Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Advent Calendar Tutorial

Yesterday I posted about the advent calendar I put together for our family.

Here's how I did it:
  1. I measured the Ghiradelli square to see what size my pocket would need to be, and added enough allowance for seams (about an extra 1/4 inch all around). I cut out a template for cutting out the squares.
  2. I then measured the spacing I would need between, under and above each pocket (essentially I eyeballed it, but it was about 1/2" between & 1" under each pocket) and determined the dimensions of the background. To that I added an extra inch on each side, top and bottom. (I cut out two of these pieces so that the front and back looked polished.)
  3. I found a dowel rod in the studio and looped a piece of fabric around it to determine how much height I would need to make the pocket for the dowel rod. Again, I added an inch to that for seam allowance.
  4. I cut out all the pieces and sewed the front piece and back piece to the rod-pocket piece only.
  5. I also pressed the seam allowances in on all the pockets and sewed a finishing seam on the top edge of each pocket.
  6. I then printed out numbers at 212 pt on cardstock to use as a template for the pocket numbers; I then traced these and cut them out of fabric scraps. I used iron-on tape to adhere them to the pocket fronts.
  7. I pressed the bottom hem on the calendar front and back pieces so I was certain of the "top and bottom margins" of the front piece.
  8. Once all the pockets were prepared, I pinned them on the front piece, making sure all the spaces were even and remembering to take into account the side seam allowances of the front piece.
  9. I sewed around the sides and bottoms of all the pockets.
  10. Then, I turned everything so that the wrong sides were facing and sewed up the sides of the calendar, stopping just before the rod pocket piece.
  11. Turning everything right sides out, I folded in the sides of the rod pocket to match the side seams, and hemmed the bottom to tidy it up.
  12. Now it's time to slip in the rod and tie a ribbon to it so it can be hung up, filled, and enjoyed!
Fabric Notes:

The solid red pockets are made from an old T-shirt. I used the bottom hem of the t-shirt as the top edge of the pockets -- on less edge to finish!
Green pockets are Hobby Lobby's Brother and Sister brand quilting cotton.
Red Gingham was a remnant I purchased -- also quilting cotton.
Numbers are all made from felt, the t-shirt mentioned above, or scraps from the back piece of the calendar.
Special thanks to Crafty Kathleen over at Etsy for the birdy fabric I used as the front of the calendar. It's to die for!
Back piece of calendar was another fabric remnant in red ticking.

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