DIY Fabric Advent Calendar

Take 2: Ever spend forever typing up a post or type an essay (oh high school days!) and it wipes out on you for no apparent reason? Yeah…I didn’t think that happens anymore but it did. SIGH

So November came and went and here we are approaching Christmas already.  Where has the year gone?!?!

I’ll be the first to admit – I’m completely ignorant when it comes to holiday traditions.  Until I married my husband who came from a typical American family, I had never celebrated Christmas in any traditional fashion. I grew up in a Buddhist household and we are first generation Americans. The extent of my celebrating Christmas includes my sister and I hopping on a city bus and riding to Target for a cheap Christmas tree and decorating it with whatever we could find.  There were never any gifts under it – if there were, it was old things we’d wrap out of construction paper to make ourselves feel happier about Christmas.

Advent

I live in such a great community now.  When December rolled around the neighborhood ladies started talking about Elf on the Shelf and the Advent calendar (as a part of our group chat) – things I’ve heard of but have never given much thought because I kept telling myself it wasn’t something I wanted to do or because I don’t have time for it. But REALLY – don’t I want my kids to grow up with these great traditions that will help them grow up to be kind and loving people, especially around the holidays? So I gave it some thought and decided that the Advent calendar was something I wanted to do. I got some ideas from Pinterest and had the urge to get this project done ASAP because I was clearly already behind.

My mother-in-law is an amazing quilter so I knew she had tons of fabric so I went over to her house after work Tuesday and got some fabric.  Not going to lie – I stopped at Michael’s first hoping there was something there I could buy first but they didn’t have anything but a book. After choosing the fabric I wanted, I went home and got to working and it took me two nights to finish this project.

Advent 4

I didn’t think this was something I was going to share, so I didn’t take any pictures prior to this step.  But here’s a list up to this point:

  1. Choose a back panel and cut to 24 x 30 inches. What I used is a beige denim, but I saw many projects using linen. If you chose a lighter/thinner fabric, you may want to have two panels and add batting to make it more quilt-like for sturdiness.
  2. Choose 6 different types of fabric designs. You only need 4 4×5 pieces of each, so it doesn’t require much at all. Or do 4 designs and do 6 pieces of each design – whatever is easier. I trimmed each piece to a width of 4 inches first, sewed it all together to make a strip of 6 pieces each, and then trimmed the top and bottom so they would all be the same height.
  3. Add a border using one of the designs of fabrics that you chose. I have a Janome sewing machine which I love and have had since my husband and I got engaged 12 years ago – I don’t sew much, but I enjoy having a use for it when I come up with a project! I don’t know how to work the corners and my mother in law tried explaining it to me – but I just did whatever worked at the time.Advent 3
  4. Fold the top down about 1/2 inch and sew to hem.
  5. Fold in the sides and bottom about 1/4-1/2 inch and sew to hem. All four sides of your fabric strips should be hemmed and free from frayed sides at this point.
  6. Add ribbon across the top of the strips so that you can add numbers for the countdown later (I used burlap ribbon) and sew it down (I just sewed one line across the top of the ribbon). I tucked them under when I sew these strips to the back panel in Step 8.
  7. Line up your strips and pin them down where you want to sew them down. The lines on the denim was especially helpful here!
  8. Sew your strips down from one end  to the other (in a “U” shape leaving the top open), tucking any lose ribbon ends if you didn’t secure them previously.
  9. Sew between each fabric piece to form a pocket.
  10. Add the numbers. I used black cardstock and numbers dies and glued them down using Multi Medium Matte adhesive. This step was very tedious, but it brings it all together!Advent 5
  11. I got brave here. I wanted a title for the calendar and didn’t know or have supplies for an ink transfer, so I free-formed it using a black fine-tipped Sharpie.  When I was done, I went over it with a broad-tipped Sharpie and added thickness to the downstrokes to create a faux calligraphy look. I’m sure inhaling these fumes were good for the baby…NOT.Advent 6
  12. Make the tags! This part I’m familiar with! I used some more dies (don’t worry – it will be linked at the bottom of my post) and cut out 24 of them for each pocket out of white cardstock.  Then I blended some color around the edges using some distress ink.Advent 2
  13. Write on the tags! If you want to go traditional, you can write scripture on them. I wanted to do fun activities for the kids – promote family time or acts of kindness. You can get lots of great ideas from Pinterest. I had to look at several pins before I got my 24 activities – I wanted to keep it simple and something I knew we could commit to EVERY year.  I tried my best to practice my brush handwriting here.  When I was done handwriting them all, I laminated them, punched a hole and added some green twine.Advent 1
  14. When I was all done, I realized I didn’t add a hanging mechanism, so I grabbed two scraps from the border fabric and made two loops for the top corners of the panel to insert a dowel. My husband shortened the dowel for me and I used some thick natural twine to make a hanger.

