04 April, 2010

Custom-sized mug cosy tutorial

I finally got around to documenting the very simple process for coming up with a custom-sized cosy for my mug which I wrote about here. I feel a bit silly putting this up in a way because it's so deadly easy but it actually took me a bit of thinking about the first time around, so in case there's anyone out there whose brain works like mine here we go:

Cup cosy 1
You'll need your mug (this one from Szilasi Keramik), a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. I apologise for the extensive materials list but you need to be really prepared for this.

Cup cosy 2

Put the mug in the middle of the paper, nice and straight. For this mug a piece of A4 paper wasn't quite long enough, but once I'd cut it down to the cosy size rather than the whole mug, the narrower shape actually did fit on, just. So if you've got a really huge mug you might need to tape a couple pieces together or use a larger bit of paper. Newspaper would be ideal.

Carefully roll the mug over to one side (I went to the left because it was easier to roll to the right and draw with my right hand at the same time). Don't allow it to wobble or skew, just roll in a smooth arc. If your mug has a handle you'll want to start it from one side of the handle and roll it along to the other side.

Cup cosy 3

Start rolling the mug back to the right, tracing the top and bottom edges as you roll. I traced a bit of the top, then rolled it back and did the bottom and then back to the top and so-on. You can see if you're producing a smooth curve and can realign the mug if you need to. Roll the mug all the way over to the other side of the paper, tracing as you go. When you're done you should have something that looks like this (sorry the pencil line doesn't show so well):

Cup cosy 4

Cut it out along top and bottom curves from the edge of the paper. I folded the pattern in half, matching the ends, and cut it out like that so both sides matched.

Now the step that I forgot to photograph is how you determine how long it should be around your mug. I put the cut pattern on the mug and just pinched the two edges together to get a line that I then cut along. I wanted to have a small gap between the edges so I left it like that, but if you want overlap this is the time to figure that out. In hindsight I should have added maybe .5cm to each edge to compensate for the thickness of the fabric, the gap ended up being a bit wide in the linen version (see below). Obviously if you have a handle on your mug then this gap is where it would go.

I decided that the fabric should be the width of my palm plus thumb, which is about 9cm, so I added 1cm on either side and measured in from the edges of the cup-sized pattern to get the right size. I didn't add seam allowance on the ends, it depends on how much of a gap you want.

Cup cosy 5

Now the bit I have trouble getting my head around is that even though the edge is curved it will look straight on the mug. However, any obvious grain in the fabric will look to be on an angle. You also need to make sure any decorating you do takes this into account.

I made the first one for the red mug in linen with cotton batting sandwiched between and a simple running stitch in red. It's held on with elastic loops and buttons. Love it! It lives in at University on my desk.

Mug cozy in linen

Mug cozy in linen detail

For the other mug I thought I'd try a brighter cosy in orange felt. Same pattern but no seam allowances.

Felt mug cosy

Again the running stitch and buttons with elastic loops, and this time you can see how the lines need to be curved but look straight when it's done up. That concept still ties my brain up in knots. I mean, I understand it on the level of that's obviously what you have to do, but any more thinking about how it then translates to straight-looking lines makes my head hurt for some reason. Which is weird because I'm actually pretty good spatially and with maps etc.

Felt mug cosy

This cosy really sticks to the mug - felt and a matt surface work well together! I've used three layers of felt as I only have thin wool-blend felt, and it could almost be reversible with a hot pink on the other side, but the elastic and buttons are for the orange side. I figure it's a bit like sexy underwear - I know the pink's there :) I may add a third button/loop to try and stop that gaping. Or I may not. I can be reckless like that.

Felt mug cosy

Patterns and sewing not for you? How about this one made from a felted sweater sleeve?  I might blanket-stitch around the top edge, just to get rid of the raw edge, but otherwise making it couldn't have been quicker or more satisfying - just push the mug down into the sleeve and cut.  If you have a handle all you'd need to do is cut a slit and pop the handle through.

Sweater mug cosy


  1. I love this tutorial thanks so much for writing it. I've linked it on my site, under 'tit-bits' of thinks I like on other sites, Fiona

  2. What a great tutorial , I'll be making a few , thanks a lot !

  3. I totally need to make one of these for my water glass I keep at work. The office only has large styrafoam cups which I just cannot use because - hello, STYRAFOAM! Gross, unbiodegradable mess that just wreaks havoc on my greenie-weenie brain. Anyway, along with being a greenie-weenie I am also a bit compulsive about having clean glasses (anything clear glass must be smudge-free, actually). Nothing grosses me out more than looking at my glass after a day of use (and generally 6 refillings) and seeing all my fingerprints & lip marks everywhere. UGH, ugh, yuck yuck yuck. I mean, I know they're MY fingerprints and lip marks and all, but cloudy glass just looks dirty and gross. A lovely little cozy would not only be a dash of fun at my cubicle, but would serve a double purpose of helping me keep my sanity. Oh Jacqui, only you could help so monumentously. xoxo

  4. I remember the first time I made a cup cozy. It took me forever to get the curved shape right. Thank you for your tutorials!

  5. Beautiful cozies; well written tutorial! Thank you!

  6. i love it!
    i think I want to make one now.

  7. oops


  8. Thanks for the simple but brilliant cozy design. I'm think Christmas gifts! I'll be linking on Facebook.

  9. awesome work.very good tutorial i like your work.

  10. Yay thanks Fiona! Nice to meet you :)

  11. How cool! I get such a rush when people actually use something I've posted
    up - totally reinforces to me that I need to let others know when I've used
    their tutorials! I love your cosy too, great use of materials. Isn't it
    great not to get burned hands using these kinds of mugs? Not to mention
    that the tea/coffee stays hot longer.

  12. Thank you and yes, they'd make great presents if you know what size mug
    they're for! And thanks for the link :)

  13. beautiful idea ! Thanks for sharing !

  14. Looks really cool!I love mug cozies :)

  15. very cute, thanks for the step by step instructions!

  16. I love your mug cozy. Thanks for sharing the tutorial, I think I'm going to try to make it in the next day or so.
    Thanks again.

  17. You're very welcome - thanks for the lovely comment!



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