How to Make a Yo-Yo Handbag

comments (15) October 17th, 2008     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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Yo-yos add such nice texture to this simple handbag silhouette.
You can mix a variety of colors and patterns in your yo-yos, or make them all from the same fabric.
The handbag is made of satin, which looks elegant peeking out between the cotton yo-yos.
Yo-yos add such nice texture to this simple handbag silhouette.

Yo-yos add such nice texture to this simple handbag silhouette.

Photo: Diane Gilleland
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This tutorial makes use of an existing handbag pattern, which was generously posted on the Liesl Made blog. Liesl graciously gave me permission to adapt it with yo-yos. Visit there for the steps to make the bag. Or, if you prefer a different design, you can add yo-yos to any handbag pattern you like.

What you'll need:

  • Cotton fabrics, assorted colors (for yo-yos)
  • Clover yo-yo maker (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Coordinating thread
  • 1/2 yard each inner and outer fabric (for handbag)
  • 1 yard cotton cording
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper


The Clover yo-yo maker is a great tool for making precise yo-yos.


First, of course, you'll need to make a lot of yo-yos! This design needed 74 of them, made in assorted fabrics. If you like to make your yo-yos by hand, check out Heather Bailey's definitive tutorial.

Or, you might try the Clover yo-yo maker, pictured above. This little wonder-device makes perfect yo-yos quickly and easily. Mary Ray has posted a nice glimpse into how they work here on CraftStylish. I used the large-size Clover maker for this project—it makes about 1-1/2-inch-diameter yo-yos.


Line up the yo-yos on top of the cut pieces of the handbag to determine how many you'll need.


Here's a simple way to determine visually how many yo-yos you'll need for your bag: Lay out the cut pieces and line up the yo-yos on them, placing them in the same configuration in which they'll be on the finished bag. Be sure to leave the seam allowance your pattern calls for around all edges. Make a few extra yo-yos in case you need them later.


Line up the yo-yos back-to-back.


Now it's time to sew your yo-yos together. Place two of them back-to-back, lining up all edges. Thread a needle with single thread, and tie a knot. Pass your needle through the top yo-yo only. (This hides the knot between the yo-yos.)

(A note on thread: I'm using contrasting thread for visibility. Be sure to use something that matches your fabrics.)


Use a tiny whipstitch to join the yo-yos.


Pull the thread through the top yo-yo, then pass the needle through both yo-yos, as shown. Repeat this step to join the yo-yos with a whipstitch.


Use only 5 or 6 stitches to join the yo-yos so you don't alter their shape.

Don't sew more than 5 or 6 stitches—you want the yo-yos to be joined together without altering their shape. A small joining point will keep them both nice and round.

Once you've chained a series of yo-yos together, you can begin to join rows. The key is to line up the yo-yos back-to-back before you sew them. This helps keep them lined up precisely so your finished work has a nice grid pattern.


Line up chains of yo-yos back-to-back to join them.

With the chains of yo-yos lined up, use 5 or 6 whipstitches to join each pair together.


A basic unit of yo-yos.

Here's a basic unit. Keep building on this until you have a panel of yo-yos for each piece of your handbag pattern. In this case, I've made two panels: one for the front and one for the back.

Then, sew your handbag according to your pattern instructions.


The finished yo-yo panel should be close to the same size as the finished bag.

If your handbag has a rounded or gathered shape, you may need to adjust your yo-yo panels a bit. Case in point: My yo-yos fit this finished bag nicely—the finished panel is very close to the same size as the side of the bag, which means it will fit snugly over the bag.


The top of this bag is gathered, which will require a little adjustment to the yo-yo panel.

However, the design calls for the top of the bag to be gathered a bit. That changes the configuration of the yo-yos.


Remove any yo-yos that stick out beyond the edge of the bag.

See how, with the top of the bag gathered, the top of the yo-yo panel is too wide? No worries—you can always remove a yo-yo or two with a seam ripper for a more precise fit.


Attach the top of the yo-yo panel to the top of the bag.

Whipstitch the top of each yo-yo panel to the top edge of the bag. Use more stitches here than you did when you were joining yo-yos—you want to secure the entire top edge of each yo-yo to the bag.


Join the yo-yos along the bottom edge of the bag.

Match up the yo-yos along the bottom seam of the bag and join them. Again, use more stitches than you did when you made the panels.

Next, join the yo-yos along the side seams.


This pair of yo-yos extends too far out from the side of the bag.

