Reasons to make a reusable coffee sleeve:
- It saves resources over disposable cardboard sleeves.
- You can personalize it.
- You can make a gift of it for someone to let them know you care.
Reasons to make this reusable coffee sleeve:
- It’s reversible.
- Unlike most coffee cozy patterns, you don’t need to add a button or elastic.
- It’s wider than most coffee sleeves, which gives you extra coverage for your hand.
I’m making reusable coffee sleeves –sometimes they’re called coffee cozies— for my daughters to take back to college and thought I’d share the pattern here on the blog along with a free pattern. For each of my daughters, one side of the sleeve has her name embroidered in Hebrew script –in the example above, Ashira Chava— and the other side is plain fabric. For your version, embroider whatever you like here, or skip the embroidery altogether.
This sleeve won’t fit all coffee cups. It’s designed to fit a Starbucks cup, and it works with the three other cups I tried it on, including the one in the photo above, but I can’t guarantee that it will fit all cups.
To protect your hand from hot coffee, the sleeve needs to be sufficiently thick. I used two layers of heavy-weight linen. If you use quilting fabrics or other light fabrics, add a layer of insulating material. (You can test the fabrics against a cup of coffee to see how they’ll work — and of course, be careful you don’t burn yourself.)
If you want the coffee cozy to be washable, wash the fabrics before you cut out the pattern.
Before we get into the instructions, I have to apologize for the quality of photos here. After the shortest Shabbat of the year I was determined to start the work week Saturday night and ended up taking the photos under a desk lamp with no natural light. Hopefully the details come through well enough for you to see. Feel free to post questions in the comment section.
- Two pieces of heavy-weight fabric, each at least 12″x 6″ (30.5cm x 15.2cm)
- Thread (I used two colors: One to match the fabrics for basting stitches and one in a contrasting color for topstitching)
- Water/air erasable fabric marker (or your favorite marking/transfer tool)
- Embroidery floss
- Embroidery needle, size 8-10
- Embroidery hoop (I used a 3.5″ x 5″ hoop)
Instructions for Reversible Coffee Sleeve
Print and cut out the Reversible Coffee Sleeve Pattern. Make sure the size gauge measures 1″ (2.54cm).
Cut one copy from each of your two fabrics.
Trace the oval onto the fabric that will be embroidered. Using a light board or holding the fabric and pattern up to a light source can help you see the lines to trace them. Alternatively, if your fabric is too heavy to see through, like this heavy linen, cut the oval from the pattern and trace around it on the fabric using the water/air erasable fabric pen.
Use the water/air erasable pen to write the name or other text to be embroidered. Here’s a model Hebrew script font from Wikipedia.
On both fabric pieces, sew a line of basting stitches 1/2” (12cm) from the bottom edge. For this step I used a gray thread that blends fairly well into the colors of both sides of the sleeve.
On each fabric piece, sew the narrow edges together, right sides together. (For this step I switched to a brown thread, which I prefer for the topstitching in a later step.) Trim the seam allowance on one of the pieces. Press the seam allowances open.
Turn one of the fabric pieces right side out. Place one piece inside the other so that the right sides of the fabrics face each other and the side seams align. Pin the sides together along the top edge. (The top is the edge with the larger circumference.)
Sew along the entire top edge, making sure the seam allowances for the side seams lie flat.
Trim the seam allowance to ¼” (6mm). Clip the top corners of the side seam allowances and clip along the top edge at about 8 points, being careful to avoid cutting the thread of the seam.
Turn the sleeve right side out and open it up all the way to the top seam. Press and pin along the top edge.
Turn the bottom edges of both fabric pieces to the wrong side along the basting stitches and press. Pin the front and back pieces together along the bottom edge.
Topstitch along the top and bottom edges of the sleeve 1/8” (3mm) from the edges.
For the bottom edge, I found it easier to sew from the inside of the sleeve.
Press the sleeve, taking care not to iron directly on top of the embroidery stitches.
Safety first: If you didn’t test the fabrics against a cup of coffee before making your coffee cup sleeve, be careful the first time you use the finished sleeve with a cup of coffee until you’re confident it will insulate your hand from the heat.
Maria Bywater is the author of Sew Jewish: The 18 Projects You Need for Jewish Holidays, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations, and Home. She teaches hands-on Judaica sewing workshops.