A homemade fabric pocket advent calendar

17 Nov

I always liked the idea of having an advent calendar that wasn’t a cardboard one, or a chocolate one (much as I like chocolate advent calendars), but one with pockets or drawers that you can fill yourself, and would perhaps become a family heirloom.

So last year I decided to make one of these advent calendars, and fill it for Marcus. I had a look around online for inspiration, and decided on a simple design with rows of pockets.

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This was shortly after I’d received the batch of fabric I got from freecycle, and I managed to make the entire thing out of the freecycle fabric, other than a couple of pieces of felt that I bought to make some red and green pockets, and some Merry Christmas ribbon to go along the top and bottom. Included in my freecycle stash was a small strip of squares that spelled out Noel – absolutely perfect for the job!

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I made this fairly early on in my sewing days, and probably didn’t do as good a job as I could have done. I essentially just cut out each of the squares, folded under the edges and stitched them down (except for the felt, which didn’t need it), making a bit more of a proper hem on the top edge, and then sewed each pocket onto my backing fabric. The Noel squares were a bit smaller than I made the rest of the pockets, and they also didn’t have enough leeway to turn in the top and the bottom edges. Instead, I sewed a strip of red ribbon along the edges on these squares.

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I did also have plans to knit a couple of the squares, but I only managed to get halfway through one before I ran out of time, so had to give up on that idea!

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Some of the pockets I made a bit more of an effort with, and embroidered (I use that term loosely!) some Christmassy designs onto. These are some of my favourite pockets, particularly the baubles one. I used some sparkly thread for some of them, which worked really well. I sewed over the designs two or three times, which made the colours stand out more, but I think also gives them a really nice ‘sketchy’ look.

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The backing fabric was a loose weave fabric, sort of like a light hessian, and it was perfect for the job. I folded over the top edge to make a tube, which I then threaded some spare tent poles through, so that I could tie ribbon onto the ends, and hang it from an over door hook. I also hemmed the bottom edge, and left the sides unhemmed, and I sewed Merry Christmas ribbon along the top and bottom.

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If I recall correctly, I cut it a bit fine time-wise and struggled to get it all finished before the 1st December, but just about managed it. I also only just got it finished before my previous sewing machine decided to die on me.

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This year we are going to share the filling of the advent calendar, so I get to open some too – yay! When I suggested that we do half each this year, Marcus said that he had been planning on filling it for me, so we could take it in turns – how sweet is he?! :) But sharing makes it easier as well – I have to admit, it was hard work finding 24 things to fill it with that were small enough to fit in the pockets!

Although it only gets used once a year, it’s nice knowing that we will hopefully use this for years to come.

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12 Responses to “A homemade fabric pocket advent calendar”

  1. Marion November 17, 2013 at 15:00 #

    This looks very sweet! Keep us up-to-date with the contents of the pockets.

    • Kelly November 17, 2013 at 15:23 #

      Thanks Marion! Hehe, will do!

  2. Emmely November 17, 2013 at 16:35 #

    Sounds like it will become a nice tradition! What kind of gifts did you put in last year?

    • Kelly November 17, 2013 at 16:39 #

      I had a wide assortment of things – some warm toasty socks (only 1 per day!), a couple of mini bottles of wine, a lovely little oil lamp and sword-style letter opener from an antique shop, a some cinema tickets, some lamb kidneys (I did only put them into the calendar a couple of minutes before he opened it, don’t worry!), a spork…I can’t rememeber what else! It was hard finding things small enough!

  3. SeamsOddLouise November 17, 2013 at 17:15 #

    Fab. I’ve been meaning to do one of theses for year. One of these days. Hope you find some nice treats to put in!

    • Kelly November 18, 2013 at 11:46 #

      Thanks Louise! I’d better start hunting for treats for this year!

  4. Ruth Procter November 17, 2013 at 18:41 #

    A lovely advent calendar – I really like the embroidered pockets, the baubles are particularly effective!

    • Kelly November 18, 2013 at 11:47 #

      Thanks Ruth, I really like the baubles one :)

  5. Daniela November 17, 2013 at 21:29 #

    That is a great advent calender! And your embroidery looks so cute. And you really gave him lamb kidneys, hihi. Raw or cooked? I always get a chocolate advent calender from my mum :) But I was also thinking about making one, maybe next year!

    • Kelly November 18, 2013 at 11:49 #

      Thanks Daniela :) The embroidered ones are definitely my favourites! I did really give him lamb kidneys, raw. He’s a big fan of offal to eat, I’m yet to be convinced! You should definitely make one, it’s so easy, and fun thinking of things to put in.

  6. Claire (iwanttobeaturtle) November 23, 2013 at 15:08 #

    I love this! I started to cross stitch one years ago but didn’t make it past the third square. Perhaps one made on the machine is the answer – it will definitely be quicker!

    • Kelly November 23, 2013 at 23:18 #

      Thanks Claire! Hehe, I can imagine a cross stitch one would have taken some time! I do like sewing for that over knitting – much easier to pull something together quickly!

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