Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gifts on the Fly - Coffee Cozies

The countdown to Christmas is moving quickly. If you are anything like me, you think that you have about half of your gift making done, and you are only now starting to realize that this just isn't the case. Christmas break is coming even sooner than December 25th, which means that now is the time to start thinking of everyone on your extended list - people that you likely won't be seeing over the holidays. For me, this list includes teachers, soccer coaches, dance instructors, band teachers, etc. - I'm sure that you are getting my point here. What is one thing that all of these people enjoy? A hot bevvie, of course!
What is one of the easiest (and nicest) ways to show that you appreciate all their time and effort, you ask? Why, it's a coffee cozy that you can whip up in about an hour, which means that if you have one free day, you can do this assembly line style and get everyone on that extended list covered. Or, if you are like me, and don't know what a free day looks like, you can whip up one a day, until you have all that you need (and maybe a few extra, so you can grab one on the way out the door, when you suddenly remember that other person on your list!). Ready to get started? Great! But, before we do, I want you to head on down to your favourite coffee shop, and grab a cuppa; and don't forget to grab one of those cardboard sleeves, too, because that's the most important part of your supply list. Here's the rest of what you will need:

- two 5 inch wide strips of fabric, about 12 inches long, in co-ordinating colours
- optional: fabric scraps for applique motifs, and fusible web
- firm, fusible interfacing (I use Pellon Decor Bond), about 5 inches wide by 24 inches long
- thin cotton batting, craft felt, or craft fleece, about 5 inches wide by 12 inches long
- thread to match your fabric
- jersey snap (4 parts, no sew);  if you prefer, you can also use elastic about 1 1/2 long and one or two buttons (I'll explain both ways later)
- cardboard, card stock, or template plastic
- cardboard coffee sleeve from your favourite coffee shop (just in case you didn't read that part!)
- blunt object, for pushing corners out (I have a chopstick in my sewing kit just for this purpose)

Ready? Check your time, and let's get started!

First, you want to make a template; to do this, open your cardboard coffee sleeve, and place it on your template material (cardboard, card stock, or template plastic). I used card stock, to make sure that my measurements were correct - now that I have a great template, I can trace that onto template plastic to make something more permanent. To make your template, trace your coffee sleeve using dotted lines (this will be your stitching guide), then trace around it again using a solid line, about 1/4 inch larger than your dotted lines. Cut your template out on the solid line. You can see my template here:

Here, you can see my card stock template underneath my traced shape on the interfacing.

Using the picture above as a reference, fold your interfacing in half on the long edge; it should now measure 5 inches by 12 inches. Trace over your template and cut out; this will give you two mirror image pieces of interfacing. Place one piece over your template, and trace your stitching guidelines (the dotted lines on your template).

Now the fun begins - do you want to use funky fabric with lots of design built in, do you want to center a motif on your fabric, or do you want to applique motifs onto your cozy? This choice is entirely up to you - here are a couple of photos to give you ideas:

Here, I had the idea to use a butterfly motif centered on the cozy

And here, I used some applique

Whatever you choose to do, align your interfacing on the fabric and fuse into place on the wrong side of your fabric. If you don't have fusible interfacing, you can fuse your template to something like Wonder Under or Misty Fuse, then fuse that to the fabric. Cut out along the outside edges of your interfacing. Here is where you would applique any motifs onto your "front" fabric, if that's what you are choosing (Note: if you use jersey snaps instead of buttons, and don't applique, you will end up with a reversible cozy); also, you may choose to embroider onto one of your fabrics. Next, trace your template onto your batting of choice, and cut out along the solid line. When you are done, you should have two pieces of fabric that are fused to interfacing, and one piece of batting, like this:

From here, it's time to layer your pieces; first, place your two fabric pieces right sides together (interfacing will show on both sides). Next, place your fabric pieces on top of the batting; you will want the piece with the stitching guides on the top, like this:

If you are planning on using snaps, pin all three layers together, and sew along your stitching guidelines, leaving about 4 inches on one side open, for turning.

If, however, you prefer to use elastic and button(s), you would want to attach that before this step. In order to do that, fold your elastic piece in half, and place it on the "right" side of your fabric that has the interfacing with stitch guides. IMPORTANT: Make sure that your elastic loop is facing the middle of your coffee cozy, otherwise you will end up with a loop on the inside of the cozy - this would not be good. Stitch your elastic into place just outside of the stitching guide, going over it 3-4 times in order to secure it properly. Once that is done, layer your fabrics together, pin, then stitch, and remember to leave an opening for turning.

Before turning your cozy right side out, clip into the seams at the curved edges; this will help the fabric lay flat when you push the corners out. Alright, you're almost done!! Now, you just need to turn your cozy right side out, and use your blunt tool to push the corners out nicely. Next, you want to fold the open seam to the inside of your project, and iron it flat. After you iron your cozy, stitch all the way around the outer edge, using about a 1/8 inch seam.

Final step - attaching your hardware. If you chose to use elastic, place a button of your choice on the other side of your cozy, and make a mark where you need to sew it into place (use your coffee cup from your trip to the coffee shop today to measure this). Sew the button into place, and voila - you are ready to give your fab new gift to a very grateful recipient! In my example, I used two buttons - this is so that it can be rolled up and tucked into a purse - not a bad idea, but not necessary if you don't want to.

If you are using snaps, attach them according to the directions provided with your hardware, making sure that the snaps line up on either side. In my example, I used only one snap, but I may use two in future projects, for added security. Here's what mine looks like:

And here's what it looks like on my take out cup:

Now, I have a reversible cozy that travels with me in my purse - perfect for those days that I rush out the door, and forget my coffee mug!! I hope that you enjoyed this little tutorial, and I would love to see what you come up with. Happy Stitching!!


Cathy at PotterJotter said...

What a fun idea - would not mind one of these in my Christmas stocking! Was just looking at that quilt a few posts back - beautiful.

mtnquiltr said...

This is very cute! I'm going to make several and see how different I can make them!

Loralei said...

Hmmm, maybe I should make a few, and have a new year giveaway?? I'm using the one in the tute daily - it lives in my purse!!

Penny said...

Perfect giftie for these cold months ahead. I love them!

pasqueflower said...

What a great stocking stuffer! I have tons of scraps. Thank you!

Sheena said...

Is there a specific width I should be aiming for when choosing where to place the snaps?

Loralei said...

Hi Sheena,

Great question - I generally try for the middle of the cozy, as close to the stitching as possible. Enjoy!