Christmas Advent Tutorial

Hi! I’m Rach H, and I blog at Family Ever After. I am Lil Luna’s sewing contributor, and I love to sew!

Here’s a little bit about me… I am from South Dakota (my husband and I both grew up there). I have 4 sisters, and I love country music, sunflowers, clogging, and running. I went to college at BYU, where I majored in Family and Consumer Science
Education. I taught middle school sewing for a year. I’m now living my dream being a mom to
3. I’m very passionate about letting my kids “help” me do projects.
Basically, my blog is a big mish mash of things I love: sewing,
crafting, food, family, travel, gardening, pictures, and a big sewing
contest called Sew-vivor.

I’m so thrilled that Kristyn asked me to guest post for Christmas in July. Here are a few questions she asked me to answer:

1 – What is your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holiday is…. Christmas! Growing up in South Dakota, we almost always had a beautiful White Christmas. I treasure the memories with my family on that magical day.

2 – What is your favorite Christmas Tradition?

My favorite Christmas traditions…. are from my childhood, including sleepovers with my big sister on Christmas Eve, making Swedish pancakes, and making up a Christmas play to perform for our parents.

3 – What is your all-time favorite Christmas Movie?

My all-time favorite Christmas movie is…. “White Christmas,” which we watched every Christmas night. “Holiday Inn” is a close second (both are old movies starring Bing Crosby).

4 – What has been the best present you’ve ever received and why?

The best present I’ve ever received…. Well, we got married on Dec. 20, so that was a pretty special gift. Another cool present was last year, my mom had every single one of our childhood pictures scanned onto several discs and made into digital form. What a big job! And such an awesome present!

5 – Why do you blog?

I blog because…. when we moved and my husband started a crazy busy job two summers ago, I decided to pass the time and motivate myself to get things done. So I began Family Ever After. It’s been a really fun journey, and my husband is the blog’s biggest fan, which makes blogging extra fun.
Here is the tutorial I’m sharing today…..

 Since I’m Lil Luna’s sewing contributor, I thought it would be fitting
to share the Christmas Advent tutorial that I did last year. I posted this on
my blog as a sew-along, and here it is for the first time in one
tutorial.

Before I get to the tutorial, let me share with you a few thoughts….
This beautiful calendar was sold at Pottery Barn a few years ago. They don’t sell it anymore, which is why I decided to make it. The original price was something like $150, which I thought was outrageous. It cost me roughly $20 to make this. But in all honesty, now I understand the high price. Why? Because it took me nearly 30 hours to make this!!! If I had known it would take me so long, there is no WAY I would have made it! I think I could have been just as satisfied with a store-bought calendar on 50% off, or a much easier homemade idea. (Ok, maybe not. I am pretty proud of it)! I really am so excited to have it, and to use with with my family for years to come. I’m just glad its done!!!

Mine and Theirs:A lot of my squares are different than theirs, so its not a total knock off. :)
Supply List
–2 yards green felt
–1 yard muslin (to practice tracing your tree’s shape)
–quilter’s batting (the kind that is flat, i bought Christmas snow)
–1.5 yards interfacing
–craft glue
–thread and embroidery floss
–needles (we will be hand sewing and machine sewing)
–felt (lots of colors… green, red, pink, white, blue, black, yellow, cream… get different shades of each of these)
–embellishments: googly eyes, ribbon, buttons, puff balls, white glitter paint
–numbers (what’s your plan? I’m going to chain stitch mine).

here’s the Christmas “snow” that I purchased.

Part 1

  1. Think it over in your mind. What colors do you want your squares to be? What types of decorations will you be doing? Exactly like Pottery Barns’? Or a few with your own spin?
Here’s what I’m doing….
I cut 25 squares 4inches by 3.5 inches. You can get 6 squares out of one piece of felt using those measurements. I used brown, dark red, cream, green, yellow, turquoise, and light blue felt.

 

2. Then lay them out on your piece of green felt, so you can get a feel for what it’ll look like. I used the same spacing that Pottery Barn did, 7 rows of 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, and 6 squares. *The way I have them laid out here is too close together! I forgot to add space for the numbers that I will be embroidering underneath. This is just a rough draft.
3. I figured out the spacing of my squares, by turning them lengthwise on my felt. Now I have plenty of room for everything. Now its time to cut the tree. I placed a piece of muslin over my squares, and free handed the shape of my tree. I referred to the Pottery Barn picture many times to get it just right.
If you mess up, just cross out the marks that you don’t like, and keep going until your shape is just right.
4. Fold your muslin in half, and cut it all out.
Then place it on your tree, and cut it out. I love it!
*You will want 2 layers of felt for your tree. I used the expensive, pretty, real wool felt for the front of my tree, and a cheap felt for the back of it.
Here’s the general shape so far.
8. Cut out a tree stump and a star. I want mine both to be 2 layers thick. I used one sheet of brown felt and folded it in half. For the star, I used 2 sheets of felt. (I free handed a star on a piece of muslin before cutting).
9. At this point, it is a good idea to come up with a “list” of pocket decorations you plan on doing. I got started on the easy ones first.

