Tag Archives: gifts

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.


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!



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.


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!


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.





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.



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.


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.


Some sewing-related birthday goodies!

7 Nov

It was my birthday last week, and I got given a few lovely sewing-related goodies, which I thought I’d share with you.

First let me show you this beautiful handmade bag that my lovely friend Marion made me. It’s a little bag for storing your underwear in when you’re travelling – particularly if you’re only taking cabin baggage, so that, if your bag happens to be searched, your underwear doesn’t go flying everywhere on show to the world! What a great idea :)



Marion has a just published a post on how she made this bag on her blog, if you want to check it out.

Another beautiful handmade thing in the form of a birthday card from my parents (how awesome is that?!), along with a couple of other sewing-themed cards.



These are so going in frames on the wall when I get my sewing room!

Some new patterns from Marcus to add to my list of things to make:


Very excited about these, I feel some By Hand London mash-ups coming on!

And my lovely sewing buddy Clare gave me a book all about various crafts, with lots of stuff for home – I plan on using a lot of the ideas from here when we get our house :)


I particularly like this idea of using a small wooden wine crate as a hidden key box.


Before I started sewing, when Marcus or my parents or my sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I never really knew what to tell them. I think that, once you get to the stage of life where you are earning a decent salary, most of the time, if you want something, often you can just buy it, rather than having to wait until your birthday/Christmas. But since I began sewing, I have no end of patterns and various other sewing bits that I’d like, but can’t quite justify buying all of them myself! And having a hobby like sewing means that people come across things that they think you’d like too :)

I will leave you with this, un-sewing related, but unbelievably awesome present from Marcus, a little sloth necklace!

IMG_2782How cute is that?! It comes from Mark Poulin’s etsy shop, and I first saw it months ago and absolutely fell in love. Although I warn you now, do not click that link if you don’t have good willpower – I could quite easily buy up half the items in that shop!

All in all, a very good birthday. Marcus arranged a sort-of-surprise meal out for me (I knew we were going out, I had a pretty good idea where, but no idea who was coming, which I think is the best way!) to a pub that does the best slow cooked lamb I have ever had in my entire life. Ever. Ever. It was a brilliant evening, so thank you to everyone who came along to help me celebrate.

chinelo bally

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