Coffee Sweaters- A Beginner Crochet Project

My nesting is in full swing, but instead of it manifesting itself in useful urges, like wanting to scour the bathroom with a toothbrush, it’s making itself present in my desire to craft. I guess sewing everything for the baby’s nursery wasn’t enough. I guess re-doing Kendall’s big boy room wasn’t enough. I guess making my own holiday wreath wasn’t enough. No, I had the urge to break out my crochet hooks a couple weeks ago to make some holiday gifts for some bloggy friends (and this adorable weetle newborn hat for the baby to wear home from the hospital- tutorial found here).

I made some coffee sweaters a couple years ago for family and friends and still use the ones I made myself whenever I head to my favorite coffee place. People/Baristas are always impressed that I have such a stylish little outfit of my own for my cup, and I love turning down those paper coffee sleeves. Sure, it’s not a lot of paper for just one, but when you add up just how many I turn down over a year, that’s pretty substantial! I may not always…er… ever remember to bring my reusable mug, but I have a coffee sweater hanging out in every bag/purse I carry.


They are super, duper easy to make. And listen, I’m not just saying that because crocheting comes naturally to me or something. I taught myself in a day a few years ago, and figured I’d use the skill to make my mom an awesome blanket someday. I worked on that damn thing for over a year before finally giving up and donating the few panels I did get finished to a shelter. I don’t have the energy or the patience to crochet anything more than a small project, and these are just the right size. I can get one done in about 15-20 minutes now… and I promise, even if you’ve never crocheted before, it shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes to an hour for your first one.

I’m going to try to include as many useful links to tutorials for you. I learned to crochet by watching videos on the internet and reading blogs, so I know you can, too. For those of you who already know how, hopefully this post won’t be too dumbed down for you. And please feel free to chime in if I’m wrong. I am not claiming to actually know what I’m doing. Somehow this is just another one of those things that I know just enough of to wing it… for a small project like this.

What you’ll need:

A thick yarn, like Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (I love using this kind because it makes the project go so much faster!)

A crochet hook, I used a size N-13 (9mm), as called for on the yarn wrapper (Check yours if you get a different brand, it should say what size hook you need. If you get a different size, you may have to adjust the number of chain stitches you start with.)

Buttons or some sort of embellishment and thread and a needle to attach it (optional)

Start by creating 17 chain stitches
Learn how to chain stitch here

Slip stitch inside your first chain stitch to join the ends of the yarn and make a circle
Learn how to slip stitch here

At this point it’s a good idea, if you have a coffee cup available, to slip the joined circle on the bottom of the cup to check the fit. Depending on how loose or tight your are crocheting (your gauge) you may need to add or subtract a chain stitch or two. If it doesn’t fit or it seems too loose (this will be the bottom of the sweater and shouldn’t go up too high on the cup), just pull out the slip stitch and adjust the chain stitches by adding more or pulling some out and then re-join the chain into a circle.

Single crochet in each chain stitch all the way around for Row 1
Learn how to single crochet here

Row 2 you want to do 2 single crochets in the first single crochet of Row 1, then continue to just do one single crochet in each single crochet of Row 1 all the way around (so you are increasing the # of single crochets on Row 2 by one).  Basically just double dip your crochet hook in that first single crochet. It will have two single crochets in it’s one loop. Here’s a video.

Row 3 you will just single crochet in every single crochet of Row 2.

Row 4 you will again do 2 single crochets in the first single crochet of Row 3, then single crochet just once in every remaining single crochet of Row 3 all the way around (again increasing this row by one single crochet)

You’ll continue in this pattern, increasing by one single crochet every other row for 7 rows.

At this point, cut your yarn, giving yourself a tail a few inches long. Then slip stitch into the first single crochet of Row 7 and pull your yarn through to finish off. Video here.

Weave the tail into the back/inside of the sweater. Then I like to tie it off with a knot inside to secure it.

You should be left with a sleeve that gradually gets just a tad bigger up toward the top, like this.

Now, you could leave it just like that, but I like to jazz mine up with big, funky buttons. It just takes a few minutes to stitch one on with a needle and thread.


Even if you never use your crochet skills for anything else, this is a great little craft project to have in your back pocket. They make awesome thank you gifts and hostess gifts. I paired them with $5 gift cards to Starbucks and a card that said, “A coffee to keep you warm and a sweater to keep your coffee warm.” You could also pair one up with a reusable ceramic coffee mug, like this one, for the ultimate “green” coffee gift.

And I fully believe that you have enough time to learn how to crochet one or a few of these before the gift-giving season is up. So if you’re looking for a small gift that you can make, and make cheap, give it a try! Please comment with any questions and I will do my very best to help you or find someone who can.

Happy crafting!

Kendall is 2.5ish and I’m 38 weeks pregnant and thinking this crochet hook looks a lot like the thing they used to break my water last time… Imma hang on to it… just in case.

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
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  1. I am typically just a reader, not a commenter, but your blog always cracks me up, and this little project really makes me want to learn to crochet (okay, see I can’t even spell it correctly). I have always been so intimidated by the idea of it that I have just never learned, but this little craft idea makes me want to learn really really bad!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I might try it. I learned to knit awhile ago and loved it. Only stuck with scarf projects though. Second time around my water broke by itself in the middle of the night. Don’t forget to protect that mattress. 🙂

  3. Cute! Love the button detail. The yarn looks super soft too.

    Crocheting is one craft I’ve attempted to tackle a few times now. I can’t quite get the hang of it. I think the last time I tried (6+ years ago) You Tube didn’t even exist. (Or maybe it did I was oblivious.) It’s good tip. I’ll have to check it out one of these days. Next time I’ll start out slow. My first crocheting goal was a blanket also. Ha!

  4. Oh, my dear Jill, I seriously think you should open your own Etsy shop or something. You are way more crafty and useful than you lead on 🙂

    I think it could be a huge success! That coffee mug sweater = adorable!

  5. Hi Jill! This has nothing to do with the blog topic, but I saw the headline for this video/article and went to watch it. It’s not incredibly informative, but it’s neat to see cloth diapering actually being talked about on the news. So just wanted to share, since you were one of the first sources I ever found about cloth diapering!

  6. My coffee sweater has already kept many cups warm! 🙂 I wanted to read this and see if it might be a little stress-reducing project for my Christmas “break”, but as soon as I read the words “chain stitch” my brain physically rejected the idea. I couldn’t go on.

    I have this same reaction when my husband starts trying to tell me what happened at his basketball games. I’m interested at first, and then he says something about a pass, and I begin to black out. No no, no more, my brain can only handle so many subjects, and crocheting is apparently on the black list.

    I’m gonna try to start a scrapbook for Jolene instead. We’ll see how long before I get a paper cut that causes me to throw the whole project in the garbage.

  7. I love this project! My mom and my sisters can crochet and they do coasters to sweaters… and they’ve tried so hard to teach me but i just can’t. am too lazy. well, am on my way to learning!!!! Thanks to you! this is adorable!

  8. That’s It I quit. I watched about elventy thousand videos on youtube, and even bought a book to learn how to crochet. I got the chain stitch down, and am almost good at the single stitch, but have been incredibly unsuccessful at a cup sweater. I guess duct tape will do!

  9. Pingback: Making it Christmas: Coffee Sweater | MarKatie

  10. Just saw Mandy’s coffee sweater and had to come find out how to make such a cute little coffee cozy! I love it.

    And I love Leyna’s room. I can sew, but I am not good at choosing colors – you did an amazing job!

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