Pocket Advent Calendar Tutorial

{Just re-posting this in case you missed this one too.  Shared during Gwen’s Haul out the Holly.}

I’ve always wanted to make an advent calendar for my girls, so when Gwen asked me for a Christmas project, this was my chance.

While this isn’t the quickest project to make, it’s easily constructed with just some basic sewing skills and will make great memories for you and your family.  For my pockets, I included little activity cards.  So each day of the calendar we have a fun activity planned. 

Of course I couldn’t resist throwing some candy in here and there.  Here’s a free printable of all the cards with the activities I have planned so if you’d like, you can print them out, too.

Materials needed:

1/4 yard cuts of preferably 5 different prints, or you could definitely do this with scraps
1 yard of muslin (to line the pockets and back the base fabric)
1 yard linen or base fabric for your calendar
1 yard fusible interfacing (I used an extra heavy drapery interfacing that was extra wide, but if you’re using other fusible interfacing you can just cut and fuse pieces into place since most interfacing is 22″ wide)
bias tape or ribbon for hanging
1/4″ wooden dowel
number stamps (can be found at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby)
ink pad
1/2″ wide twill tape
(2) 3/8″ grommets

{1/4″ seam allowances unless otherwise stated}

Cut your pieces:

For the individual pockets, cut one front and one lining piece both 4.5″ wide by 3.5″ tall.  Cut 25 of each.  Next cut 25 twill tape pieces to a little over 4.5″ wide.  Cut the calendar base and backing fabrics to 30″ by 30″.  And for the dowel pocket cut one piece 27″ wide by 3.5″ tall.
Sew the pockets:
Place the twill tape on the front pocket piece lining the bottom of the tape about 2″ from the bottom of the pocket. 
Sew down both sides of the twill tape to secure. 

Next, place the front pocket and pocket lining pieces RIGHT sides together.  Sew around perimeter leaving a 2″ opening in bottom of pocket.  Clip corners, turn right side out through opening.  Press.  Repeat for all 25 pockets.  Set aside.

Sew the calendar base:
Fuse interfacing to WRONG side of calendar base.  Place calendar base and backing RIGHT sides together, pin, and sew using a 5/8″ seam allowance, but leave a 6″ opening in one side for turning.  Clip corners and turn right side out.  Press.  Be sure to tuck in raw edges left from the opening you left for turning and topstitch around entire perimeter of the calendar base. 
Sew the dowel pocket:
{This can more easily be done using twill tape or ribbon, but I used fabric, if you choose to use ribbon or twill tape just remember to tuck in the raw edges of the ends of the tape or ribbon and sew down each long side}
Press the short edges towards the WRONG side by 1/2″.  Fold the fabric in half the long way RIGHT sides together and sew entire length.  With a safety pin, turn right side out and press. 
Pin at top of calendar base backing and stitch both the top and bottom long edges.  You’ll wait until the end to slip in the dowel, it’s just there to give everything more stability for hanging.
Sew on pockets:
Arrange all pockets into a 5×5 grid and pin in place. Sew all 25 pockets into place, stitching down the right side of each pocket, across the bottom and up the left side.  Be sure to back stitch at the top of each side of each pocket.  I found the best way to sew the pockets on was to roll the calendar up so it tucked into the arm of my machine, sort of like how you might do it for quilting a quilt.

After you have sewn on all your pockets, it’s time to stamp the numbers on them. Using your rubber number stamps and black ink stamp the numbers 1 through 25 on the middle of each pocket’s twill tape strip.

Attach grommets in both top corners of the advent calendar, slip the dowel into place, and it’s ready for filling and hanging!  This would also be a really fun project to use some colorful felt for the pockets, too!

15 thoughts on “Pocket Advent Calendar Tutorial

  1. inday_adin says:

    I really love this project and thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Adin B

  2. Tanya-Yanata says:

    your calender is so cool! thank you for sharing! my long-term dream is to make one. and you’re right about “throwing some candy in here and there”… maybe I will after all:)))in some pockets?

  3. CraftCrave says:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [09 Jan 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  4. Cate says:

    *another* great tutorial!! And I love the way you used such bright beautiful fabric (and not cheesy xmas stuff – although that can be fun too 🙂

  5. Maxabella says:

    Another fab tutorial by the master. You are such a beauty! x

  6. erica says:

    great tut! I love that you posted it so soon after the holidays…maybe I will get my act together and make it before next Christmas! thanks 🙂

  7. wow! I love your blog It’s plenty of beautiful projets and your explainations are really clear! I’ll become one of your followers and i’ll be anxious of seeing your next project!

  8. Denise says:

    I love this…I will be making one for next Christmas. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Roselee says:

    Thanks for sharing, Anna. An advent calendar is on my long list of want-to-dos, and I love that yours has cards with activities (not just toys/treats).
    One thought: some twill tape out there is polyester and bleeds when stamped – yours looks cotton – maybe specify cotton twill tape in the tutorial?

  10. Katy says:

    Thank you for sharing. I should really work on this and get it done for next year.

    I love your fabrics too.

  11. Dr. Dolly says:

    thanks for the great tutorial! Here’s the one I finished JUST in time for advent this year.

    @drdolly Traveling with Baby

  12. nattles says:

    Where is that fabric from?

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