Friday, May 21, 2010

The manly java jacket

I knew that calling it a "cup cozy" would not work with the word "manly" also in the title.

I craft almost every gift I give and that includes trying to figure what to make a guy (if you want to read my poetical woes on that count, go here). Is it just me, or is it really hard to make stuff for men? Besides food I mean. The men I know like cars, engines, mud, tires, chrome, trucks, and things that go vroom-vroom!

They also like coffee, maybe because it makes them feel like they go vroom-vroom! as well. To combine those elements I devised a plan to make a java jacket that looked like a muddy tire tread.

First you'll need a cardboard cup cozy or a pattern for one. I *had* to get myself a latte in order to get mine. Ah darn.

Placing it over brown felt, I traced it twice using a black Sharpie. One piece will be for the front, the other for the backing.

To make the tread pattern I studied a bunch of tire tread photos and decided this is the basic idea. If you draw a mountain/pointy tooth line as long as your felt needs to be, you only have to cut once down the middle and then a second time on the other edge, therefore making two pieces with only two cuts. Clear as mud?

If you line up your pattern close enough to the edge of the felt you only have to make two cuts instead of the three I show in my really sophisticated drawing done with MS Paint.

Once you have the outside frame, cut a strip of black felt approximately 3/8 of an inch wide and snip it off in 5/8 of an inch long pieces. I ended up needing 25 of these pieces. These will make up the center of the tread and should be laid out in a spaced out herringbone brick sort of pattern.

Like the above super sophisticated drawing done with MS Paint, not like the spaced out brick below.

Using felt glue to hold the pieces in place until they can be stitched, lay out the pattern like so.
Because mine wasn't exactly measured I had to do a little trimming and wiggling around to get everything to fit.

Once everything was glued and dried I used embroidery floss that I divided in half (three strands instead of the full six) and stitched each rectangle and peak in the pattern shown below with the white dots. It's a lot of stitching, but this is for a man and I haven't known one who doesn't manage to tear up their things with regular use.

Not exactly pretty but you can see how sturdy I wanted to make it. It won't matter as it'll be covered up with backing anyway.

For a fabric java jacket you usually need a button and loop closure or Velcro. Since the cup size is likely to change, I went with button and loop - making the loop out of an old elastic hair band to allow for adjustability.

Using my felt glue and some clothespins I placed the end well inside to make sure it won't accidentally pop out when in use. When it is dry, apply several stitches around it (hiding them in the black felt on the front).

Next, sew on your button of choice and make sure it is sewn on very well. I placed mine about 2 and 3/4 inches inside the edge - this will keep it taut on smaller cups but still allows for adjustability to larger cups as well.

Once the elastic and button are stitched you are ready for the backing to go on. This is going to hide all your stitches and add an extra insulating layer.

I cut my backing 1/4 of an inch shorter than the front piece, applied felt glue and stretched it out and held it in place with clothespins while drying. Cutting it slightly shorter and stretching it should prevent rippling in the felt when it folds around the cup.

I then used my divided embroidery floss to blanket stitch the back and front pieces together.

And there you have it - a manly java jacket combining two of man's most beloved things: coffee and muddy tires. :)

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Megan said...

Awesome! I can think of so many guys who would love this. I'll have to make one for Jon sometime this summer. :)

shari said...

my first thought: oh how adorable! but it's supposed to be manly. do you know there are no masculine synonyms for the word adorable?! hmmm.... cool, dude!

theUngourmet said...

I would even love this for my coffee cup! So cool! said...

That is just great! LOVE it!! And perfect for father's day. Thanks for sharing ... I've posted a link.

Anonymous said...

This is so clever! I wouldn't have thought of using the hair tie. Thanks for sharing this!