DIY reusable coffee sleeves

December 26, 2011

This post could also be called “things that seem simple but should only be made for people you really, really, really like.”

I have an awesome reusable coffee sleeve from Etsy, and I’m complimented on it almost every time I’m at a coffee shop — by the barista, by other customers, by friends and clients I’m meeting for coffee. It lives in my wallet so it’s always with me. Earlier this month, I noticed that Starbucks even started selling cheaper, mass-produced-looking reusable sleeves.

Originally, I wanted to purchase sleeves en masse for my friends and family for Christmas, but I quickly realized that wasn’t financially viable. Instead, I aspired to DIY a fun-but-somewhat-less-cool version instead.

I researched industrial felt for a few weeks and finally ordered some online. I couldn’t bear to disassemble my reusable sleeve, so I stole a couple of paper ones from Starbucks instead and used them as a base to create my template.

And then there was the trimming. Even with such a simple design, the trimming was almost the end of me. There’s a reason people use laser trimmers for these things. I finally just had to come to terms with the imperfection — that me and my x-acto were never going to garner perfect results. And I had to trim them in batches, for my hand’s sake.

Last, there was sewing. Closed loops can be challenging even when they’re larger and made from more cooperative, accommodating fabrics. These little loops don’t fit around the bottom plate of my sewing machine, and 3mm felt doesn’t particularly like to bend. After playing with the machine setting, thread tension and positioning for about an hour, I had a workable solution — and then I had a couple dozen of these sweet little sleeves.

I packaged them in bakery bags and small boxes, tied with white yarn and millinery berries. The leftover felt made great 3.5″ square coasters, bundled into sets of six and slipped into stockings.

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  1. Thanks so much Allie! That was such a fun and sweet surprise to get in the mail! Very thoughtful indeed.

  2. Simple, but made for those you really really like!
    Thanks Allie!!!!!
    It was probably my favorite thing I’ve gotten in the mail in a long time!

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