Sunday, April 13, 2014

DIY Fabric Advent Calendar

I have wanted to make an advent calendar for several years and loved the look of the $70 Pottery Barn ones.  I found this advent calendar template at a sewing store years ago and attempted to start it every year. I never managed to get to it before Christmas, so this year I decided to tackle it once the holiday chaos was over.

I'm not sure how much I paid, but I recently put "advent calendar" into the search on and found some of these similar fabric panels for $5-$10. You start by cutting out the main panel.

Cut out all of the squares.

Iron over top seam on all the pockets and stitch. Make box pleats in between each pocket on strips. Press side seams over in between each pocket, bringing together on central dotted line. I used a gold thread, which wasn't easy to work with, but looked great on on the fabric.

Press over seam allowance at sides and at bottom of each pocket to enclose box pleat. Tack and hold in place.

Pin pocket strips and single pockets to calendar (matching to numbered squares). Top stitch side and bottom edges.

Stitch in between each pocket using dotted line as guide.

All pockets sewn on:

Another picture of the calendar with pockets:

Now it's time to back the calendar with fabric. I first wanted to use a beautiful red velvet but it was the biggest pain to keep still when attaching to the calendar. After several attempts and ripped seams, I decided to use a more durable, easier to sew, duck canvas. I was a little disappointed because I love velvet, but I'll keep it for another project. I'm not sure what is the proper way to back a calendar and I don't think I picked the easiest route, but it got the job done.

Line up and pin the fabric at the top and right edge of the fabric with right side of the calendar facing down.

I wanted a 1 1/2" border around the right and left edge and planned to give the top and bottom a little more width.

Sew the right side. Measure 3 1/2"

Turn right side out, press making sure there is an even amount of fabric on each side. Top stitch along both edges to keep it in place.

Measure the bottom edge and cut a piece of fabric 1" longer than the width by 4 or 5", depending on how thick you want the bottom edge. Press 1/2" on each shorter side of the fabric to match the width of the calendar. Place right sides together and sew.

Press in 1/2" along the bottom edge and fold the fabric upward to cover up raw edges. Press the bottom edge and pin.

Sew 1/4"  from top edge of the bottom panel and again at the bottom. Sew the right and left edges of the bottom panel to keep them closed.

Repeat most of these steps for the top, except leave the right and left sides open to fit the rob. I used a Levolor decorative cafe rod, adjustable 22" - 40" in length, 7/16" thick.

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