Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Little Sewing Tutorial - Advent Calendars

 Advent calendars are a happy memory.  In our Christmas boxes, I have kept calendars from many years -- a Hallmark version, a Tomie dePaola calendar, one from Germany.  The little windows are all permanently folded open and they look pretty raggedy, but I could never throw them away.  On the Antiques Roadshow, they call old paper things like this "ephemera"  --   so much classier than "old paper things."

This year, I made several Advent calendars.   It all started with this:
I wanted to make something nice for a chili supper/auction a friend was organizing, and since it was in late November, thought an Advent calendar would be a fine idea.

I already had most everything I needed, having just purchased some wool felt in beautiful colors from BenzieBazaar on Etsy.  

I used this pattern from Skip To My Lou for inspiration, and put a Bible verse, a chocolate and a suggestion for something fun to do that day in each little felt envelope:

Then I cut out circles of brown cardstock and little larger circles of scrapbook paper, punched them and tied each envelope closed.  
I needed something to display the calendar on, and just happened to have an old window frame upstairs that I was trying to decide what to do with -- it worked perfectly.  

That evening, after the auction was over, I got a note from a friend who asked if I would make her one.  Of course.
This one was a little different -- I glued wooden discs to buttons and sewed them on, then tied twine to the flaps and wound it around the buttons to keep the envelopes closed.  

THEN, I decided to make two more calendars for the boys.  I had many different Christmas prints, so decided to sew up 48 little bags.  Here's how I did it:

First, I measured out strips of material, 18" long by 6" wide.  (I did take a picture measuring and cutting, but my cutting board looks so awful -- paint, sticky stuff, etc. -- I just can't post it here.  But I'm sure you get the idea.)

Next, turn down the narrow edges twice to form a hem, press and sew.  (I didn't measure -- I know you are shocked.)
Sew up the sides.  (See, I told you this was easy.)
Then, pinch the corners together and sew across.  Again, I didn't measure.  Just choose a width and sew all your corners the same.  Remember, the wider you make that pinch, the wider the bottom of your bag will be.
It should look like Batman:
When you are doing a bunch of something -- little bags, quilt pieces, etc -- it works nicely to chain them together as you sew, one right after the other, then clip them apart.
Flip inside out, and viola!  A little bag!
Then I made some little clips with mini clothespins and wooden discs that I fancied up a bit:
And a bit more on the second go-round:

 Fill them with treats (which I got at the Dollar Store -- pencils, Little Debbies, granola bars, candies, straws, etc.)
and hang them up
or put them in a basket
(A few of the treats were a little too big for the bags.  I need to remember that for next year!)

I started a pinterest board of Advent calendars, and am already thinking ahead to next year -- I think recycled, painted vegetable cans just might be my next project.


1 comment:

  1. How fun! I love this idea, and the fabrics you chose -- the whole thing. I, too, have an old Tomie dePaola calendar -- love him. And you know I love Germany :)