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Dashwood Studio - Quilted Advent Calendar - Your step-by-step guide


Festive Friends Quilted Advent Calendar

Tutorial by Louise Ambrosi, Sew Sofia

Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated: 0.25inch


1 Dashwood Festive Friends Advent Panel

1 FQ coordinating fabric for the backing

1 FQ wadding

3.5inch x 13inch piece of fabric for dowelling pocket

2 decorative buttons

2m bias binding

11inch piece of narrow wooden dowelling

2 small metal or plastic rings (I use Prym 16mm café rod rings)

0.75m ribbon

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.


Cutting instructions:

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

 Dowelling pocket

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!


Finishing off

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!

finished_advent_calendar_4 finished_advent_calendar_3 finished_advent_calendar_2 finished_advent_calendar_1

'Colour Me' - Basic Tote Bag - Tutorial

So it's the summer holidays and given the 'changeability' of the British weather, we've had plenty of opportunities to try out some different crafts and activities here at P&PD HQ.

Not long ago, we took delivery of the fabulously fun 'Colour Me' range from Michael Miller designed by Hayley Crouse, if you haven't already seen our previous post on this, then check it out here.

One rainy day last week, I decided it was time to test out this fabric with my children and one of their friends. So I cut out a half a metre of each design and set them to work colouring.....


We already had some fabric colouring pens to use, but if you don't then these are readily available on-line.

The children range in age from 3yrs to 9yrs, boys and girls (but a 12yr old has also since requested some of the fabric!), so I think the designs are pretty versatile.


They took it very seriously and were really excited by the prospect of having a major input on the final design of their bag!

Having promised 4 new tote bags by the next day, that evening I set to work!

The bag pattern is incredibly simple and would be an ideal project for anyone new to sewing. The bag can be embellished with trimmings, fabric floral brooches, buttons etc. to turn it into a unique and wonderful creation of your own.

A few points before I get started with the tutorial:

1 -Apologies for the lack of pictures at some steps and the mixture of fabric designs that feature. I was rushing through 4 bags and wasn't 100% focused on the images that might later be required - sorry!

2 - This pattern works for any fabric that doesn't have a specific direction. If you are using a design which needs the fabric to face a particular direction for the bag, see the bottom of this tutorial for a couple of tweaks to the pattern*

3 - We wanted to get started on the colouring straight away, but you could definitely make the bag first and then give to someone to colour in and personalise. You might just want to tell them to put a piece of cardboard or something similar, inside the bag when colouring, to avoid any of the colours bleeding through to the other side of the bag.

What you'll need:

1/2 metre of fabric - we used the Colour Me and the Elephant Tumble by Wyndham Fabrics. Matching cotton. Rotary cutter and mat or Scissors. Pins. Iron and ironing board.

Step 1 - Cutting the fabric

You will need to cut the following pieces:

2 x pieces - 3inch (7cm) x 22inch (56cm) - for the handles

1 piece - 14inch (36cm) x 36inch (90cm) for the body of the bag.

Step 2 - Making the handles

Take one of the handle pieces and with the wrong side facing up, press each length of the fabric in 1/4inch (just over 0.5cm) along both sides. Then fold the entire length of the piece in half to create the handle.

Stitch along both sides of the handle 1/8inch (0.3cm) from edge on one side and the same from the fold on the other side.

Repeat this entire process for the second handle.

Colour Me_Tote_Tutorial_1 (1)

Step 3 - Attach handles and hem top edges

Place the main piece of fabric - pattern side up and one of the shorter sides at the top, ready to work on.

Next you need to pin the handles to the shorter ends of the bag (which will later become the two top sides of the bag).

Take one of the handles and pin one end of it 3inches (17.5cm) from the side of the fabric - with raw edges together. Then ensuring the handle isn't twisted, pin the other end of the handle 3inches (17.5cm) from the other side of the fabric - again with raw edges together.

Now turn the piece of fabric around so that you can attach the 2nd handle to the opposite end of the fabric. Repeat the above step, being sure to check that your handle isn't twisted.

Using a zig zag stitch, sew along the top edge of the bag, attaching the handle in the process and also creating a neat hem.


Repeat this step for the other side of the bag, attaching the 2nd handle in the process.

Next, turn the fabric over so that the wrong side is facing upwards.

Now fold over the top edges of the bag by 1 1/2 inches (approx. 4cm) at both ends and press. Pin the handles in place, making sure they are perpendicular to the horizontal sides.


Sew this fold down with a 1/4 inch (0.5cm) seam allowance from the top edge and then with a second seam 1/4 inch (0.5cm) from the bottom zig zag stitch.

Repeat for both ends of the bag.

Colour Me_Tote_Tutorial_2 (1)

Step 4 - Sew together the bag

Fold the body of the bag in half, so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other and the handles are now together at the top of the bag. Pin the sides of bags together, ensuring that the top edges of the bag meet perfectly.

Sew together the 2 sides of the bag using a 1/2 inch (1cm) seam allowance.


Snip off the bottom corners.

Zig zag stitch both raw edges along the sides of the bag, to give neatly finished hems which won't fray.


