This year, ditch the shop-bought advent calendar and replace it with this easy-sew version instead. Combining Scandi- look clean lines and monochrome prints with a pop of colour, not only will it look good hanging in your home, but filling its pockets each year creates a lovely tradition, too.
Choose the treats as a family, or surprise little ’uns with a selection of mini toys, candy canes, and heartfelt festive messages. We love that these pockets are big enough to fit in plenty of goodies, but if you prefer, you can easily scale it down to make a smaller version.
50cm (193⁄4″) patterned fabric, (we used Sevenberry Lightweight Canvas in Poco Black)
Felt in blue, green, orange, pink and yellow
Matching sewing thread
Webbing, 1m (393/8″), 1cm (3/8″) wide
Dowel, 60cm (235/8″), 1cm (3/8″) wide
Make your own advent calendar
You Will Need
Using the templates, cut out the numbers for each day – 1 through to 24 – from different coloured felt. We printed the templates onto transfer paper, ironed the transfers onto the felt, then cut out each shape. But, you can just draw around the templates if you prefer.
Cut out a 56 x 93cm (221/8 x 365/8″) piece of cotton canvas. Cut a 56 x 14cm (221/8 x 51⁄2″) piece of patterned fabric for the bottom trim, and a 56 x 16cm (221/8 x 63/8″) piece for the top trim. On both pieces of patterned fabric, fold one long edge to the wrong side (WS) by 1cm (3/8″) and press.
Lay the cotton canvas right side (RS) up, with the short edges at the top and bottom. Mark a horizontal line 13cm (51⁄4″) up from the bottom edge, then place the bottom trim on top, RS up, and aligning the long raw edges. Fold up the bottom trim so the fabrics are RS together, then pin along the crease, making sure it stays in line with the chalk mark. Sew along the crease, then fold the fabric back down, aligning the long raw edges.
Repeat Step 3 with the top trim, this time drawing the line 15cm (6″) down from the top edge.
Turn over the main fabric so the WS is facing up. Fold the two long side edges and the bottom edge to the WS by 1.5cm (5/8″), then again by 1.5cm (5/8″), keeping the corners neat. Pin, then sew in place. Fold the top edge to the WS by 2.5cm (1″), then again by 2.5cm (1″). Pin, then sew 2cm (3⁄4″) down from the top edge, creating a channel.
Cut six 43 x 23cm (17 x 91/8″) pieces of cream canvas for the pockets and mark a 1.5cm (5/8″) seam allowance along each edge. Fold one piece in half along the length, aligning the raw edges, then pin and sew one short edge and one long edge. Trim the excess seam allowance, and turn RS out. Fold the open short edge to the WS by 1.5cm (5/8″) and press. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
With the main fabric RS up, mark several points 20.5cm (81/8″) down from the top edge. Fold one pocket in half along the length and mark the centre. With RS up, and the folded long edge at the top, align the bottom of the pocket with the marks, matching the centre points, then pin in place. Repeat with the other pockets, lining up each one below the pocket above.
Sew along the bottom and side edges of each pocket strip, 0.25mm (1/8″) in from the edge.
Next, measure and pin a line vertically down the centre of each strip. Repeat 10cm (4″) out from the centre on either side to make four equal-sized pockets. Sew along the pinned lines, then press.
Use the fabric glue to stick the numbers centrally onto each pocket, then leave to dry.
Thread the dowel through the channel at the top of the calendar. Wrap one end of the webbing around a dowel end, sew to secure, then repeat at the other end.
We hope you enjoyed making Anna’s project. Make your own advent calendar and share a picture with us on Instagram using #molliemakers, and don’t forget to subscribe to Mollie Makes to get creative inspiration delivered to your door every month!
Anna is a designer, maker and craft writer based in London. She is passionate about eco-ethical, handmade projects and creating unique makes that you will love forever. Find her latest designs over on Instagram @aalicialondon.