As you join the sides of the bag, watch the shape of your bag. Again, if your bag has a rounded shape, you may need to make adjustments. As I was joining the sides of this bag, I noticed that this yo-yo was sticking out a bit too much. So I removed it from the top panel.


Remove the yo-yo from the top panel and wrap the yo-yo from the bottom panel around the side seam.

This revealed the yo-yo in the same location on the bottom panel. I wrapped it around the bag and joined it to the front panel.


Bare spots may appear at corners.

Watch for bare spots in your bag, too. There was an empty space at the corners of my bag . . .


Add a yo-yo to cover the bare spot.

. . . So I stitched another yo-yo in place, joining it to all the yo-yos surrounding it. I added another pair of extra yo-yos at the tops of the sides of the bag, too, to cover bare spots there.

That's all there is to it. Enjoy your yo-yo bag!

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Comments (15)

happyquilter54 writes: i love the yo-yo purse toutorial & i printed it out so i would have it when i want to use it it is colorful ilove to give my friends hand made gifts too

Posted: 5:32 pm on December 1st
NancyWard writes: Wanted you to know I posted a link to this tutorial today.

Nancy Ward
PaperFriendly
http://www.nancywardcrafts.com
Posted: 10:49 am on July 29th
Mork_the_Dork writes: Where can I find the yo-yo maker, In my spare yo-yo sewing time I've found them kind of difficult for a beginner sewer like me. I saw your bag in the quick stuff to sew honorable mentions, I immediately fell in love with it and have been practicing my yo-yo skills. If you have any tips on how to center my yo-yos, they always come out crooked or off center. I would really appreciate it!
Posted: 7:27 pm on October 31st
Tracy230 writes: After years of resistance, the pattern idea has made me a yo-yo fan. How cute! I'll be off now to buy a Clover
yo-yo maker.
Posted: 5:10 pm on November 5th
RubyKitty writes: Great autumnal colours in the yo-yo bag, and it's such a striking pattern.
Posted: 5:41 pm on November 4th
Jrsjewels writes: Oh, this is so cute! I love things made with yoyos, I must make this! Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 7:45 am on November 2nd
CynRed writes: I found a pillow in an antique store which is another "faster" project for this technique. I also appreciate the details given. I'd like to try this as a scarf.

I can't remember what a Bermuda bag is and I'm in my 50's. Can someone enlighten me?

Thanks,
Cyn
Posted: 10:06 am on October 31st
Embbev writes: This could also be used on the (does anyone remember) the Bermuda bags of long ago. I was recently going through some things in my craft room and found the pattern I used to make covers for mine.

Yes I still have my bag.
Posted: 6:37 am on October 31st
craft_luv26 writes: THIS POCKETBOOK IS AN GREAT IDEA FOR ME TO MAKE WITH ALL THE SCRAPS THT I HAVE IN MY CRAFT ROOM AND TO BE TRUEFUL I LOVE TO CARRY BAGS THAT NO ONE ELSE MAY HAVE THAT I HANG OUT WITH. AND IF TEY LIKE WELL HEY THAT JUST MIGHT BE THIER NEXT GIFT THEY RECIVE ON THE BIRTHDAY OR OTHER SPECIAL TIMES THANKS SO MUCH I LOVE IT!!!!!
Posted: 6:14 pm on October 25th
craft_luv26 writes: THIS POCKETBOOK IS AN GREAT IDEA FOR ME TO MAKE WITH ALL THE SCRAPS THT I HAVE IN MY CRAFT ROOM AND TO BE TRUEFUL I LOVE TO CARRY BAGS THAT NO ONE ELSE MAY HAVE THAT I HANG OUT WITH. AND IF TEY LIKE WELL HEY THAT JUST MIGHT BE THIER NEXT GIFT THEY RECIVE ON THE BIRTHDAY OR OTHER SPECIAL TIMES THANKS SO MUCH I LOVE IT!!!!!
Posted: 6:05 pm on October 25th
granmoppet writes: I am SO impresed with the detail and clear instruction for this project!

Posted: 2:12 pm on October 21st
croqzine writes: This is a great tutorial and the final result is smashing!!
Posted: 10:51 am on October 18th
susanstars writes: completely awesome, Diane!
Posted: 5:02 pm on October 17th
Jen_W writes: This is beyond cute. Thanks Diane, for such a clear and inspiring tutorial.
Posted: 2:59 pm on October 17th
SewQueen1 writes: I think this bag is so cute, it's different and I like different.
Posted: 1:40 pm on October 17th
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