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3 Dec 2014

My Last Minute DIY Advent Calendar

I hadn't planned on making another DIY advent calendar this year, but somehow this past Saturday evening I just had to make one.  I blame it on the Ferm Living calendar I keep seeing everywhere and a little ornament that I found with the boys while going through Mummu's Christmas decorations.  The ornament was one that I got from the child care I went to in Finland.  They had a house advent calendar and each of the children were given a day when they could open the surprise.  I was about 4 or 5 years-old then and it all came back as soon as I saw that little ornament.  I can't believe my  mom still had it!

The calendar that I made is house shaped and I made it a little more colourful for my boys.  I tend to make a lot of things for them monochrome (like last year's calendar), but I wanted to make something really fun for them this year.  It even has some orange which is my oldest's favourite colour.  This was a total last minute, unplanned project, but I was happy to finish it just in time for Dec. 1!  I've included a mini tutorial at the bottom of this post (even though it's already Dec. 3) just in case you still want to make one or if you'd like to attempt this next year.
You may recognize the fabric that I used for the pockets.  It's the same Marimekko PVC-coated fabric that I used for the pouf I made.  I had saved all these triangle shaped scraps of the fabric and they worked perfectly for creating the pouches.  There was the added bonus that, because the fabric was PVC-coated, I didn't have to hem each pouch.  This made the sewing go a lot faster.

To keep things simple I just printed off the numbers (from here) and clipped them on with mini clothes pins.  I wanted to keep the numbers small so that the beautiful Marimekko pikkujatski fabric would show.  The calendar that I printed had a few of the numbers written out and since Little Pilot is just working on letter and number recognition, I glued on small wood stars on those ones and wrote the numbers on them.  I'm also using the felt stars I made last year.  I've placed the cooresponding felt star to the numbered pocket to help my younger one be able to find the right one each day.

What you'll need to make your calendar:
- a heavy weight fabric/canvas for the base cut to a 22" x 36" rectangle (I used this striped fabric)
- 24 contrasting fabric rectangles/squares cut to various sizes.  (I used PVC-coated Marimekko fabric received from FinnStyle)
- 6" length of bias tape or ribbon
- wooden dowel cut to 19" long
- coordinating thread and sewing machine
- numbers (mine were from this free printable) and mini clothespins 

How To:
*since I made this very last minute and mostly in the evening, I am missing some photos of the steps, but I've written it all out below.

1.  Once you have cut your base fabric to the size specified above.  Hem both of the long edges using 1/2" double hem.  After you have hemmed the long edges create a bottom hem on one of the short edges that is a 1" double hem.  The photo above is showing the hemmed edges and the general shape of the finished product. *you do not need to sew the triangle point just yet!

2.  If using bias tape (to make the loop for hanging the calendar), sew the bias tape open edges together to create a strip.  (*If using ribbon, you can skip this step)

3.  Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise with right sides together.  At the unfinished end of the folded fabric, sandwich you ribbon or bias tape loop between the fold so that the loop is inside the fold and the ribbon/bias tape ends are sticking out (on the right in photo 3.)  Now pin and sew using a 1/2" seam allowance along the unfinished end catching the bias tape as you go.

4.  Turn out your seam so that it forms a triangle.  Press your seam flat and then turn it right side out.

5.  With your triangle turned right side out and the back of the calendar facing you, sew along the base of the triangle just above the hemmed edge, but leave an opening at one end that will allow you to insert a dowel.  The dowel will rest along the bottom edge of the triangle/the seam you just sewed.

 6.  Lay out your rectangles that will be used as your pockets along the calendar.  You may need to play around with a little to get them to fit as you would like.  You can also trim your pieces as you go along to get the configuration you would like.  Once you've laid out all your pockets pin them and sew them in place along the sides and bottom leaving an opening at the top.

7.  Insert the dowel through the opening you left in step 5.  Right out the numbers 1-24 onto card stock (or download them like I did) and clip them onto the pockets.  Fill the pockets with various treats, activities, etc. as you count down to Christmas
That's my super last minute advent calendar, but I am so pleased with how it turned out!  The boys and I have already had a lot of fun with it!

sharing here: linkpartypalooza


  1. it looks great! you even made it coordinate with co-pilot's pants :) Our calendar was very last minute this year, too. Someday I'll get an advent calendar tutorial up before December!

    1. Haha! I didn't intend for them to match, but I do tend to dress him in black and white a lot. :)

  2. his is awesome! it is so fun- love the mix of color with your back and white!

    1. Thanks so much Cassie! The kiddos seem to really like all the bright colours.

  3. Hi! Just love to idea that you used "vahakangas" = PVC-coated fabric. And I love the colors of your calendar. Saako tänne muuten jättää kommentteja suomeksi? :-)

    1. Of course! I read and speak Finn fluently, but writing takes a little longer for me so I'll just respond in English if that's okay. :) The coated fabric really saved a lot of time when putting the calendar together.

  4. Love, love, love it! I like how it's not a "typical" holiday advent calendar. Love the mix of patterns and colors. So fun. Thanks for using the fabric remnants to the max :-)

    1. Thanks so much Erica! The fabrics were all so beautiful that I can't seem to throw any of it out!

  5. I love this idea, and the way it looks. It's very scandi!

  6. It is seriously the most unique advent calendar I've ever seen, and it's beautiful enough to double as decor! I LOVE IT.

  7. Mahtava! Tosi hieno! Blogisi on vallan inspiroiva 😊

  8. I love the colours you've used with this it looks fabulous!

  9. SO cute!! I've never done an advent calendar. I just can't seem to plan that far ahead haha

  10. kaunis ja tyylikäs kalenteri! Olen muutaman kuukauden seurannut blogiasi ja olen aina vain ihastuksissani. sinulla on niin pettämätön tyylitaju ja hienoja ideoita. täältä on mukavaa ammentaa uutta omaankin kotiin :) hyvää itsenäisyys päivää ;)

  11. This is so awesome Anu! I love that it looks like a house with windows. Love the embellishments too! Super fabric collection you have :)


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