Sew a Unique Coffee Bag Apron




Introduction: Sew a Unique Coffee Bag Apron

About: I am a retired engineer, wife, mom to four who loves to create!

The folks over at Donkee House have some amazing, authentic coffee bags that can be the starting point for many creative projects including totes and pillows.  The design is unisex and would be a perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life.  What a unique and purely organic apron this is!

Step 1: Supplies

The bags are 28" x 40".  This particular bag has an interesting motif on both sides, so one bag can be used to make two aprons.  The burlap coffee sacks/coffee bags have not been laundered.  I chose to wash and dry the sack to soften it up a bit and then ironed it.

  • one coffee bag, washed, dried and ironed.
  • 1 1/4 yards fabric for lining, washed and dried
  • ruler

Step 2: Cut Lining Fabric to Make Straps

Begin by making three strips of fabric.  Two of these will become the waist ties and the third will be the next strap.  Lay out lining fabric with selvage edge folded together.  Cut three strips, each 4" wide.  Shorten one of those strips to 24" (this will be for the neck strap.)

Step 3: Press Straps

To finish the edge on the two long straps fold in 1/4" on one short end and press.  (The other end will be on the inside of the apron.)

Fold strips in half with long edges together and press.

Open out strip and fold one long edge to meet the middle and press.  Repeat with the other edge so that both raw edges are now folded and meeting at the middle.

Fold in half again so raw edges are completely enclosed and press.

Step 4: Top Stitch Straps

Top stitch close to folded edge.

Step 5: Cut Bag

Cut bag along edges.

Step 6: Find the Design Center Point and Cut Bag

Mark the center point of the motif.  Even out the sides and bottom of bag.  In this example, there was 5.25" to the right of the motif.  So I cut off the excess on the left side for an overall size of 23.5" x 35".

Step 7: Cut Out Arm

Mark 5.5" to the left and right of the center point; mark 11.5" down on the sides.

Draw a curve between the two points and cut out that top portion of the apron.  (You could also trace an existing apron.)

Use the cut out piece as a pattern to make the same cut on the other side.

Step 8: Cut Lining

Place lining fabric underneath the bag and cut out.

Step 9: Pin Straps

Pin ties to right side of lining, raw edges together.  The shorter strip is the neck piece and the longer strips are the waist ties.  The ties should be placed one inch from the sides edges.

Place right sides together and pin so that the straps are encased on the inside.

Step 10: Sew

Sew or serge using a small stitch length and a 1/2" seam allowance around the perimeter of the apron.  Leave a 6" opening at the bottom.  Trim curves and corners being careful not to trim too closely since the weave of the burlap is somewhat loose.  Turn apron inside out and press; press the seams of the opening to the inside and pin.

Top stitch the entire apron using a fairly small stitch to secure the coffee bag to the lining and reinforce the weave of the burlap.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great tutorial. Thanks. I have a question about washing the bags pre project and then washing the aprons. Lots of folks suggest not washing the bags. I like how yours turned out and was wondering how you washed them...also did you wash the finish aprons.



    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Prunella,

    Thanks for your inquiry. I am not sure why people say not to wash the bags. I have picked the up for coffee roasters (as well as bought them online) and, to me, they are quite dirty - possibly laying around on floors. Now, if you want them to remain very stiff, you might not want to wash them. However, for an apron, I prefer to wash them. You MAY not want to wash them at home. You can take them to a commercial laundromat if there is any concern that the lint will clog a filter. But I wash them with nothing else on a regular color load. Then I simply dry. They do need to be pressed with a hot steam iron. I don't wash the finished aprons because all the materials are pre-washed, dried and shrunk. I have sold all my aprons so I don't have experience of washing them. However, I have washed the burlap rugs I make (you can check out my blog for details) and the results are the same as when I prewash them. They soften a bit, they are wrinkly, and they need to be pressed.

    I hope that answers your questions. My general approach to sewing is that I pre-wash anything that I will be washing.

    Good luckl!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi MaidenJane,

    Great rug! going to make one too.
    I originally got some coffee bags to use for covering material on my sound panels in my recording studio. i was wondering if you put them in the dryer or hung dry?
    Also, how much shrinkage and did you unstitch them before washing or after.
    Thanks so much and love your ideas!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Dgem1st,

    That's interesting! I have a son who is a music major and has a lot of sound experience - and a little recording experience! Maybe I can cover my entire house with these to help with a little sound insulation! His rock band practices right below my sewing studio!

    Anyway, if you are simply asking about the bags - go ahead and wash and dry them. They will be very wrinkly but I use a hot iron to press them. Sometimes I air dry my rugs which have a rubber or latex backing, but I still have to press them. The only concern you might have is with lint. I have a front load washer - but back when I had a top loader and used to do a lot of felting of wool, I feel like I clogged the washing machine filter. You can avoid this by putting the bags in another bag - like a pillow case. Or take them to a commercial laundromat. I haven't had a problem.

    I do not unstitch them. Depending on what I'm making, I sometimes unstitch tehm afterward.

    Good luck!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so very much for your feedback on washing. I prefer to wash everything as well and had concerns about these bags...they do pick up a lot of dirt along the way. Clogging the filter is not an issue (I have a Euro washer that has a pull out filter). I think I'd prefer them softer any way, and they can always be starched for extra stiffens.

    This was very helpful. Much appreciated