Learn two great ways to make yo-yos for this sweet little accent pillow.
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Designer: Lesley Mehmen


  • 40--5" squares assorted prints (yo-yos, pillow back)
  • 1⁄3 yard muslin (pillow top, lining)
  • 2--9- 1⁄2" squares batting
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Clover Quick Yo‑Yo Maker, size large (optional)

Finished pillow: 9" square

Quantities are for 44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics. Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" above for Circle Pattern.

From assorted prints, cut:

  • 36 of Circle Pattern (If using Yo-Yo Maker, see directions for cutting under Assemble Yo-Yos: Method 2)

From muslin, cut:

  • 3--9-1⁄2" squares

Assemble Yo-Yos: Method 1

Thread a needle with matching or neutral thread and tie a knot about 6" from end. With an assorted print circle facedown, turn raw edge of circle a scant 1⁄4" toward circle center. Take small, evenly spaced running stitches (Running Stitch Diagram) near the folded edge to secure it (Photo 1). End stitching next to the starting point. Do not cut thread. Gently pull thread ends to gather folded edge until it forms a gathered circle (Photo 2). Knot and trim thread to make a yo-yo. Repeat to make 36 yo-yos total.


Assemble Yo-Yos: Method 2

1.    Layer the Yo-Yo Maker disk (Photo 3), right side up, atop wrong side of an assorted print 5" square. (The disk's right side is the side with printing.) Insert disk and print square into plate, aligning disk lines with protrusions on plate. Press firmly to secure disk, fabric, and plate together (Photo 4).


2.    Leaving about 3⁄16" from edge of plate for seam allowance, cut away excess fabric (Photo 5).


3.    Thread a short needle with matching thread, and tie a knot about 6" from end. Fold seam allowance in toward disk center and hold in place. Insert needle into concave part of disk beneath seam allowance and pull out through hole in plate (Photo 6).


4.    With plate side up, continue to hold seam allowance down and work counterclockwise, pushing needle down through next hole, then up through following hole. Repeat to make running stitches around circle, going one hole beyond starting point and pulling needle out through disk side (Photo 7).


5.    Remove disk from plate. Gently lift seam allowance and remove disk from fabric circle. Pull thread ends to gather circle into a yo-yo; knot thread ends and trim.

6.    Repeat steps 1–5 to make 36 yo-yos total.

Assemble Pillow Cover

1.    Referring to Pillow Back Assembly Diagram, join remaining four assorted print 5" squares in pairs. Press seams in opposite directions. Join pairs to make pillow back. Press seams in one direction. The pillow back should be 9-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.


2.    Layer pillow back, a batting 9-1⁄2" square, and a muslin 9-1⁄2" square; baste. Quilt as desired. Lesley machine-quilted the pillow back in a 1" diagonal grid. In the same manner, layer and quilt remaining two muslin squares and batting square to make quilted pillow top.

3.    With right sides together, sew quilted pillow top to quilted pillow back to make pillow cover, leaving a 3" opening along one edge for turning. Turn pillow cover right side out. Stuff with fiberfill through opening. Whipstitch opening closed.

Finish Pillow

1.    Lay out yo-yos in six rows. When pleased with the arrangement, place yo-yos with gathered fronts together and whipstitch to join, stitching about 1⁄2" (Photo 8). Join rows in same manner to make yo-yo square.


2.    Referring to photograph, center and pin yo-yo square to quilted pillow top. Whipstitch outer edges of yo-yo square to pillow top seam lines to complete pillow.