Part 2

Time to design your pockets!

I used this tutorial for a lot of my ideas.

Basically, the only step is….put on a good movie and start cutting!
Here is a close up of each square so you can see the details that went into each one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3

Now it is time to embroider all your decorations. I used a combination of backstitching, chain stitching, french knots, and just “eyeballing it.” I won’t take the time to explain how to embroider, but look on youtube if you don’t know how to thread a needle or do these stitches.In random order, here are my finished pockets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I unpicked the zigzagging and re-sewed the edge over with a straight stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 4

1. After all the squares are embroidered, iron interfacing to be back to protect your stitching.
Here’s my stack!

2. I forgot to take a picture, but for this step, you need to fold each pocket over 1/8 an inch and sew a straight stitch. This will protect the top edge of your pocket when you are taking objects in and out.3. Arrange the squares on your tree. Then pin those puppies so they stay put. This is a big job! I zig zag stitched mine, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you could hand sew them all. (Pretend the numbers aren’t here yet).

4. Now its time to add the numbers. There are several ways this can be done. I embroidered mine by back-stitching. I didn’t do a perfect job (i.e. some look like a 3rd grader could have done them, haha).

5. Time for the back layer. (It’s a different color- this felt was cheaper. It won’t matter at all).

First, I added a pocket to mine. This way I can store the pieces of paper that have our activities written on them. Next, I cut out my batting, using the back layer as my pattern. I used Christmas tree “snow” as my batting.
Here’s how it looks.

6. Now attach the batting to the back of the back layer. I did little pin tucks in a few places, then basted the edges together with my sewing machine.

7. Now, for the nerve-racking job. Place right sides together, and stitch around the tree. I followed the edge of my presser foot. Make sure to leave a large opening at the bottom so you can turn it right side out!

We’re sewing 3 layers together- front, back, and batting.

8. Now my sewing is done. Make sure you left a large opening! Clip your corners of the swirly parts of the tree, and turn right side out.

9. Make you star and tree stump. I sewed mine together, turned them right side out, stuffed with cotton, then top stitched.

(Remember top-stitched around this after stuffing it with batting).

10. Now we need to top stitch around the entire tree, while adding the tree stump, and closing up the bottom. Pin the bottom opening together, and layer the stump in there.

11. Final touches: Remove your basting stitches. Figure out a way to hang it… I can’t find my D-rings, so for now, I just hand-sewed a temporary hanger. Then, sew some cute snowflake buttons through all 3 layers (this will help keep things in place).

Holy Moly, it’s done!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s 56 inches tall, bigger than my 5 year old daughter!

If you’d like to see my list of advent activities, scroll to the bottom of this post!
Thanks for having me to celebrate with you, Kristyn!
Merry Christmas in July everyone!
xoxo, Rachel
Family Ever After…. see you there!
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Discussion

  1. 1

    I have always wanted and needed an advent calender. Thanks for the inspiration. I am having a Christmas fabric swap on my blog if you want to come on over and sign up. It is a great way to get all the Christmas fabric for little projects like this one. http://bolohead.blogspot.com/2012/07/christmas-in-july.html

  2. 2

    Oh how cute! I just made my youngest a Noahs Ark with a bunch of animals out of felt so that he would have something quiet for church. It took forever but is so worth the time. I cant wait to make your advent calender…. ThAnK YoU for sharing :)

  3. 3

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! It’ pinned and I’m SO making it!

  4. 4

    That. Is. Amazing. I LOVE it!!!

  5. 5

    wow! such a detailed, well organized post! LOVE it! I love this being hand made, and something to enjoy with ones family, children, grandchildren (hope for some soon!) and pass down generation.

    Thank you for posting this.
    hugs
    -gina
    gina recently posted..Make it pretty, Spice Cupboard.My Profile

  6. 6

    Adorable! I am off to buy some felt! ;)
    The BearFoot Baker recently posted..Parchment Paper Light Box for Natural LightMy Profile


thnx
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