Festive Friends Quilted Advent Calendar
Tutorial by Louise Ambrosi, Sew Sofia
Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated: 0.25inch
1 FQ wadding
3.5inch x 13inch piece of fabric for dowelling pocket
2m bias binding
11inch piece of narrow wooden dowelling
2 small metal or plastic rings (I use Prym 16mm café rod rings)
Basic sewing kit
Poppies & Polka Dots have a ready made kit with virtually everything you'd need to make this Advent Panel check it out here
Points before you start.
Consider using a contrasting thread like mint green.
A Rotary cutter and long ruler can help with precision cutting.
A walking foot is recommended for any decorative quilting at the end but not essential.
Backstitch at the start and finish of any sewing to secure stitching.
Seam allowance is 0.25inch throughout.
First iron the advent panel to remove any creases. This will help with more precise cutting of all those pockets!
Cut along the central dotted lines of the panel piece to separate the backing panel from the pocket strips.
Cut around the back panel piece leaving a 0.25inch seam allowance all around in the pale mint green.
Preparing the pockets
Cut the 5 pocket strips horizontally leaving a line of mint green and a line of white above the pocket strip (we’ll call them the seam allowance) and leave just the white seam allowance below each pocket.
Fold over the top green edge of the pocket strip and press.
Fold over the short edges of each long strip, press, then fold over the white edge and press again.
Pin and stitch close to the edge along the top of each strip.
I sew on the right side to make sure I’m not sewing over any pictures.
On the advent panel instructions they suggest making pleats using the dotted lines as a guide. I find it simpler to cut along the dotted lines … it also means you can place the pockets wherever you like and not necessarily in numerical order.
Press under the sides of each pocket, then pin on to the backing panel.
Sewing on the pockets
I find it easier to manoeuvre the panel by sewing from the bottom right corner. Starting at the top right corner of each pocket, sew down one side till you reach the bottom, raise the foot with needle still in the fabric, pivot, lower the foot and continue sewing the bottom and other side of each pocket. Remember to backstitch at the top of each pocket to ensure it is secure.
Prepare the Backing
Fold the 13inch x 3.5inch rectangle in half lengthwise and press to make a centre crease. Open out, then fold each short edge in by 0.25inch, press and stitch. Fold in half lengthways, then fold in each long raw edge to the centre. You will have a 12inch x 0.75inch piece with no raw edges showing. Pin and stitch to close the open edge.
Position the dowelling pocket 2.5inchs down and centred on the right side of the backing fabric. Stitch in place along the same stitching.
Layer your quilt sandwich
Lay the backing fabric wrong side up, place the wadding on top, then place the advent pocket panel right side up on top to make a sandwich. Pin or use wonderclips to secure the three layers together. Baste stitch using a longer length stitch all around to secure.
Quilting the advent calendar
If you have a walking foot, now is the time to use it! With contrasting thread stitch along the solid lines that frame the advent. Get creative by using a decorative stitch below each line of pockets. Make sure you don’t sew over the ends of the dowelling pocket when quilting…!
Open out the bias binding and with right sides together pin along the raw edge of the calendar. Sew along the first fold line leaving a 0.25inch space at the corner edge to help ease the binding around to the next side. Continue until you reach the last corner. Cut the binding about 0.5inch off from the edge so that you can fold it under and hide the raw edge on your last stitch.
Now fold the binding over to the backing side of the calendar, pin in place and stitch in place, taking care to ease the binding around the corners before sewing. Take your time, this can be quite fiddly but worth the end result!
Cut an 11inch piece of dowelling and insert into dowelling pocket. I slip stitch each end of the pocket just to make sure the dowelling doesn’t come out.
Hand stitch two small rings 1inch in on either end of the dowelling pocket
Hand stitch two decorative buttons to the front of the calendar at the top corners.
Thread through a length of ribbon, tie into a pretty bow and your calendar is done! Now all you need to do is fill it!