Make a Fabric Yo Yo or Suffolk Puff

Never made a fabric Yo Yo before? Well let me tell you, nothing could be simpler. These adorable little fabric puffs have been adorning quilts and all manner of sewing projects for 100’s of years. Yo Yo’s gained popularity in the USA for quilting projects in the 1930’s. They’re also known as Suffolk Puffs (and believed to have originated in Suffolk, England in the 1600’s). But they’re also referred to as Yorkshire daisies (also UK) and fuxico in Brazil. No matter what you call them, they’ve always been a popular way to use up fabric scraps. And I just love to make them!

Being completely hand stitched, they’re a practical and portable project. You can make them in any size you wish and use them however you want. I love to make pretty hair accessories with them. You can use them on all sorts of projects. I even added some to this pin cushion tutorial. Learn how to sew it HERE.

Looking for more inspiration? My Yo Yo Pinterest Board has lots of ideas too!

So here’s some simple, step-by-step instructions to sew your own yo yo’s.

I’ve used gorgeous Liberty tana lawn for mine, but you can really use any fabric. Experiment with different prints and fabrics or even lace. You can get some beautiful results! And once you’ve stitched one yo yo, I promise you won’t be able to stop. They’re just so easy, and so cute!

Gorgeous yo yos by Molly and Mama - a simple tutorial


 – ironed fabric scraps

– a circle template or circular object to trace around

– water soluble or erasable marker

– scissors

– needle and thread


If you’re making more than one yo yo for a project, and you’d like them all to be the same size, it’s useful to create yourself a template. Trace a circle onto cardboard or template plastic. I tend to use a 5 inch circle which creates a yoyo around 2 inches across. Use a compass to get a perfect circle shape. Alternatively, you can use an object from around the house. I like side plates, jar lids and CD’s, but anything with the right diameter will do. Cut out your template and label it for future use.

Trace around your template or object using your marker or pen, onto the wrong side of your chosen fabric. 

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

Carefully cut out your fabric circle and give it a quick press with the iron if you haven’t already done so.

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

Now we’re set to get stitching. Double thread an embroidery needle with sewing thread, and tie a knot in the end. Make sure you have enough thread to stitch the circumference of the circle.

I begin by folding over a scant hem and sewing a running stitch around the outside of the circle. Start stitching on the right side of the fabric so that the knot shows (we’ll hide it later).

If your stitches are close together, you’ll create a larger ‘opening’ at the centre of the yo yo. I like wider stitches that close the gap in the centre instead.

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

I find it quicker to ‘load up’ your needle with a number of stitches at once. It is also easier to check that your stitches are the same size. Then you can pull your thread through and continue sewing.

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

When you have completed ‘hemming the circle’, ensure that your last stitch exits on the right side of the fabric. This will make for a neater finish when you finish your yo yo.

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

Gently pull your cotton to gather up the stitches into a little puff.

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

Flatten the puff and then shape the yo yo with your fingers, helping the ‘pleats’ to be evenly spaced. Ensure the knot is hidden in the pleats. When you’re happy with the shape, use a few extra stitches to secure your yo yo.

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

One way to quickly complete your yo yo is to tie the ‘knot’ end of your thread to the ‘needle’ end and trim the knot once secure. I like to use invisible stitches and stitch through the pleats to ensure my sewing is secure instead.

Remember to trim off extra thread and keep any threads hidden inside the yo yo. Your completed yo yo is ready for use!

Make a fabric YoYo with Molly and Mama

I’ve used this kind of yo yo to create a hair clip by attaching a pretty crochet flower to the front, and a ribbon covered clip to the back. You can follow my tutorial for this project HERE.

(Thanks to MiaMia Photography for the gorgeous baby guinea pig photos!)

Thanks for being here for another Molly and Mama tutorial. You can find more projects for beginners HERE. Sign up via email so you don’t miss a thing! Use the tabs in the right side bar.

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What projects will you be making with yo yo’s? Happy stitching, Lauren x

This post was written by Lauren Wright for Molly and Mama

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  2. Love Yoyos .. Use as emblellishments on quilts and tea towels. I have a yoyo quilt that was made by my Grandma which consists of approximately 1400 yoyos… all made from the scraps of sewing for her 6 daughters MANY years ago. My treasure!

  3. To complete the yo-yo, you say to “tie the ‘knot’ end of your cotton to the ‘needle’ end and trim the knot once secure.” I don’t understand what that means.

    1. Thanks for your question Rebecca. As an alternative to securing the yo yo with backstitches, some people like to tie the sewing cotton ends together instead. You can leave a long tail when you tie the knot in the end of your cotton before you start stitching. When you stitch around the circle you’ll come back to your cotton knot. After gathering your yo yo, you could tie your cotton to the tail you created and make a new knot that will hold all your stitches together. Does that make more sense? If not, let me know and I’ll post a photo for you. Cheers! 🙂

  4. This is a terrific tutorial on yo-yos … thank you so much for sharing it. I really like some of the ways you’ve used yo-yos and you’ve given me some good ideas. ^^

  5. I always thought small close stitches were best to create a closed look, now I know why mine never closed! Thanks a zillion!

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  7. Never guess what I made with my yo yo’….A King size quilt!
    Yes I cut out over 1,300 yo yo ‘s and then appliqué them onto the
    frantic. I’m now about to start appliqueing my second King size
    quilt that no two yo yo’s are a like. I love making them. I also enjoy
    hand appliquéing

  8. Love Suffolk Puffs, they’ve been going way longer than the 1930s, alway the way back to the 1600s, in Suffolk (England) hence the name!

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