Making a fabric yo-yo is a wonderful technique that has been handed down from our grandmothers. They were commonly made from scraps of fabric that were too small for anything else. Their portability makes them a great choice for car rides, waiting in a doctor's office and sitting on the sidelines of kid's sporting events. They make beautiful scarves, tablecloths, quilts and cute, quirky yo-yo clown dolls. Bring back this old vintage craft by creating a yo-yo clown doll for a special child's birthday or as a Christmas gift.
Preparing and Making the Yo-Yos
Use a compass to draw a 4 1/2-inch circle pattern on lightweight cardboard and cut out. Trace this pattern on assorted cotton fabric scraps and cut out. You will need a total of 62 fabric circles. Fold over the edge of a fabric circle 1/4 inch and hand sew a running stitch around the circle. Pull the thread and gather the stitches, closing the circle. Knot and cut the thread. Squish the circle flat with the gathered stitches on the top center. Repeat with the remaining yo-yo circles.
Constructing the Yo-Yo Clown Doll
Thread two yards of string on an embroidery needle and double over so it equals 1 yard. Knot the ends together. Thread the needle through the top of a bell. Insert the needle through the doubled strands on the string and pull the bell down. The bell will be attached to the end for a clown foot. Thread 28 yo-yo circles on the needle and push down toward the bell. The bottom 14 yo-yos are a leg and the top yo-yos are the clown's body. Reinsert the needle down through the 14 body yo-yos. Thread 14 more yo-yos on the needle for the other leg. Thread on another bell and reinsert up through the bottom three yo-yos of the leg, knot the string and cut.
Trace an 8 inch circle on a piece of muslin and cut out. Hand sew a running stitch around the edge of the muslin circle. This is the clown's head. Place a handful of stuffing in the center of the muslin and pull up the stitches to gather. Add more stuffing, if needed, to make the head firm. Gather the opening closed, knot and cut the thread.
Thread two yards of the string on the embroidery needle and double over so it equals 1 yard. Knot the ends together. Thread the needle through the top of a bell. Insert the needle through the doubled strands on the string and pull the bell down. The bell will be attached for a clown hand. Thread 10 yo-yos on the needle and push down toward the bell. This is one clown arm. Thread the gathered side of the head on the needle to attach. Thread the remaining 10 yo-yos on the needle for the other arm. Thread on another bell and reinsert up through the last three yo-yos of the arm, knot the string and cut.
Finishing the Yo-Yo Clown Doll
Gather the finished edge of an 18-inch length of 2-inch wide lace with needle and thread. Place the lace ruffle around the clown neck for a collar. Gather tightly, knot and cut the thread. Cut a 6-inch cuff from an old bright-colored sock for the clown hat. Turn the cuff wrong side out. Tie a 6-inch piece of string around the cut end to close. Turn the cuff right side out and place it on the clown head for a hat. Sew two black buttons and a red button to the face for eyes and nose and sew a bell to the top of the hat to finish.
- Cyndee Kromminga, Craft and Interior Designer; Kro Crafts; Winfield, Kansas
Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.