Creative Reuse: Turn Fabric Scraps Into a Homemade Advent Calendar
Use your fabric stash to make a holiday keepsake.
Over the years we have tried to make a few different types of Advent calendars. This year we decided to make one that did not take up a lot of space, would be easy to store and large enough to hold a fair amount of goodies. Best of all, it uses up scrap fabric that’s been taking up space in our home.
- solid fabric for backing: two panels cut to 21.5 inches wide by 31.5 inches tall
- various printed or colorful fabric (enough to make 24 “pockets”)
- ¼ inch dowel rod cut to 23 inches long
- 12 inch piece of twine
- masking tape
- sewing machine and matching threads
- graph paper
We decided that we wanted the pockets for the Advent calendar to be different sizes. However, you can just make them all the same size if you want. Use a piece of graphing paper to mark out your design. Use colored pencils or markers to plan out the color scheme too. Measure and mark the dimensions of the pockets directly on the wrong (plain) side of the fabric and cut out. Remember to add a 1/4 inch seam allowance around all of your pockets!
Take the two 21.5 x 31.5 inch backing fabric with right (pretty side) facing each other and sew together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the panel. Leave a 4 inch opening at one end of the panel. Snip off the corners of the fabric. Turn the panel inside out; the right side (pretty side) of the fabric should now be facing out. Press the panel with the iron and pin the opening close. Top stitch a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the panel.
Make Rod Casing
Measure the top of the backing panel about 2.5 inches down.
Fold the flap down, press, then sew in place, leaving an opening at both ends. This is where the dowel rod will be inserted.
Press the 1/4 inch seam allowance around your pockets. Label each pocket as you go so you don’t forget which number it is. Before you begin to piece the pockets together, it’s good to go ahead and add the numbers to the front side of the pockets. We chose to hand embroider the numbers. You can use fabric paint to stencil, add number appliques or even use paper tags with the numbers on them.
Sew the tops and bottoms of the pockets. It’s easier to piece together the rows of the pockets first before you add it to the backing. Sew the pockets side by side with the right sides facing each other. On our calendar, sewing all the pockets together didn’t work out in all the rows due to the fact that we made some of them random sizes. After you piece the pockets together, press them with the iron to flatten out the seams.
Lay out your pockets onto the backing to make sure that you like the layout. Leave a 2 inch border on the sides and bottom of the panel. Pin the pockets in place before you start sewing.
Start sewing from the bottom and move up as you go. Remember, that each pocket will have the bottom and two sides sewn directly onto the panel.
Once all the pockets are sewn onto the fabric, cut away straw threads and press the panel once more. Insert the dowel rod into the casing and tie the twine onto both ends. Hang your Advent calendar and add little surprises into the pockets.