By Di Ellis
This advent calendar is basically a rectangle of material, with 25 pockets sewn on (all numbered of course) that you can hang on the wall and fill with special treats and sweets for the children.
Suitable Fabrics & Notions
For the backing fabric you need something fairly thick to take the weight of the treats that will be placed in the pockets.
I actually recommend felt for the backing, for the pockets and for the numbers 1 to 25 (denoting the countdown to Christmas). The beauty of felt is you don't need to hem it as it doesn't fray. Try getting 3 different colours – say green for the backing, red for the pockets, and white for the numbers.
We'll also need 2 pieces of thin wood for the top and bottom of the hanger, and some string or rope for hanging.
How Much Fabric to Buy
For the backing fabric, you will need one piece, 50" tall by 22" wide. This allows for a 3" hem to fold over your wood and stitch. If your wood is wider than this, then you will need to get a longer piece of fabric.
Each pocket is 4" square, and we need 25 of these. So you will need 20" by 28".
We will allow 3" square for each letter. So you will need 15" by 15". For a template of the numbers click here. (Note: this is a PDF file, so you can download it by right clicking and choosing "Save Target As").
Please note, these measurements do not allow for any hemming as I am using felt, however if you choose to use a different fabric which requires hems, then you will need to add on a seam allowance for both the height and width.
To Make Up
For the preparation work, all you need are pins or tailors chalk, a ruler, the number templates and your scissors. No pattern required!
First of all, cut out your 25 pockets. You can use a ruler and tailors chalk to mark guidelines for cutting. If you don't have tailors chalk a white coloured pencil will do the trick! The pockets are all 4" by 4".
Now cut out and pin your numbers to the number fabric and cut out.
To attach the numbers to the pockets you can either machine stitch, hand stitch, or use craft glue.
Lay your backing fabric on a table and mark out where the pockets are to be placed using pins or tailors chalk. We will have 4 pockets across, then 6 down, and the number 25 pocket will be on it's own at the bottom (although feel free to change this layout if you wish).
Each pocket has a 2" gap around it. So the first pocket will be 5" down from the top of the fabric (remember we have allowed 3" for the wood hanger to go through) and 2" in from the left. The next pocket is 2" from the previous.
Pin in place, and then machine stitch along the left, bottom and right sides.
Cut your wood pieces so that one is slightly shorter than your width (for the bottom hem, so you can enclose it), and one slightly longer (say 1/2" each side). Drill small holes at each end of this longer piece so you can thread through your hanging string or rope.
When all of your pockets are attached, use your machine to sew the top and bottom hems, and then insert your wood. You may want to close off the edges of the bottom hem if it is likely that the wood could come out. You can do this by hand.
Now attach the rope through the holes in the top piece of wood and hang. And don't forget to fill with treats!
Diane Ellis is the owner of www.Sewing4Dummies.com. Learn more about her on our About Us page.
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