Homemade Holidays: Reusable ‘Java Jackets’

December 11th, 2009 - filed under: The Farm » Home


Cute, right? These little goodies make the perfect green gift for your favorite eco-conscious pal. Not everybody manages to keep a ceramic cup on hand at all times – but anyone could easily slip this small piece into a purse or pocket. Portable, practical, and of course super-stylish! And best of all, made by YOU. How could a gift get any better?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old men’s collared shirt (long sleeved)
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Elastic
  • Embellishments (optional)

For the sake of these photos I made this example entirely by hand, to show how it can be done. But I’m totally machine-spoiled, so my hand sewing skills suck! Sorry ’bout that.

To make the body of the java jacket, you’ll be using the wrist band of the shirt. So first things first, cut it off!


This is what you’ll end up with:


Clean it up by removing those ugly buttons. A seam ripper works best for this, but scissors will do in a pinch.


Next you’ll need to finish up that frayed edge. I used red thread so you could see my work, but you can use white if you want to hide it, or whatever color suits your fancy.


Continue until you’ve secured the entire jagged edge, like so:


Now you’ll want to cut a length of elastic. The wide-band type works best here. Cut a piece about 2 inches thick, slightly tapered.


Pin the elastic into the cuff. It helps here if you have a standard 16-oz ‘to go’ cup to measure on, to make sure you get the circumference correct.


Sew the elastic into place. Since I was using red thread and going for a decorative look, I kept it going around the entire perimeter. But this wasn’t necessary, function-wise.


And guess what? That’s it! All that’s left is to decorate as you see fit. I kept this one simple . . .


And the other one extra fancy!


The possibilities are pretty much endless. And I’m dying to see what you guys come up with! These are so fun to make and super customizable, I really think they’re the perfect gift. And bonus – they make adorable, wearable wrist cuffs!


Happy Holidays!


  • http://www.city-vegan.blogspot.com Crystal

    Cute idea! I’m now wishing that I didn’t just donate all of my husbands ugly dress shirts!

  • http://adorable-damage.com/ Anastasia

    Those are too cute! I would love one as a gift, so I know my friends would too. I think it’s time to bust out the ol’ sewing machine. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Tabitha

    Those are fabulous! I want to make one for me!

  • Tenise Rae

    WORD!!! This is so coincidental you posted this. I was JUST looking at these on Etsy yesterday. Except the only difference was that the ones I was finding were made out of sweaters….or they were felted. They were so adorable and I just love the fact that you can wear it on your way to the coffee shop/stand. So kick ass! I really want to make some. I have so many fraggin’ buttons man….I could make some seriously cute “Java Jackets.” Hehehe. :D Thanks for posting.

  • Laura

    Oh I should make myself one of these girlie ones, I love them.
    The one I made a couple of months ago looks like this: http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/ff32/lauralinnap/Kr2pp/not_a_paper_cup-1.jpg
    My tea is now warm for longer and it looks really awesome :)

  • Katie

    Very cool and really really cute :)

  • http://kpapoulias.blogspot.com/ Kathryn

    My best friend felts coffee jackets and sells them at the cafe where she works. They’re adorable!
    When mine becomes too frayed and worn, I’ll definitely try this out. So cute.

  • http://indiearsenal.com Farmingtheburbs

    *high five*

  • http://www.creativeanomalie.com sarah

    I am so making these for xmas gifts!!!

    @ Laura – that is freaking AWESOME! Did you use an elastic band like Sayward did or is it straight fabric? It looks like canvas, which is what I was considering using, but wondered how that would work with little/no give.

  • Laura

    @ sarah – Thank you! I used velcro but as I use it with my ‘not a paper cup’ (a ceramic cup, that looks like a paper cup) it doesn’t have to have any give.
    You could use an elastic band or I think one or more buttons with an elastic loop thingy. Something like this but with maybe two rows of buttons (depending on how different your cups are):

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Crystal – Thanks! And oh no, sorry I was too late for ya!

    @ Anastasia – Yay for busting out the sewing machine. Homemade gifts are the best. =)

    @ Tabitha – Totally! The idea for this project was totally selfish – I needed one for myself!

    @ Tenise Rae – Yeah it’s funny I’ve had this idea forever and I just finally got around to *doing* it – and within a few days I’ve started seeing them everywhere. Not that I’m complaining – the more ‘green’ solutions around, the better I say! Sweater sleeves is a great idea as well. Good luck with the project!

    @ Laura – That is AWESOME! So beautiful, well done Lady!

    @ Katie – Thanks!

    @ Kathryn – Glad to hear that reusable jackets are catching on! Hope your friend sells a lot of them. =)

    @ Farmingtheburbs – Woo-hoo! =D

    @ sarah – Awesome, good luck!

  • Sleepy bird

    If you’re not so craft a sweatband like one might wear to work out in works really well. just slip it right on. Also a simple version of the craft. take an old sweatshirt cut off the cuff, take some yarn or thread and sew up as directed above. not as elegant or cute but really simple.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Sleepy Bird – Yeah that seems like a great simple alternative. Thanks for the tip! =)

  • http://onetworedblue.livejournal.com/ Mae

    What a wonderful idea! Just the other day I was just thinking about how many of those must get thrown away daily by coffee and tea consumers (myself included…I have too many guilty habits). I absolutely LOVE this idea, and I’ll have to try it out sometime!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Mae – Yay, good luck with the crafting! =)

  • SJ

    I work in a coffee shop… wow this is so cool I’m sad I’ve been out of touch for a few weeks, I think I’m goon start making these and just stock up on them for next Christmas! I have to make myself one though!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ SJ – If you’re successful at it, you could sell them where you work. Hopefully it catches on!

  • http://thevegetablecentrickitchen.com/ Rande McDaniel


  • http://twitter.com/felicitates felicitates

    Oh these are incredibly cute! If only I was able to sew, I’m simply the worst at it!