Sewdrops Decoration

Make Your Own Advent Calendar – Sept. 2023

Saturday 16th September 2023

Hello everyone,

As it’s now only 100 days until Christmas, I’d like to share a festive sewing project with you…how to make your very own advent calendar! This is something that you’ll be able to bring out every winter to hang in your home and fill with all your favourite sweets and treats.

Time: Approx. 6-7 hours (that’s how long it took me, but this may vary)

You will need:

You’ll also need a pair of scissors, an iron for pressing, a sewing machine, clips, pins, a needle, and a wooden dowel.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: The following instructions for this project are for the ‘Keep Believing’ advent calendar panel)

Step 1. – Cutting and Attaching the Pockets to the Panel

Cut down the middle of the panel and split it into two sections; 1 side will have your pocket pieces, and the other will be the piece that you stitch your pocket pieces onto. Put the main panel piece to one side for now.

CE11 Tomten friends 1 yard advent panel

Cut out the 24 x individual pockets but do NOT trim off the borders around each of the squares (you’ll need them for the next part).

Once you’ve cut all the pockets out, turn them over, wrong side facing (WSF), and fold each of the blue borders back so that the raw edges are hidden and press down with your iron.

(Tip: start by folding the bottom edge first, then the sides and then the top. Use a Sewline Fabric Glue pen to glue to sides down and keep them from unfolding while you sew.)

With your sewing machine, sew a ¼” inch across the top of each pocket piece (remembering to do a back stitch at the beginning and end of each pocket).

Now get your main panel piece and pin each of the pockets in place. Attach them by sewing along the sides and bottom of the pockets, leaving the top open. With a needle, bring any “loose” threads to the back of the panel and secure them with a few knots.

There will be a dotted line at the top of your fabric panel with the wording “fold and stitch – insert dowel”, this would be used if you were creating a sleeve / tube at the top of your calendar. However, for this tutorial, I’ve added borders and straps instead, so this section is not needed and can be trimmed off along with any selvage.

Once you’ve done all that, you’re ready to add your border strips.

Step 2. – Adding Borders

BASICS BB184 postbox red

(If you would prefer not to add borders to your panel, then that’s fine – just skip this step)

Start by measuring the top and bottom sides of your panel. Then, with your border / backing fabric (I used Bumbleberries – Postbox Red), cut two x strips of fabric to fit. In this case, I cut two short strips measuring 21 ½” by 2 ½” inches. Pin or clip them to your main panel and then sew them in place. Once attached, give them a press with your iron.

Now measure the length of the long sides – remember to include the extra length from the border strips that you’ve just attached. Mine measured approx. 38 ½” inches and 38 ½” inches. Then repeat the previous step.

Step 3. – Fusible Fleece 

Simply lay your fusible fleece on a table or large surface with the slightly shinier side facing you (that’s the glue that will stick to your panel), then place your main panel piece on top of the fusible fleece (right side up). With your iron, carefully press down on the panel (make sure the panel is nice and flat and there are no creases) – the heat from the iron will glue (or fuse) the fleece to the back of the panel and give it more of a “quilted” feel. Trim any excess fleece.

Step 4. – Attaching the Straps and Backing Fabric

Cut 4 x red strips of fabric measuring 5” x 10”. Fold them so that any raw edges are hidden – if you’re unsure how to do this, here’s my method: –

Fold the strips in half (longways) and press – Open it back out – You should have a line in the centre of the strip – Fold one side in towards the centre line and repeat on the opposite side (remember to press them with your iron) – Then fold again.

All your raw edges should be hidden inside your strip.

Once that’s done, sew 1/8” inch along both sides of the strips. Then fold the strips to make a small loop.

Pin or clip them to the top of your panel (make sure that the loops are facing downwards) – I lined my 4 x straps up with the 4 x pocket pieces so it would be nicely balanced. Tack or stitch them in place with a 1/8” seam allowance, and trim off any excess material.

You’re now ready to attach your back and front pieces together.

With the remaining fabric that was used for your borders and straps, cut out a back piece that is the same size as your front piece, and press any creases and folds out. Then lay out on a table or large surface. Place your front panel piece on top (right sides together) and pin down – remember to leave a gap of approx. 8”-10” long along one of the longer sides for turning. Once pinned, you can cut any spare / excess fabric off – it’ll make it easier for you to sew if you do this.

Take your work to the sewing machine and sew all the way around with a ¼” seam allowance – be sure to check that you’ve got enough bobbin thread before you start (trust me, you’ll thank me later).

Once finished, carefully trim your corners (but don’t trim over your stitches or it will come undone). Also cut off any excess fabric from your back piece – this will help to reduce any bulk.

(Note: when I say excess, I mean any fabric which hasn’t been sewn down e.g. outside of the stitches)

Step 5. – Adding the Finishing Touches

With the help of the gap you left, turn your piece the right way round to reveal your incredible work. Gently push the corners out so there’s no bulk there, and then give it a press with your iron.

Keep Believing Advent Calendar NEW (September Blog)

Using your fingers, close the gap by folding the raw edges approx. ¼” down so that it lines up with your long edge, then press and clip it down.

Lastly, sew all the way around your wall hanging with a 1/8” seam allowance – this will also secure the gap that you’ve just clipped down. Please, please remember to check you have enough bobbin thread in your machine before doing this.

And that’s it! You’ve completed your advent calendar project. To hang it on the wall, I recommend getting a wooden dowel which can be bought in any craft or hardware store.

Finished Size = Approx. 24.5” x 39” inches (including the hanging loops / straps)

I hope you all enjoy making your own advent calendars. If you have any questions about any of these instructions, or need any help, please get in touch. 🙂

Best wishes,
Rebecca x

Sewdrops Decoration