Well it's getting close to the Holiday Season, so I thought I would share this Advent Calendar I made last year. It is a pretty simple project to do, with just some basic sewing skills. My daughter really enjoyed getting a surprise each day, and the pouches are big enough for your to get creative with your choices.
Step 1: Materials Needed
For this project you will need:
*One Large piece for the back. I used a 36x36 package I got from my local craft store. But the actual size needed is up to you, mine ended up being about 20" wide by 36" long. I don't have it in front of me for the exact size.
*Several smaller pieces for the pockets and decorations. I used 9x12 felt sheets I got from the local craft store. It took four pieces for the pockets (6 squares from each piece). And then I used a few pieces of printed felt for the decorations. Oh, I substituted a fancy piece for day 24.
Sewing Machine (you could hand sew, but it will take a while)
Sharpie or Fabric Paint
Pieces of plastic, cardboard, etc. (For putting inside the pocket while gluing decorations on)
Photo Hangers, Thumb Tacks, or Nails (For hanging on wall)
Step 2: Cut Felt to Size
The first step is to cut all your felt to size.
You need to decide how big you want it and how big each pocket will be.
Mine was 36"x20" and each pocket piece was 4"x4".
That worked out so that each pocket was about 4"x3", because you have to leave room for goodie, and there was about 1 inch in between the pockets.
Once you figure out your size cut out all the pieces.
Step 3: Sew on Pockets
Lay out your pockets so you know where they go and pin to the back piece of felt. I did one row at a time, by pinning all the pockets for that row down and then sewing down the whole piece without lifting. While sewing I would do a quick back up stitch where the pocket began and ended, and then I would just lift slightly and move to next pocket. The piece of thread between pockets is then cut off later.
Once you sew down one side, then draw a mark where you want the pocket width to be, keeping the pin mark on only the part that will be covered by the pocket. Now scrunch up the pocket and pin down. Then sew all the way down the row like you did with first row. To be honest, I did not even pin down this step, I just used the black marks I made to line up as I sewed. So pinning is optional.
Once you do all the rows Vertically, it is time to do the bottom of the pockets.
Gather up the material for each pocket, making a few pleats, so that it is evenly distributed along the bottom edge and pin down.
Do that with each row horizontally. So that you can sew one whole row at a time. Sewing the whole row at once helps keep it even.
Sew the bottom of pockets down, removing pins as you go.
Note: I did all my rows starting from the right because I did not do a lot of measuring, then when I got to the left side after all the pockets were sewn down, I just cut off the excess felt from the base to match the other side. My base piece was already really large, so I was not worried about running out of space. So don't let the "Math" of figuring out exactly where each pocket goes scare you. It can be done with just an estimated size.
Step 4: Trim and Cut Threads
Now you can cut off all the little pieces of thread between the pockets. If the thread does not bother you, it can be left.
If you did not measure the back piece exactly, now you can trim the left edge to the same size as the right edge.
Step 5: Add Hangers
To add hangers I rolled up a couple pieces of felt and sewed down the edge. Then I made a loop and attached to the to top corners.
I hung my calendar with two hook type photo hangers, placed a little wider than the calendar on the wall so it would hang better.
Step 6: Decorate and Add Numbers
Decorate the calendar however you like. I used a Sharpie for the writing, because at the time I did not have any fabric paint. You could get very fancy or keep it simple.
When adding decorations to the pockets, be sure to line them with some plastic so the glue does not go through and glue your pocket closed.
Add the days for counting down, start with 1 or 24. I have seen it done both ways. Some like the last one to say Christmas, and use 25 squares, with the last one bigger. I decided on 24 because I grew up with it being 24 days until Christmas, with the last gift on Christmas eve. So be creative, add your own beliefs, ideas, or whatever.
Now fill it up with goodies. I did not want my kid to have chocolate every day, so I used small trinkets, stamps, a stamp pad, stickers, candies, nail polish, etc. Search the dollar store, it can get expensive.