sew for 1/4-1/2". Knot to secure. (Again, I have used contrast thread so you could see but matching or invisible thread works best for a nice finish.)
TIP: It is best to have a large pile of yo-yos made before you start sewing them together so that your colors and patterns are evenly dispersed
Step 6: Ways to Arrange
There are several different patterns you can use to put your yo-yo items together. For my table runner, I aligned the yo-yos squarely. You can also attach rows in a staggered fashion.
Yo-yo quilts are usually left open and used as a coverlet or decorative item. You can also stitch them to a backing for a more substantial quilt. Or you can use single or grouped yo-yos as decorative elements on pillows and other items. Think of how cute a hexagon of yo-yos might look on a throw pillow!
You can also sew your yo-yos and rows so closely together that there are no spaces, giving them a more square shape.