Advent

I’m so happy with how it turned out – and my husband likes it! So we’re going to give it a go and see if this is a tradition we want to keep doing each year. If not…it’s a great Christmas decoration! hehe. New activities are fun and I’m going to do my best to stay diligent with the kids each day.

I hope you like it too! Thanks for following along!

SUPPLIES:

*Disclaimer: I am not being paid by any company to promote their products. I make cards using stamp sets and materials which I love and I love to share. To view where these items can be purchased, click on the linked abbreviations below (SU for Stampin’ Up!, SSS for Simon Says Stamp, EH for Ellen Hutson, AMZN for Amazon, LF for Lawn Fawn, MFT for My Favorite Things, etc.).

Distress Ink Colors: Barn Door, Scattered Straw, Pine Needles, Tumbled Glass

Materials not listed below: Various fabrics, sewing machine, white thread, Ribbon (I used burlap ribbon), fine and broad-tipped Sharpies, dowel, Twine/String for hanging, decorative twine for the tags.

 

MFT Stitched Traditional Tag STAX
MFT Stitched Traditional Tag STAX EH | SSS | MFT

MFT Emmit Numbers & Symbols
MFT Emmit Numbers & Symbols

Basic Black Cardstock
Basic Black Cardstock
Mini Multi Medium Matte Glue
Mini Multi Medium Matte Glue EH | SSS
EK Success Craft Tweezers
EK Success Craft Tweezers EH | SSS | AMZN
Tim Holtz Mini Distress Inks
Tim Holtz Mini Distress Inks EH | SSS
Ranger Mini Round Foam Blending Refills
Ranger Mini Round Foam Blending Refills EH | SSS | AMZN
Ranger Mini Round Blending Tools

Ranger Mini Round Blending Tools

EH | SSS | AMZN


Tombow Fudenosuke Brush - Soft - Black Body
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush – Soft – Black Body
Neenah Solar White 80 lb
Neenah Solar White 80 lb EH | SSS

1/4 Inch Circle Handheld Punch
1/4 Inch Circle Handheld Punch

Big Shot
Big Shot
Big Shot Magnetic Platform
Big Shot Magnetic Platform EH | SSS | AMZN
Standard Cutting Pads
Standard Cutting Pads EH | SSS | AMZN

Paper Piercing Tool
Paper Piercing Tool
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4 thoughts on “DIY Fabric Advent Calendar

  1. Very cool advent calendar. I have one that I bought almost 30 years ago from Avon. It has the little pockets and a fabric mouse and you move the mouse each day. I liked to slip little notes in the pockets when my kids were little. We also celebrate St. Nick’s Day, so I would leave little hints to clean their rooms so St. Nick would want to leave them a little something in their stockings. Sometimes I would leave little pieces of candy, ie. Kisses, etc. It was a fun tradition and the calendar gets put up first each year. Even the kids coming home from college enjoy the comfort of these traditions.

    Liked by 1 person

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