Wednesday, 7 November 2012

How to Make an Advent Calendar: Part One - Get Ready!

I recently posted about getting organised for Christmas by the end of November, including gift-buying and homemade decorations. We want to have a frugal Christmas, and this means DIY and festive spirit! :)

My biggest project is a handmade Advent calendar, which needs to be completed pretty soon!

My Advent calendar is comprised of three repeating units; a stocking, a bag, and a sort of folded over triangle pocket! They will be strung up on white and red twine with their cardboard numbers held on with mini pegs, but for now you can see the basic design opposite.

I will be posting the stages of how I am making the calendar on the next three Fridays of November, so by the last week of the month the calendar should be done and dusted!

It's a pretty easy project, but a little time-consuming. From the work I have done so far I estimate that the calendar will take a total of 7-8 hours to complete (at a fairly novice rate), which means that if you want to join in, you still have time! :)

If you want to make an Advent calendar, you will need:
  • A sewing machine (it will take a very long time to make without one)
  • Needle, pins, thread, scissors
  • Approximately two metres of material. I think I used half a metre of the spotty polycotton, nearly a metre of the gingham material and part of a pair of old worn-out jeans. You can use whatever you have lying around; it doesn't matter if the fabrics are different for each unit!
  •  Approximately two metres of "lining" material. It doesn't really matter what kind of fabric it is, just something cheap and easy to work with. I think mine was cream-coloured polycotton, or perhaps it is cotton, not too sure! :)
  • Coloured ribbon or twine. You will need approximately 7 metres all together. 
  • Eight small buttons (I used white ones from an old shirt)
  • Some form of numbering. I am using numbers written onto cardboard disks, held on by mini pegs. You might want to choose iron-on numbers, or stickers, or something else entirely!

To begin:

Once you have your fabric, create a template for each of the designs you want to use. I made stockings, bags  (the rectangle template) and triangle pockets (diamond template), so my templates looked like the following:

To give you a bit of a sense of scale, the stocking and diamond shapes are about a handspan in length. Pay no attention to the fold at the top of the stocking. It should be flat and the folded part is included in the length.

I am wearing a blanket, not a skirt!
Cut out the fabric based on your templates, leaving a 0.5-1cm gap around the edge for the seam allowance.

Ensure you cut a matching pair of fabrics, so that the right sides will face out on both sides when assembled. The best way to do this is to fold the fabric in half and cut through both pieces at once.

Altogether you will need 24 units of fabric and the matching lining fabric to go with them. It's up to you whether you want more of one design than the other, or which colour fabrics you want for which. Just as long as each unit has two matching shapes of lining material and two of "good" material!

OK, easy so far! Tune in on Friday for part two: making the bags!

How to make an Advent Calendar:

Step One - Getting Ready
Step Two - Making the bags
Step Three - The Triangular pockets
Step Four - Mini Stockings
Step Five - Finishing Touches

1 comment:

Sheila said...

How pretty, I was actually just looking into finding some templates for little stockings!!
I love your last post too, i dont want to START in December, i want all the prep to be done by then...leaving me free to do fun things!