Sew Cute: Colorful Coffee Sleeve

I’m one of those people who can’t function or be reliably polite without their morning coffee. It doesn’t have to be fancy—although I do love the occasional vanilla latte—just plain ol’ joe. I used to think that was a stereotype, and maybe it still is, but boy, does it prove true for me. As a result, I’m also one of those people who have multiple shiny nice travel mugs that they forget at home almost every morning. And that always presents a dilemma to me: I love getting coffee from the cute little cafe around the corner, but I don’t love throwing away all of those disposable cups.

A reusable coffee sleeve is a small way to have your coffee and drink it too, so to speak. It’s a fabric version of the little paper or cardboard doohickey you slip around the cup to keep your hands from getting toasted. I’ve owned a few of these myself, and am a big fan. So I set out to make one myself, using some fun fabric and felt for insulation. Plus, the elastic provides a little bit of stretch, so the sleeve can fit almost any type of cup. Pretty nifty, huh? Besides being prettier and greener than the cardboard kind, my sleeve has the extra bonus of being forget-proof—I can just slip it in my purse and go!


  • Small piece of colorful fabric (I used a quilting quarter)
  • Felt in any color you’d like
  • Narrow elastic
  • Piece of paper
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Thread in a corresponding color to the fabric
  • Basic sewing needle
  • Iron and ironing board

Craft away:

  • To make a template for your coffee sleeve, first fold the piece of paper in half hamburger style (short end to short end). On the edge of the fold, draw a slightly rounded rectangle, five inches long on one side, four inches long on the other, and three inches across. Cut out the template and unfold it.
  • Pin the template to the wrong side of the fabric. Trace an extra half-inch around the edges of the template, then cut out the piece.
  • Pin the template to the felt, and cut out the piece (you don’t need to add an extra half-inch to it).
  • Fold the extra half-inch of fabric into the wrong side of the fabric, iron it to hold the fold in place, and pin it down. Pro tip: you can clip inside the corners of the fabric to make the edges easier to fold in.
  • Cut a couple feet of thread and fold it in half, then thread the needle and tie a knot.
  • Using a simple in-and-out motion, hand-stitch the fold of the fabric down. Pass the needle under the thread of your last stitch to knot your work in place.
  • Pin the felt to the wrong side of the fabric piece.
  • Hand-stitch the felt to the fabric, keeping your stitches as small as possible. Remember to knot your work at the end of your row of stitches!
  • Cut two one-inch pieces of elastic. Pin them side-by-side on top of the felt on one of the edges of the cozy, then sew them in place.
  • Wrap the sleeve around so the edges are almost touching. Stitch the other sides of the elastic pieces to the other edge of the sleeve.
  • You’re finished! Now you can hold all of your toasty drinks in comfort and cozy style.

P.S. Recognize that coaster? It’s a project I posted a few weeks ago!