Advent calendars are the perfect way to get excited about Christmas and a stitched advent calendar is the ideal gift to give to friends and family at Christmas. There are lots to choose from and we’ve selected some of our favourites below. If you start planning your handmade advent calendar now you can relax and enjoy the stitching without having to rush!
Jo Colwill’s patchwork advent calendar features reindeer, mini bunting and Santa climbing up the tree – what could be lovelier! She’s created an idyllic snowy scene which evokes the real magic of Christmas. Jo uses her favourite template-free applique technique to make her gorgeous advent calendar which is featured in her first book, Cushions & Quilts which is available as a print or ebook.
This stunning advent calendar by designer, Barri Sue Gaudet, is made using wool felt for the motifs so you don’t have to worry about turning over edges. Barri has created a whole host of Christmas characters which are brought to life with decorative embroidery and embellishment, such as snowmen, candles, angels and stockings,
You Will Need
- 91.4 x 111.8cm (36 x 44in) cream fabric for pockets and borders
- 30.5 x 111.8cm (12 x 44in) light green fabric for borders
- 30.5 x 111.8cm (12 x 44in) red fabric for borders and tabs
- 58.4 x 61cm (23 x 24in) backing fabric
- 38.1 x 38.1cm (15 x 15in) white wool felt
- 25.4 x 25.4cm (10 x 10in) wool felt in:
- 40.6 x 40.6cm (16 x 16in) freezer paper
- 91.4 x 45.7cm (36 x 18in) medium-weight fusible interfacing
- 61 x 58.4cm (24 x 23in) lightweight wadding (batting)
- embroidery thread (floss)
- 15.2 x 15.2cm (6 x 6in) double-sided fusible webbing
NB: templates need to be enlarged by 200% before using.
1 Cut out 25 12.7 x 8.9cm (5 x 3½in) pieces of ecru fabric for the pocket fronts. Fold each in half wrong sides together so that each front is 6.4 x 8.9cm (2½ x 3½in). Attach a 5.7 x 7.6cm (2¼ x 3in) piece of fusible interfacing to one side of this folded piece to add strength. This is the side you appliqué.
2 Following the template, trace the scalloped piece on to freezer paper and then iron to the white wool felt. Cut out 25 pieces. Repeat for the festive designs but using the wool felt colours. There are three snowmen, three hearts, three stars, three candles, two trees, two baubles, two reindeer, two candy canes, two angels, two stockings, and one Santa Claus.
3 Trace from the template or embroider the designs freehand on to the scalloped pieces and festive designs – using the image below as a guide. Glue the wool felt appliqué pieces in place on the pocket fronts. Be careful not to let your designs go past the 6mm (¼in) seam allowance along the bottom edge. The scalloped top should be level with the fold in the fabric, and the designs in the middle of each pocket.
4 Whipstitch the wool felt appliqué pieces to the pocket fronts using one strand of matching embroidery thread being careful not to catch the back of the fold in the stitching. This is meant to fold over and line the backs of the pockets to cover the knots and threads.
5 Cut out 25 pocket backs out of ecru fabric 8.9 x 8.9cm (3½ x 3½in). Pin or baste the pocket front (back folded down) to each back with the bottom and side edges even. 2.5cm (1in) should be left on top for more embroidery.
6 Cut 20 8.9 x 2.5cm (3½ x 1in) pieces of the light green fabric. Sew one of these through all the layers to the right side of the first four pockets in each row. The fifth pocket in each row will have a joining border later. Join these pockets together into rows by sewing the left side of pockets two to five to the right side of pockets one to four in each row. Press the seams towards the light green border.
7 Cut four 3.8 x 43.2cm (1½ x 17in) strips of the light green fabric for the horizontal borders. Join the rows together leaving the first row free of a top horizontal strip and the fifth row free of a bottom horizontal strip. Press seams towards the light green borders.
8 Cut two 49.5 x 2.5cm (19½ x 1in) strips of the light green fabric for the side borders. Sew to the sides, and press seams open. Cut two 2.5 x 47cm (1 x 18½in) strips from the same fabric and sew to the top and bottom. Press seams open.
9 Cut two 52.1 x 2.5cm (20½ x 1in) strips of the ecru flannel. Sew to the sides and press seams open. Cut two 2.5 x 49.5cm (1 x 19½in) strips of the same fabric. Sew to the top and bottom and press the seams.
10 Cut two 54.6 x 3.8cm (21½ x 1½in) strips of the red fabric for the final border. Sew to the sides and press seams open. Cut two 3.8 x 54.6cm (1½ x 21½in) strips of the same fabric. Sew to the top and bottom and press open.
11 Using a wash-away pen trace embroidery lines to the remaining 2.5cm (1in) top of each pocket and the ecru border, following the template.
12 Attach lightweight wadding to the back by pinning, tacking or with fabric adhesive to create a quilted effect while stitching. Stitch embroidery work following the guide.
13 Remove any tracing lines with a damp sponge.
14 Cut five 15.2 x 8.9cm (6 x 3½in) strips of red fabric. Fold each in half along the 15.2cm (6in) edge, right sides together. Sew this edge, turn right side out and press. Fold in half to create a loop, and pin or tack the tabs along the top edge.
15 With right sides together, sew the 58.4 x 61cm (23 x 24in) piece of backing fabric to the front, leaving an opening for turning. Clip the corners and trim edges to 6mm (¼in). Turn right side out and whipstitch the opening closed to finish the project.
16 To decorate the border, backstitch the vines with two strands of green. Lazy daisy stitch the holly leaves with two strands of green and add French knots with three strands of red for the berries.
Backstitch the nose with two strands of orange. French knot eyes, mouth and buttons with one strand of black. Backstitch the arms with two strands of brown. Backstitch the scarf with two strands of blue (a).
French knot dots all round with three strands of pink (b).
French knot a berry in the centre with three strands of red. Lazy daisy stitch the leaves with two strands of green. French knot dots at the points with three strands of yellow (c).
Backstitch the garland with three strands of yellow. French knot the dot on the top of the tree with three strands of yellow. French knot the tree ornaments with three strands of blue (d).
French knot the berries with three strands of red. Lazy daisy stitch the leaves with two strands of green. Backstitch the flame highlights with two strands of orange. Backstitch the candlewicks with one strand of black (e).
Backstitch the stars with two strands of white. French knot the dots with three strands of yellow. Backstitch the top of the bauble with three strands of grey. Backstitch the hanger with one strand of black (f).
Backstitch the stripes with three strands of red. Tie a bow around the centre and secure with glue (g).
Backstitch the antlers and legs with two strands of brown.
Lazy daisy stitch the ears and tail with two strands of brown
French knot the nose with two strands of brown.
Backstitch the collar with two strands of red.
French knot the bells on the collar with two strands of yellow.
French knot the eyes with one strand of black (h).
Backstitch the halo with three strands of yellow. French knot the dots on the dress with three strands of yellow. Backstitch the arms and legs with three strands of peach (i).
French knot the dots with three strands of red.
Lazy daisy stitch the moustache with three strands of white. French knot the eyes with one strand of black.
This project was excerpted from Make Me I’m Yours Christmas and was designed by Barri Sue Gaudet.
You can find our latest Christmas fabrics ranges for your advent calendar projects in our store.