Turn the bag right side out and push the corners out and press.'s complete!

Here are the children the day after, on an outing to the cinema - feeling very proud with their new personalised bags!

Colour_Me_Tote_Bag_Tutorial_Girls_Shopping Colour_Me_Tote_Bag_Tutorial_Finished_Product

*If you are using a fabric which is directional (like the Colour Me - A Royal Life Panel - as seen in some of the pictures above), you will need to cut the main body of the bag in two different panels. In which case, simply cut the two handle pieces as per above, plus 2 x 13.5inch (35cm) x 18.5inch (47cm) for the back and front of the bag - be sure to check which way your pattern needs to face for the bag before cutting. Then follow the steps as above, but instead of one panel which you attach handles to both ends, you have two pieces, which need to have handles attached to the top edge of the fabric. When you get to step 4 - simply pin all three sides of the bag and sew around each edge as per above.

Any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at




Gilliangladrag - Felt Selfie Kit - Here's what we thought & our top tips!

During the recent Easter school holidays, we had plenty of time to get my children to 'test drive' some of the new products that have arrived at P&PD HQ which are suitable for younger crafters.Felt Selfie Wet Felting KitFrom the moment I placed the order for this Gilliangladrag Felt Selfie kit, I couldn't wait to test it out. I'll be honest, I am no felting expert, in fact, I've only given it a go once before, so I was as keen as my son to give this a try!

Felt Selfie - PackagingAnyway, we had a morning where is was just the two of us (which never happens) so my 6yr old and I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to give this kit a go.

I thought it best that we watch the 'wet felting guide' video that Gillan from Gillangladrag has on youtube. This gave us a really clear understanding of what we needed to do and so we cleared a space at the kitchen table and this is how we got on!


My son is really into making things, mainly lego and anything out of a cardboard box (which is great, as I've got a regular supply of large cardboard boxes arriving thanks to P&PD). Like lots of little boys and girls, I guess, he doesn't have a particularly light / deft touch, but he does make up for that with lots of enthusiasm.

So he began by placing a white wool background down and then choosing the background colours that would feature on the self portrait.

Felt_Selfie_WoolSammy's absolute favourite colour is green, however the instructions in the pack recommend using more that one colour to give it a little more depth / interest to the background. So he opted for green and blue.

Sammy was able to follow the instructions for laying out the background wool and enjoyed the pulling apart of the yarn tops as per the guidance provided in the youtube video.


When it came to actually 'painting his portrait' with the yarn, I'd say for a 6yr old, adult assistance was definitely required! Very small amounts of the yarn is needed to add the features and going back to his slightly 'heavy handed approach!', it can be very easy to move bits of the yarn on the picture that you weren't meaning to, so it can get a little fiddly!Felt Selfie - Adding the portrait design

Nevertheless, we worked together, with Sammy choosing the colours, I'd manipulate the yarn into the trickier shapes and Sammy would pop it onto the picture. For details like the glasses, I definitely had to help to get the wool placed correctly on the picture, however I'm sure for older children this wouldn't be an issue.

When Sammy was happy with the arrangement of yarn for the portrait, we then covered the picture with the netting provided in the kit and began the process of turning it into felt!Felt Selfie - Netting

First we added soapy water (washing up liquid and luke-warm water) to the netting and then pressed out all of the air. Sammy was able to assist at this stage and then once this was complete, he liked the idea that he could write his name with his finger in the soapy sheen on the top of the netting. That way we knew it was ready for the next step!

Then came the rubbing stage, this can take quite a while (between 20 and 30 minutes), so after the first few minutes, it was left to me to complete this step, I actually found it quite therapeutic - so not a problem at all.

Once this was complete (and the instructions / video, explain exactly how you'll know), we had to take the felt to the sink and rinse it in luke warm water, to remove as much of the soap as possible.Felt_Selfie_Rolling

Next came the 'rolling stage'. For whatever reason, Sammy loved this part of the process and really got into the fact that we had to roll 20 times for every side of the picture and then another 20 times per side on the reverse. This was definitely a highlight - funny isn't what kids enjoy!

After that was complete, I then had to rinse the felt under very hot water and then really cold water, to completely remove the soap and then squeeze out as much of the water as possible. I took charge of this part for safety reasons.

And that was it! We just had to leave the picture to dry overnight and hey presto a fab and beautifully unique self portrait!

Things that I've learnt from this which might be useful to know:

1 - 6yrs + is definitely okay, however Sammy did need adult supervision and assistance to complete the kit.

2 - Wet Felting and this kit - is perfect for children and adults - it's really good fun and I loved the process of turning the fluffy wool into a fabric.

3 - The whole process took us approximately 2 hours.

4 - There is enough merino wool provided in this kit, for two portraits (so I'm looking forward to one of my daughters also trying this out).

I haven't done it yet, but can't wait to frame one of these of each of my children and put them up on the wall - what a unique and very special piece of art!

Felt Selfie - The end result

Hope you found this useful, but if you have any questions, just let me know, thanks, Katrina x


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