Two more coffee-bag bags -- a Starbucks tablet sleeve and Tully's zippered bag

Bag made out of Tullys bags
At our house, there are some things we buy over and over. Like canned cat food. And bags of pretzels. And, of course, coffee. I'm determined to find ways to upcycle the packaging from all our "high frequency" purchases.

I've tried making a large messenger bag out of coffee bags. It turned out ok. But I wanted to create something smaller -- an iPad sleeve.

30-minute iPad sleeve

I tried a simple pattern first, cutting apart two bags (after washing) into 2 large rectangles. I reinforced them by  applying iron-on vinyl to each piece (I used this to create a placemat a while back).
Bag made out of Starbucks coffee bags
Starbucks coffee bag deconstructed
Then I put the two rectangles back to back (right sides together) and sewed around 3 sides. To stop my sewing machine from complaining, I swapped out the regular needle for one made for leather. The hardest part came next -- turning the bag right-side out. 
Corner of coffee bag bag
This made ME complain
Pretty ugly. I left the top edge raw, mostly because there wasn't room for a zipper or other closure. 
Raw edge of coffee bag bag
Wake up and smell the iPad sleeve
I wouldn't sell this bag in my shop, but it works fine when I take my iPad on vacation. The tablet slips out easily but doesn't fall out. And the coffee smell reminds me of home.
Ipad sleeve made from Starbucks coffee bags
30 minutes well spent

Zippered Kindle bag

Emboldened, I tried a more elaborate design. I played around with long strips cut from the coffee bags, just like the messenger bag. I was using brown Tully's bags, and the strips just didn't work -- until I staggered them so they looked like quilt blocks.
Quilted patchwork made out of Tullys coffee bags
Not your grandmother's quilting
To get this patchwork effect, I overlapped the strips. To hold them in place, I applied a few daubs of rubber glue. Once it was dry, I sewed the strips together to create two large squares made up of 3 rows.

Next came the zipper. I basted each side of the zipper to one of the squares. Then, in a burst of hubris, I added lining as well, sewing it to the zipper-bag combination.
zippered opening
Zipper be not proud
The closure turned out ok (after some swearing, ripping out, and re-sewing). I sewed the bag and lining pieces, right sides together. More pain and bunched up corners.
corner of bag
More complaints
To make the bag easier to grab, I added a tab on one side. I think it's my favorite part of the bag.
Tully's logo tab
We salute the flag of caffeine!
Here's the finished bag. It took me 3 times as long to construct as the simpler bag. Because I didn't use the iron-on vinyl, the bag crackles when I touch it. That's more irritating than the coffee smell. 
Upcycled Kindle bag made out of Tullys coffee bags
I like it!
Still, I think if I did a more polished job, I might be able to sell these. But do I want to? The material isn't fun to work with. I prefer the softness of denim and crispness of cotton. But this is true upcycling--turning trash into something useful. 


  1. It might be true upcycling but if you don't enjoy the process don't do it......

  2. You're right. I also want to challenge myself too, and learn new things. So it's a balance. But there's no reason to work with materials I don't like.


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