How to make a fabric advent calendar

Whip up this DIY advent calendar to add a home-sewn touch to your countdown to Christmas. This step-by-step guide includes a free advent calendar sewing pattern.

Fabric advent calendar tutorial

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for sewing fun and festive Christmas decorations! Our easy to sew advent calendar is the perfect way to create a new family heirloom that will last for years and become a firm favourite part of childrens’ festive rituals!

If you’re looking for fabric advent calendars to sew then this free sewing tutorial, designed by Rebecca Reid, is one of our favourite festive sewing projects from the Simply Sewing archives.

Read on to find out how to sew your own DIY advent calendar, including scrap-busting pockets in pretty patterned fabrics with space in each one for a little treat.

Free advent calendar sewing pattern

How to make a fabric advent calendar

You will need:

  • Main fabric: 80x75cm (32x30in)
  • Window pocket fabric: see instructions for details
  • Wadding: 80x30cm (32x12in)
  • Felt: charcoal, two sheets 20x30cm (8x12in)
  • Felt: white, three sheets 20x30cm (8x12in)
  • Bondaweb: 40x90cm (16x35in)
  • Stranded cotton: green
  • Small red beads
  • Small button for doorknob
  • Dowel: 48cm (19in)
  • Eyelet: black
  • Ribbon to hang
  • Matching sewing thread
  • Advent calendar free sewing pattern

We’ve used…

We got the fabrics for our version from our local Hantex stockist:

  • Main fabric: Imprint by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery fabrics. Crossthread Pure. Ref: AGFIMP10454
  • Pocket fabrics:
    Festive by Jo Clark for Cloud9. Fairy Lights (ref: C9FES140233), Festive Peppermint Twist (ref: C9FES140506), Festive Snowflakes (ref: C9FES140702)
    Curiosities by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery fabrics. String Lights Carmin (ref: AGFCUR29133)
  • Felt: 1mm thick 100% charcoal and white felt from Wool Felt Company


Use a 1.5cm (58in) seam allowance, unless otherwise stated.

Download our Free Advent Calendar Sewing Pattern PDF here

DIY advent calendar tutorial


Total time:

Cutting out the fabric

Step 1

Cut the main fabric into two pieces, 80x30cm (32x12in) each, for the front and back of the house. Cut two binding strips 4x26cm (158x1014in) each, for the dowel casing.

Step 2

For each window pocket cut two squares 9x9cm (358x358in). You need to cut 23 pockets so use a variety of fabrics to make them. We used the house fabric to line the pockets but you can use the same fabrics for both the front and back of each pocket if you prefer.

Cutting out the felt

Step 3

Trace over all the numbers from the template then draw over the back of them so you have them traced in reverse.

Step 4

Place the bondaweb paper side up over the reversed numbers and trace over them.

Step 5

Iron the traced bondaweb to the felt, using charcoal for numbers 1-23 and white for number 24. Cut out all the felt numbers along the traced lines then remove the paper backing.

Step 6

Trace the roof snow and ground snow from the template. You need to trace two of each of these onto the bondaweb but one should be the mirror image of the other so turn the traced snow over and trace the reverse for the second piece. Press each of the snow pieces to the white felt and cut out then remove the paper backing.

Step 7

Cut a 10x6m (4×238in) rectangle of charcoal felt for the door.

Making the window pockets

Step 8

All the pockets are made in the same way and you can either appliqué the numbers on them so they are placed randomly or all in order. Decide which fabric you want to go where and which numbers to place on them before you start making them.

Step 9

Lay the cut out felt numbers centrally on top of each piece of front pocket fabric and press into place. Stitch your numbers in place carefully either by hand or machine.

Fabric advent calendar tutorial step 9

Step 10

Take the front and back of two pocket fabrics and place them right sides (RS) together. Stitch together all the way round the edge leaving a small gap along one side for turning.

Step 11

Clip corners then turn the pocket right sides out and press the turning gap under. Topstitch along the top edge of your pocket.

Fabric advent calendar tutorial step 11

Making the door

Step 12

Press then stitch the white felt number 24 to the felt door piece following the positioning guide on the template.

Step 13

Draw a circle for the wreath on your door using white pencil. Stitch around the circle using four strands of green stranded cotton in backstitch. Stitch small lazy daisy stitches around the circle to form the wreath. Stitch small red beads around the wreath to decorate. Sew the small button into position for the doorknob.

How to make an advent calendar

Attaching the pockets

Step 14

Trace the outlines of the house (not including the snow) and cut it out. Place the template centrally on the wrong side (WS) of one of the house fabric pieces, draw round it and cut it out. Cut the other house fabric piece and the wadding to the same size using the template.

Step 15

Place one piece of cut out house fabric RS up and, following the template for positioning, place the windows and door onto the house measuring accurately to pin them into place so they run in straight lines.

Step 16

Stitch the pockets and door into place by topstitching just 2-3mm (116in) from the edge, down the sides and along the bottom.

Fabric advent calendar tutorial step 17

Making the dowel casings

Step 17

Take the dowel casing fabric and turn all edges of each strip under by 1.5cm (58n) all the way round. Press.

Step 18

Pin one piece of casing to the back piece of the house 3cm (1¼in) up from the bottom and 1.5cm (58in) from both sides. Machine stitch into place close to the edge almost all the way round, leaving one short end open.

Step 19

Repeat for the other casing strip but position this one 19cm (7½in) down from the top of the house’s roof.

DIY advent calendar tutorial

Assembling the house

Step 20

Lay the house back with casing attached RS down with the wadding on top then the house front with pocket windows and door attached RS up on top, aligning all edges.

Step 21

Take one binding strip and place it RS together down one side of the house front matching raw edges. Stitch in place all the way down the length of the house.

Step 22

Take the other strip and stitch down the other side of the house in the same way.

Advent calendar tutorial step 22

Step 23

Turn the binding strip over to the back of the house, turn the long edge to meet up with the line of machine stitching and top stitch into place.

Stitching the snow

Step 24

Take the roof snow pieces and place one over the top of the assembled house, bondaweb side down. Place the other behind the back of the house, bondaweb side up following the template for the positioning and making sure they encase the cut edges of the house. Press into place so they are bonded together.

Step 25

 Topstitch the two snow pieces together all the way round close to the edge of the felt. Bond and stitch the ground snow pieces to the bottom of the house in the same way.

How to make an advent calendar step 22

Finishing off

Step 26

Cut the dowel in half then slip one length through each casing. Slip stitch the short side closed to hold them in place.

Step 27

Punch an eyelet in the top of the house in the centre of the roof and loop the ribbon through this ready to hang.

Advent calendar sewing pattern how to

Hooray now your advent house is complete! Fill the pockets with small sweets or gifts with a special one in the door for Christmas Eve.