I've been meaning to get around to this for ages, so took the opportunity last weekend to give it a go and see how straightforward it is.
The Christmas Wish - Advent Calendar comes as a 60cm length piece which has 2 sections printed on it and some basic instructions. So here's my take on it....but be warned, I veer from the provided instructions!
What you’ll need:
1 x Christmas Wish - Advent Calendar panel
1 x FQ of wadding / fleece
1/2 metre of cotton fabric for the back, binding & hanging tabs (these are optional, depending on how you choose to hang your calendar) - I used 'Christmas Wish Snowflakes' in green.
Matching thread - I used Gutermann Sew All - 282.
Ribbons / Trims to decorate - I used some small red pom pom trim for the bottom, red grosgrain to cover the cane & mini red pom pom trim for the hanger.
Scissors or rotary cutter, iron and sewing machine.
1: Begin by cutting out the back panel following the outer edge of the green seam allowance, then cut your wadding and chosen back material to the same size as the back panel.
2: Next cut out the 5 pocket strips widthways around the outer edge of the ecru seam allowance.
3: Once you have 5 x strips of 5 pockets, turn over a double hem along the top edge of each strip - using the printed colour of the pockets as your guide. Press with the iron and then take to your sewing machine and stitch the hem (approx 1/8" or 5mm from the edge) the whole way along the top of each of the 5 strips of pockets.
4: Here the panel instructions suggest making a box pleat between each of the pockets, however I opted against this, preferring the pockets to sit flush to the back of the calendar. However either option works perfectly, so this is just a matter of preference.
5: If electing to go for the more flush option, like myself, I would now suggest cutting the individual pockets, so you end up with 25 pieces all with the top edge already hemmed.
6: Press the remaining 3 sides of each pocket along the printed line and pin them in place onto the back panel of the calendar. I decided to keep the numbers in order, but again, they could easily be mixed up if you preferred.
6: Next take the back panel with all 25 pockets pinned in place to your sewing machine and attach both sides and bottom of each pocket to the back panel. (It was very satisfying to see all 25 neatly sewn in place!).
7: After this it's time to layer the front panel with your chosen wadding or fleece and then add the back piece of fabric; so front panel facing up, then wadding and then back fabric right side facing down.
8: Pin all 3 layers together and then choose how you wish to quilt these three fabrics together, ideally you'd use a walking foot for this part on your sewing machine. As you'll see from the picture, I kept this very simple, sewing straight lines between each row of pockets and then I sewed a border around the edge, through the middle of the red pattern on the fabric. However, it is completely up to you how you choose to customise it.
9: Trim any excess material if necessary, to neaten up the edges of your calendar. At this point, I decided to use the red edge as the outer border for my finished calendar, so trimmed off any excess fabric around the entire calendar edge. Again,this is just a matter of preference.
10: Now it's time to add the binding to the edge of your advent calendar and if making some tabs like the ones I added to hang your calendar, you will need to sew these to the top of the calendar before completing your binding.
If you are unfamiliar with making tabs, your own binding and the best ways to attach you binding, I would recommend checking out the following links.
Making your own tabs - if you can handle the background music (!), this link provides quite a straightforward guide to making your own tabs and how to attach them.
For an 'all in' tutorial' regarding making and attaching your binding, this is quite a good link, although personally I prefer to use a hidden slip stitch to finish off the back of the binding, but there are numerous options to choose from.
11: Now for the finishing touches! It's completely up to you how you finish off your calendar. I am quite partial to pom poms, so couldn't resist adding some festively coloured trims to the bottom. I simply hand stitched this on, then decided to cover a piece of rod with some red grosgrain ribbon and completed the look with some mini pom pom trim in order to hang it, simply hand-stitching or gluing wherever necessary.
This advent calendar project has not disappointed in the slightest. I absolutely love the finished product and so do my kids! The instructions provided with the panel aren't very comprehensive, but hopefully the additional notes here, will make it plain sailing for you.
If you like what you see, we've put together a 'DIY ADVENT CALENDAR KIT' which contains everything you need (with the exception of the rod), to make your very own calendar, just like the one featured here and in perfect time for the 1st of December!