Fabric Yoyo Lion Toy Pattern

Fabric yoyo lion

Fabric yoyo lion

My fabric yoyo lion is a sweetie.  I had seen fabric yoyo toys before now without ever working out just how they are made.  In fact it’s very easy to make them.  It took me a bit longer to make than I had anticipated, but it certainly wasn’t difficult.

I used three different fabrics all within a lion range:  brown,yellow, light brown, and I used two different sizes of yoyo.  I should probably have used a greater range of sizes but I was trying to keep it simple.  The circles that I used were 6.1/2″ and 4.1/2″ diameter and I think that it would have become too fiddly if I had tried to use smaller circle sizes.

You can buy the kit for this project at this week’s special offer.




Cutting requirements for the fabric yoyo lion

6.1/2″ circles:  six each in three different colours (eighteen in total)

4.1/2″ circles:  sixteen each in two of the colours and eight in the third colour (forty in total).  In addition you will need two more circles for the lion head.

Thin elastic (I used 1/4″):  about 1 yard.

Cut the circles

Cut the circles

Make the fabric yoyos

For the templates I just chose kitchen crockery that was roughly the right size.  Draw around them to make a paper template and then cut out the required quantity in each fabric that’s eighteen 6.1/2″ circles and forty 4.1/2″ circles.

Stitch around the edge

Stitch around the edge

Adjust your sewing machine to give the longest possible stitch length and sew round the edge of each circle.  Try to keep to about 1/4″ from the edge of the circle.  That really just means taking it nice and slowly and lifting the presser foot often in order to straighten out the fabric.  Leave a good 6″ thread at the beginning and end of the seams.

Pull the threads to gather the edge

Pull the threads to gather the edge

The seam will begin to gather as you are sewing the circle edges.  Now take the outer two threads and pull gently to continue the gathering.  Ease the gathering so that it is even all the way round.  Continue until the gathering is quite tight.  Tie the ends of the thread to hold the gathering in place.  I try to use a triple knot just to be safe.

Flatten the centre with fingers only – don’t iron the yoyo.  It should now look like the shape in the top right of the photo.  Keep going with all the circles, keeping the two sizes separate from each other.

Make the body for the fabric yoyo lion

Make the central holes

Make the central holes

Use the larger yoyos for the body.  Thread the end of the elastic on to a hair grip or a thick needle.  Begin to make the central hole in each yoyo.  For this I use a large needle, a very large needle and then a knitting needle.

Use a knitting needle

Use a knitting needle

You can judge the middle of the yoyo quite easily.  You want the needles to go through one layer of fabric only, so the needle needs to pass through the hole at the centre of the gathering on the back.  Push through the first needle and move it back and forth to create a small hole.  Then push through the next size needle to enlarge the hole.  Finally push through the knitting needle to enlarge the hole enough for the elastic to be threaded through it.

Body and tail section

Body and tail section

Now you can thread the elastic through the hole and push the yoyo up next to the others on the elastic.   Add all eighteen large yoyos in this way.  The first ones should be threaded with the smooth side on the left.  The final one should be threaded with the smooth side on the right so that you have a smooth end at each end.

Select eight of the smaller yoyos to use for the tail and add these to the elastic immediately after the larger ones which form the body.  Measure the length of this body and tail section.  Add 1.1/2″ at each end for fastening and cut the elastic to length.

Sew elastic loops

Sew elastic loops

Finish the elastic ends

My first instinct would have been to tie a knot in the elastic ends to secure them.  However this is not the best method as the knot could be pulled through the fabric, enlarging the hole and causing the whole thing to disintegrate.

Instead, fold the end of the elastic over to form a loop and sew in place.  This is shown on the left hand end in the photo.  Then flatten the loop by pressing down the middle to give a section of elastic on either side of the middle.  Sew this in place to form a bar of elastic as shown on the right hand end in the photo.  This provides a larger surface area which is unlikely to pull through the fabric.

One pair of legs

One pair of legs

Make the fabric yoyo lion legs

The legs are made in a similar fashion but they are made in pairs with a length of elastic between each pair of legs.  Divide the remaining yoyos into four piles of varying colours.  Thread eight on to the elastic then leave a gap of 2″ of elastic and add another eight yoyos.  Make sure that each leg has a smooth yoyo side at each end.

Cut the elastic and finish each end in the same way as above for the body.  Make another pair of legs using the remaining yoyos.

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Join the body and legs

Fold up the first yoyo of the body so that you can work on the second yoyo.  Sew the elastic between two legs across  the bottom of this second yoyo.  This joins the first pair of legs to the body.

Now fold up the last yoyo of the body – the one before the smaller yoyos of the tail.  Sew the second pair of legs to the second to last body yoyo.

Use a small amount of stuffing

Use a small amount of stuffing

Make the lion head

For the head cut two more 4.1/2″ circles from scraps.  With right sides together sew around the edge, leaving a gap of about 2″ to turn the head right side out.  Clip into the seam and turn right side out through the gap.  Add a small amount of toy stuffing through the gap – just enough to make the head softly rounded.  Slipstitch across the gap to close it.

Add facial features

Add facial features

I had planned to embroider the facial features but I ran out of time so I have just marked the head using felt tip for now.  I had also planned to make two ears and sew them to the head.

Sew the back of the head to the first yoyo of the body.  From scraps cut five small rectangles or circles and use them to cover the elastic ends on the legs and the tail.

That completes the fabric yoyo lion toy.  How could I have improved it?  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I think that I would have used a bigger contrast in the sizes of the yoyos if I was making this again – and I would have allowed myself more time so that I could embroider the head!

Here’s the video:

Globe Theatre

Globe Theatre

Last week I mentioned that I was going to London.  I saw The Play That Went Wrong at the Duchess Theatre.  It was very funny and we had a lovely evening.  The next morning we all met up for brunch at a restaurant just beside the Thames before moving on to a wine tasting festival.

On the way there I passed the wonderful Globe Theatre.  This amazing round theatre was built to re create a theatre where  Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.  The whole project was masterminded by Sam Wanamaker so we have a lot to thank him for.

Golden Hind

Golden Hind

Further along the riverside walk I came across the Golden Hinde.  This is a re construction of the galleon used by Sir Francis Drake in the sixteenth century to circumnavigate the world.  It is a fully working ship.  You can just see the figurehead of a golden hind (female deer) at the front of the ship.

What a fascinating city London is.  So much to explore!