Have a collection of fabric just waiting for the perfect project? Saving leftover scraps of Spoonflower fabric that you just can’t bear with? The Spoonflower Quick-Sew Project Book was created with you in mind! Featuring 30+ DIYs organized by the size of fabric needed (from swatches to fat quarters to multi-yard projects), this book will be your new go-to resource for unique projects for your home, your wardrobe and your kids.
One of our favorite projects in the book is Anda’s Advent Calendar, which only takes a yard of quilting-weight cotton, such as Organic Cotton Sateen and hangs on a bit of twine. These handmade tiny pockets store candy or small treasures that keep you or your little ones counting down the days until Christmas. Create a mix of designs with Spoonflower’s Fill-A-Yard® Cheater Quilt template or use scraps of fabric that you already have.
DIY Advent Calendar Materials
- 1 Yard of Organic Cotton Sateen or other quilting-weight cotton*
- 8″ woven cotton swatch of numbers for your buttons
- 1.5 yards of 1/6″ elastic cord
- 24 3/4″ Self-cover button shanks
- Embroidery needle and thread
- Baker’s twine, ribbon or string to hang the pocket as garland
*Your fabric should be large enough to yield 96 4″ squares.
Before you get started, upload your preferred number swatch template linked in the materials list to your Spoonflower account and order on a swatch of quilting-weight cotton:
1. Cut the fabric into 96 4″ squares. Each pocket will be made of four squares (two outer pieces and two for the lining). If using multiple fabrics instead of one design for every pocket, divide the squares at this point to keep everything organized.
If you want larger pockets for your advent calendar, simply increase your square dimensions when cutting out your fabric!
2. Place a lining and an outer piece right sides together. Straight stitch a 1/4″ seam along one side of the fabric.
If the fabric has a direction, sew the top seam.
3. Repeat with the next two outer/lining squares, except this time cut a 3-4″ length of elastic cord and fold in half. Tie the end in a knot to make it easier to work with, then tuck the cord, folded-end first, between the seam, and pin in place. Straight stitch the seam as before, sewing over the cord to make a little loop (this will be to fasten the shank button).
4. Open up your sewn pieces and press the seams open. Place the right sides together (lining against lining and outer against outer), and pin. Straight stitch a 1/4″ seam along both long sides and along the bottom of the outer fabric.
5. Trim off the excess fabric at corners and turn right side out. Sew a straight stitch 3/8″ from raw edge to close the remaining open lining seam, then tuck the lining into the outer part so that you have a 3 1/2″ square pocket. Press flat. Repeat these steps until you have 24 pockets.
6. Cut out all the button numbers (follow the circle guides). If you have self-covering buttons, place a fabric circle face down and centered into the button mold, and place a front button piece face down. The fabric will naturally bunch and fold over the top of the back of the button piece. Tuck it in completely and then place the back button part over the bunched fabric, shank out. Use the hard plastic tool provided to press the back part into the front, sealing up the fabric around the button. Repeat with the remaining 23 buttons.
7. On each pocket, make a little pencil mark 2″ from the top center on the opposite side of the pocket from the elastic loop. Attach the button here.
8. Fill all the pockets with candy or small treasures like stickers, erasers, temporary tattoos, etc. To finish, just fold the top of the pocket with the loop over the baker’s twine and fasten around the button. Repeat with each pocket all along your length of twine until you have a garland!
I’d love to make this but I have a question – what stops all of the pockets from sliding to the middle together when I hang the bakers twine? It seems like the weight from the bags would pull them all together into the middle (does that make sense?).
Hi Gretchen, it looks like the tutorial was written in such a way that the twine is pulled taunt, which would prevent the bags from sliding towards the middle. You could also try adding large beads in between the bags to keep them from sliding. I hope that helps! – Spoonflower team
I’m trying to make this project, the the fill-a-yard doesn’t allow to make a yard like you are showing.
We’re sorry to hear our site is giving you trouble! When setting up your Fill-A-Yard project, have you selected the cheater quilt template in the template dropdown menu? If you haven’t already done so, we recommend reaching out to email@example.com for additional assistance.
What a fun reusable Advent calendar, for years to come, and a great use of holiday scraps. Seems like a great project.