Thursday, October 21, 2010

Advent Calendar Wall Hanging - A Tutorial

Not excited about another $2 cardboard Advent Calendar with penny candy already sealed inside? Neither was I. If you're going to have a calendar prominently displayed in your home for almost a month, it should look a little nicer than that, right? So I designed this calendar for last year's Advent. It comes together quickly and the pockets are roomy enough for a delicious treat or two!

You will need:
• 1 fat quarter of my Advent Calendar fabric, available from Spoonflower (Each fat quarter makes TWO calendars—one for you and one to use as a gift!)
• 24 5" x 4.5" squares of holiday-print fabric (charm squares work great - just trim 1/2" off one side)
• 2 4.5" x 8" strips of coordinating fabric for hanging tabs
• 2 17.5" x 28" pieces of white fabric for background
• Strips for binding
• Wooden dowel and ribbon for hanging
• 17.5" x 28" piece of fusible batting (I think fusible batting is perfect for small wall hangings)
• Fusible webbing for appliqueing numbers and title header

1. Sandwich your fusible batting between the two white background pieces and press to fuse. I didn't do any quilting on mine, but if you would like to do all-over quilting on the background, now's the time!

2. Prepare header and numbers. Decide which header—red or green—you want to use. Cut the fat quarter in half, separating one header-and-number-set from the other. (Set aside the other set to make another calendar as a gift later.) Fuse the entire piece to fusible webbing. Cut out header strip and cut each calendar number into a circle shape. It's difficult to see in the photos, but there are light gray lines around each number to use as a guide for easy-peasey circle cutting.

3. Prepare pockets. Along a 4.5" edge of your printed squares, fold in 1/2" and press. (This will be the top of your pocket, so if you have a directional fabric like I do below, plan accordingly). Fold in another 1/2" and press again.

4. Top stitch about 3/8" from pressed edge with coordinating thread.

5. Fold the other 3 edges in 1/2" and press. Turn corners under as you are pressing, as shown above, for a neat mitered corner. You should now have a 3.5" square pocket. Repeat until you have 24 pockets.

6. Add numbers to pockets. Decide on a layout/order for your pockets. Fuse a number to the front of each pocket, centering it by using an ironing grid. Applique as desired (I'm not much of an appliquer, so I did a simple straight stitch 1/8" from the raw edge in white thread).

Note: The print on your pocket may show through the numbers a little if you use Spoonflower's quilting-weight fabric. It didn't bother me that much, but if you don't like it, you could always order your Advent Calendar fat quarter in one of their heavier fabrics, like the linen-canvas blend.

7. Arrange header and pockets on background. Position your header strip about 1" from top edge of background piece. Arrange your pockets below the header in 6 rows of 4. Don't overthink your positioning—my pockets were spaced about 3/8" apart, but if they're not 100% precisely aligned and spaced, it will still look fine. Pin pockets to background piece. Pin them slightly loose, so they'll be roomy enough to hold treats!

8. Attach header strip to background. Fuse header strip by pressing. Using your walking foot, applique the header by sewing a straight stitch in coordinating thread 1/8" from top and bottom edges. Don't worry about the side edges—they'll be hidden by the binding.

9. Attach pockets. Using your walking foot, topstitch each pocket onto the background by sewing 1/4" or 1/8" from pressed-under edges on three sides (right, left, and bottom). The walking foot is a necessity—using a regular foot will cause your pockets to slip and go crooked, or they'll be too tight to put anything in them!

10. Prepare hanging tabs. Fold each 4.5" x 8" strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and sew 1/4" or from raw edges to form a tube. Turn inside out and press.

10. Bind. Before pinning binding to the front of your wall hanging, position hanging tabs with one short end aligned with top edge of the wall hanging, about 3" from each side. Pin binding over top of the tabs, as shown, and sew binding to front of wall hanging as usual. Before sewing binding onto the back of the wall hanging, loop the tabs over the top edge and hide the other end of the tabs under the binding on the back.

11. Slide hanging tabs onto wooden dowel. Use ribbon to hang your wall hanging. You're now ready for Dec. 1!

And yes, that's the birdie from my blog header, making another appearance on the Advent Calendar header. I think he's becoming my mascot. : )

In addition to the standard Advent Calendar goodies, I also put a slip of paper into each pocket that describes a holiday-themed activity that my girls and I can enjoy that day. Whether it's decorating cookies, making a homemade Christmas tree ornament, or just drinking hot cocoa together, we have something fun to look forward to each day of Advent.

I hope you'll try this one yourself! Enjoy!


Leslie said...

this is such a great idea...thanks for the instructions.

Weatherbee ;) said...

OH my gosh! This is SO cute! This is definitely at the top of my to-do list for Christmas! Love it!

~Teresa :)

My Sweet Prairie said...

sweet! Very creative!
I had to make our own because we open our gifts on the night of the winter solstice. (21 days)

A.J. Dub. said...

Yay! I am so excited! Thanks for doing this!

Elizabeth D. said...

Gorgeous! I was just thinking about an advent calendar as a gift for my sister, who used to give me a paper one every Christmas. Thank you!!

Georgia said...

Very nice! I made one (or used a kit actually!) last year. i really like the idea of having the same one each year - something for the kids to look forward to getting out of the Christmas box each December. :-)

Amber said...

I love it! But you have to tell us- what charm pack did you use? I love the fabric!

Amy Cooke Designs said...

I love this idea - I have just moved out of my parents house, so instead of a usual bought advent clander, I'll definitely be making one of these!!!

Faith Hope Cherrytea ~ said...

what a deliteful calendar for advent and liking the activity slip idea too!

Lee said...

Amber, I used Figgy Pudding for the pockets (not a charm pack actually, but scraps I had on hand). Thanks to everyone for your comments, and let me know if you make one!

Rachel Hauser said...

Such a pretty project! Nice tut.

Quiltjane said...

I love this. You should put it on the ModaBakeShop.

Cherie said...

I LOVE this! Sadly, I think I'll have to wait until next year to make "to do" list before Christmas is absurdly long!

Kati said...

I really do love this. Maybe I'll make it next year. My kids will be old enough next Christmas to start understanding it a bit more. I love your idea. I also have loads of Figgy Pudding scraps that could use a home :)

Katy said...

I've been searching for MONTHS for the perfect advent calendar and through a twist of fate I happened upon this post from Gen X Quilters' post on my google reader. I've finally found the advent calendar I've been searching for. Thank you, thank you!! Yay!

magdi said...

Thats really awesome! Could you please help me, what kind of fabric did you use for the white background? thanx

Cyndi Nelson said...

I just love this wall hanging! I think I am going to make one for my little grandsons for this Christmas.

Thanks you!

mutley said...

I'm a complete novice and can't quilt (yet) but I took inspiration from your tutorial to make my own advent wall hanging. Thank you!

Amy said...

I love it! I made the same thing...only using my paper crafting supplies! I am going to make this next as it will be more durable! Gorgeous! Instead of putting candy in each pouch, I put a piece of paper inside each pocket. On each piece of paper I have printed an activity that we do as a family: telephone carolling, paper crafts, good deeds, Christmas baking, colouring, dancing, games, etc!

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