Isabela’s DIY leather coffee sleeves + a giveaway

Two leather coffee sleeves, photo

I am happy to present our next guest nester: my new friend Isabela! Her husband and I met at Sportivo Coffee Bar (which is now closed) in Redwood City, Calif. (I don’t drink coffee, but my friend owned the place, so I visited often.) Isabela makes these leather coffee sleeves, which she used to sell at Sportivo. I liked them so much that I asked her to do a tutorial for Crafty Nest. I was ecstatic when she agreed!

She used to sell these sleeves and other darling creations, including the two handmade cup cozies below, at her Etsy shop. Isabela writes: “Hello Crafty Nest friends! My name is Isabela from Ooh Leela! I have been an avid reader for quite some time, and I have always admired Monica and her creativity. I am so excited to be here today. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Monica!

Isabela's fabric coffee sleeves, photo

“I’m here to share a fun project with you: a leather coffee sleeve. It’s an earth-friendly alternative to the usual disposable cardboard sleeve. The leather stays cool and soft to the touch while keeping your beverage hot/cold. Every time I use mine in public, I get lots of compliments. This is a super easy and fast project—perfect for all skill levels.”

Isabela has offered to give away a leather coffee sleeve to one lucky Crafty Nest reader! Leave a comment to tell Isabela how much you love her coffee sleeves to be eligible to win. The deadline is in one week—Monday, July 4, 2011. Thanks, Isabela!

Update 7/8/11: The winner of Isabela’s leather coffee sleeve is comment number 17: Donna from The Epicurean Crafter, who just happens to be a San Francisco Bay Area resident as well. Congratulations, Donna! Your coffee sleeve is in the mail. Thank you to everyone who had such nice things to say about Isabela’s work.

How to make a leather coffee sleeve

Supplies and tools to make a leather coffee sleeve, photo
  • leather scraps in the colors of your choice — I am using tan and red

  • heavy-duty thread in coordinating color(s)

  • rotary cutter

  • leather sewing machine needles — I found mine here

  • a round object, approximately 2¼ inches in diameter

  • cardboard sleeve — the last one you will ever use — haha!

  • fabric pen or pencil

  • mini snaps

  • snap setter tools — like these

  • sewing machine

Trace the paper coffee sleeve, photo

1. Open up the cardboard sleeve at the point of which it is glued. Then, using a fabric pen or pencil, trace a template using the cardboard sleeve as a guide. Note: Before you use a fabric pen or pencil, test it on a scrap of leather to make sure it will come off.

Cut out the pattern, photo

2. Using your rotary cutter, cut along the lines you drew earlier.

Erase the pen/pencil marks, photo

3. If you used a fabric pen in step 1, and you still see traces of it after cutting your sleeve, use a paper towel and warm water to wipe off any unwanted marks. If you used a pencil, use an eraser and gently erase the pencil marks.

Trace and cut out the circle, photo

4. Now using the 2¼-inch round object, trace and cut out a circle. The diameter of the circle has to be the same size as the height of your sleeve (which in my case is 2¼ inches). I like to use contrasting colors.

Both cut leather shapes, photo

At this point your project should look like this.

Sew a border around the sleeave, photo

5. Using your sewing machine, stitch a border around the sleeve. Make sure you use a needle that is specifically made for sewing leather (see material list above). Also, you may want to practice on a scrap piece first to make sure your tension and stitch length are properly adjusted.

Sew a border around the circle, photo

6. Now repeat the last step, but this time with the circle.

Fold to determine placement of snap, photo

7. Use your cardboard sleeve (folded) to determine the right diameter (size) and the location where you should attach the snap. This is an important step, as you only get one chance. Take your time. As always, measure twice and cut once.

Tip: I position the circle so that it covers both ends of the sleeve. Make your first hole on the top flap, and then use that hole to determine the position of the second hole (bottom flap).

Attach the snap, photo

8. Using your snap tools (follow the manufacturer’s instructions), attach a snap.

Finished leather coffee sleeve, photo

Voila! A beautiful (and unique) coffee sleeve. Go to your local coffee shop, and show off your fabulous style. Wink, wink. If you have any questions, or if any of the steps are not clear, feel free to stop by my blog and click the “about me” link. There you will find my email address.

P.S. This tutorial is for personal use only. Thanks for understanding!

Crafty Nest leather coffee sleeves Pinterest image

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Made this project? Email your photo(s) to monica (at) craftynest (dot) com, and I’ll share your version here!