Yo-Yos and Couching: Two Easy-to-Do Embellishment Techniques

comments (12) August 8th, 2008     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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A simple clutch becomes elegant with some very easy embellishment techniques.
Yo-yos add a retro quality to your design.
The Clover Quick Yo-Yo Maker is a must-have tool.
A simple clutch becomes elegant with some very easy embellishment techniques.

A simple clutch becomes elegant with some very easy embellishment techniques.

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There are actually four elements to this project: machine quilting, couching, fabric yo-yos, and beads. I used them to embellish a simple little clutch, but they would be at home on almost any project. Today I’ll show you how to make the yo-yos and couch the yarn. But first let me take a minute to talk a bit about selecting materials.

Fabric selection sets the tone. 

Although yo-yos obviously use very small amounts of fabric, you'll want to chose a palette of colors that provides some interest yet works to form a cohesive piece. I have a pretty good stash of dupioni silk in lots of colors, as well as other textured silks, and I recommend keeping some of these fabrics on hand. Dupioni takes dye well and, whether you prefer brights, iridescents, or more muted shades, it's a great fabric for large and small detail. For my clutch, I chose some earth tones and one or two jewel tones for accent. The colors are muted, but the fabrics have a soft sheen that matches the quality of the ottoman file fabric that I used as a base. The yarn is variegated hand-dyed pearl cotton that makes subtle shade changes as it meanders through the piece. The quilting thread is also variegated. The pearl beads mirror the color of the file and give the yo-yos a finishing touch.

So let’s make some yo-yos.


Yo-yos add a retro quality to your design.

These little rosettes were popular in the '70s ("Hippie" style, if you're into that), and back in the '20s they showed up in quilts. I love their retro quality, but I have to admit, I've never liked making them until I discovered the Clover Yo-Yo Maker at the last quilt show I attended. Turning under curved edges on a small shape is a pain, but this tool makes it a snap.


The Clover "Quick" Yo-Yo Maker is a must-have tool.

To make yo-yos the old-fashioned way, you have to cut out a bunch of uniform circles, turn under the edge, sew along the fold with long running stitches, then pull up the stitches so the fold comes together in the center.


The disk makes it easy to cut a perfect circle and to easily turn in the edges as you sew.

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posted in: fabric, wearable, beads, chic, vintage, thread, retro, date night, clutch

Comments (12)

nakpunar writes: Yoyo’s are great for Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, or for dressing up your home for any occasion. You can use them to embellish napkin holders, frame decoration, ornaments, gift packages, pillow covers etc.

If you don't have time to make yoyo's for yourself, you can purchase finished yoyo's from my store.

http://www.ILoveYoYo.etsy.com

I welcome custom, wholesale and personalized orders!
Posted: 8:31 am on November 21st
lonesm writes: I can't believe they have a tool to make these flowers......I embellished a top and made the flowers by hand, it took no longer than a few hours to do. And that was before i discovered that their was an actual name for what i was doing. I saw a top that i liked in a shop for like AU$80, and there was no way i was paying that for something so simple, all up it cost me AU$6.20 to make the top.
Posted: 5:29 am on November 11th
ChristineDesigns writes: MaryRay, thanks for the reply! I've purchased both the small one shown in the picture & a larger one. The Yo-Yo makers make Yo-Yo making a breeze! It's a wonderful thing to do in the evenings while watching TV with my family. I've also made a good size dent in my scrap pile! Thanks so much for posting the article! :-D
Posted: 2:32 pm on October 15th
SWEEETBONBON writes: I LIKED YOUR YO YO PURSE SO MUCH I ORDERED THE YO YO MAKER TRIED DOING THEM BY HAND AND THEY TAKE SO LONG .. CANT WAIT TO GET MY CLOVER.... YOUR PURSE IS BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE VERY TALENTED

Posted: 8:18 am on September 22nd
Jrsjewels writes: Cute!
Posted: 9:03 pm on August 31st
MaryRay writes: Christine,
My yo-yo maker is a small. The yo-yos start out at 2 1/4 inches in diameter and end up 1 inch in diameter. The makers come in different sizes and different shapes, too.

With the yo-yo maker I have no trouble getting the edges smooth.
Posted: 10:17 am on August 22nd
sandycampsewing writes: I am also in love with yo-yos and have the yo-yo maker, which is a blessing! I have made my daughter-in-law a yo-yo belt and headband and most recently a purse, her girlfriends have asked if I could make them these also, what a compliment!
Posted: 10:10 pm on August 20th
Carolyninoz writes: I just recently bought a yoyo maker and find it so easy to make perfect little circles and now I have some new ideas of how to use them. Thank you for a great article.
Posted: 8:04 am on August 20th
iHanna writes: Never heared or clutching - oh what fun! Thanks for the tip! I've seen yoyo's around on the net but never tried those either. I think I need to try some! :-)

Great images in your tut!
Posted: 6:59 am on August 18th
ChristineDesigns writes: What size of yo-yo's are used in the picture? I've always made yo-yo's by hand. Thanks for showing me the Yo-Yo Maker! It looks like it might help speed up the process.
Posted: 12:45 pm on August 16th
SimplySis writes: This is absolutely stunning with its simplicity and great use of color. I make yo-yos while I am watching TV. I've had trouble getting my edges to be smooth and even. Do you have any hints??
Posted: 6:17 pm on August 9th
adornable writes: Excellent images and instructions. Thanks for introducing me to the Yoyo Maker!
Posted: 1:06 am on August 8th
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