The Yo-Yo Scarf

I’d built up a nice little bag full of fabric yo-yos since I started making them back in May and found a little inspiration in them to make this scarf for my Christmas gift stash. Even with having the yo yos ready to go, it still required a lot of hand sewing to finish the scarf, so this is definitely not a last-minute gift idea. If you’ve got the time to sit and stitch, though, you’ll be happy with the results.

I decided to use a white woven cotton for the top (backing the yo yos) of the scarf and a white flannel for the underside. I lined up my yo yos (made with the large Clover yo-yo maker) on my cutting mat to figure out the dimensions and decided to make a scarf wide enough to accommodate four yo yos (about 7 inches). And then, because I’m mathematically challenged, I used a multiple of seven for the length (48 inches). I’ll be honest: I think it’s a little too short but YMMV.

Based on my measurements, cut a strip of fabric and a strip of flannel, each measure 7.5 inches by 48.5 inches. Place them right sides together and sew around all four sides, leaving about a four-inch gap on one long side for turning the scarf right side out. Clip the four corners (be careful not to nick your stitches) and turn righ side out through the gap. Carefully poke out all the corners with a turning tool, chopstick or favorite blunt, narrow object. Press, making sure the unstitched edges of the gap are enclosed in the seam. Slipstitch the opening closed or use your sewing maching to stitch close to the edge of the scarf to close the gap (the top is going to be covered in yo yos and no one’s really going to notice).

Arrange your yo yos in a visually pleasing configuration on top of the scarf. When you have them set in the pattern you’d like, use a hand sewing needle and thread to sew together your yo yos. Make a little yo-yo sandwich, with the gathered centers of the yo yos touching. Make a few stitches on the top edges, picking up just enough of each edge of the two yo yos to connect them. You’re not trying to sew them so that the yo yo edges overlap but that the stitches form a hinge that will let the yo yos lay next to each other. Tie off the thread and snip, then repeat with the next two yo yos in the row so you have a chain of four connected yo yos. Repeat with each row of yo yos.

When you’ve finished with the yo-yo foursomes, it’s time to connect each chain. Match two yo-yo chains, right sides together, and stitch hinges on each pair. When you open them up, they should be like a little, skinny book. Repeat with each chain. I found it easiest to work in sets of four, connecting four chains, then going back and connecting the four-by-four panels, repeating until the scarf was fully assembled.

Lay the connected yo yos on top of the fabric scarf (woven side up) and match the edges of the yo yos to each short edge of the scarf. Pin, making sure the yo yos on the corners touch both sides of the corners. Work your way down each long edge of the scarf, adding a pin about every four or five yo yos to secure them to the scarf.

Using the hand needle and thread, carefully make a few stitches on the outside edge of each yo yo, sewing through the top layer of fabric, to secure them to the scarf. I watched a movie while I did this, because it’s a LOT of hand sewing. (The tip of my finger is still a little sore!) And there you have it: your very own yo-yo scarf!

The Inside Scoop

When I was first learning to sew, I’d often remark, “It’s a good thing no one can see the inside!” I’ve heard the same comment from others who are new to the hobby, and I always try to reassure them that it will change and some day the insides of what they sew won’t have to be hidden.

I finished this jacket today and have to say that I’m particularly pleased with the insides. While I always turn a garment inside out during and after sewing, this is the first time I think I’ve ever photographed the results. (I’m not sure if the person to whom this jacket has been sent reads my blog but she has a great sense of humor and I think she’ll laugh to see it inside out and hanging from a tree.)

The pattern is a modified version of Butterick 5187. I combined a couple of the views so the jacket would look more like a smaller one I’ve sewn, right down to the binding on the sleeves. This particular jacket has gone a step further with the addition of welt pockets with flaps (which is a post for another day).

What makes this jacket special in my eyes is the amount of hand sewing involved. I’ll be the first to admit that I avoid hand sewing whenever I can. I’m kind of an immediate gratification sort of girl; I equate hand sewing with “labor intensive” and “time consuming.” Seriously, who has time for that?

Let me tell ya: sometimes it is worth it. This jacket would be lovely no matter what but I really think the hand sewing — the facings, hem, bindings — elevate it in the construction department. Yes, I could have finished the jacket two hours faster but it wouldn’t be quite the same.