Making an Advent Calender

I am lucky to be in the position to see the advent panels from many of the fabric suppliers in the Summer months, which means I can order them ahead of time. Two weeks ago a bold of gorgeous advent panels arrived from Dashwood Fabrics. I have some new Junior Sewing Bees this year who will love making these up, but it is always good to have one ready-made for them to follow.

Most advent panels will be exactly like this – so if the one you have bought is a little different, the process is likely to be the same.

Panels generally come with instructions written on them. Following these instructions will get you to the stage of the panel sewn-up with no wadding or backing. Normally the panel is split into two parts, one that has the background of the panel and the other which has the pockets ready to be cut out on it. For the pockets, depending on the design of your panel you will cut out a strip of pockets or a single pocket. For my 2018 Dashwood panel, I had 5 strips of pockets to cut out. Read the instructions carefully so that you cut around the right lines.

Once your pockets are cut out, the normal next step is to iron down a hem on the top and bottom of the pocket or pocket strip and then go on and sew them he down on the top of the pockets or pocket strips. Next, the fold in the pocket needs to be ironed in place. For a single pocket, all that may be needed is a hem ironed down on each side of the pocket (meaning all sides are now folded over with the top one also sewn down). If you have a strip of pockets as I did, you will need to create box pleats between each of the pockets (as seen below) and then the ends are simply turned under.

Whichever way you need to iron the pockets, the next stage is to pin them on the other background piece and sew around them (side-bottom-side).  If you are using pocket strips, you will also need now to sew a line to create divisions between the pockets on your strips. This is quick and easy to do and there is a printed line to follow.

With the panel now complete with the pockets on the background, you can now trim around the background as directed in the instructions.  It is important to keep the panel as large as possible when you trim it as it will become smaller again when it is completed.

To give the calendar more body I used fusible wadding to iron onto the back. I only ever use fusible wadding for small projects, like bags, purses and calendar. It is pretty useless for larger projects. Once the wadding is ironed onto the back of the calendar use this combined piece as a template to cut out fabric for the back of the calendar. I used a Dashwood Flurry in Cream as it is in the same colour range as the panel itself.

At this point, I also added in some ribbon to create loops to hang the calendar from. I used four 8″ strips of 3/4″ ribbon. I fold them in half and placed them equidistant along the top of the calendar with the loop/fold pointing inwards and down onto the calendar (opposite to the way you may think they need to go). The backing fabric is then placed on top, with right sides together, and then sewn around with a small gap left for turning. The calendar is then turned the right way out, pressed and then topstitch all the way around, tucking-in and closing-up the turning gap.

Voila!  We are ready to pop in some chocolate coins for each day of Advent.

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GillyMac Doodle Challenge – Sewing Up Week 4

Well done team !!! We are at Week 4 with two more to do. This week’s borders seemed to be welcomed as easier across the board – with a lot of love for the loops on Monday and my ‘lie-detector’ (too much ‘Homeland’) on Thursday.  The sewing up this week reflects that these are border patters, or at least can be used in a linear fashion. I really like quilting borders. I think it means I am closer to the ‘Ta Dah’ moment of quilt completion … and also, typically, quilting the borders is easier because they are more accessible.

So this week I have sewn up the doodles in rows, as I see you using them. Below you will find two videos and a downloadable document.

  • The first one is the video you are now used to with me sewing up our doodles. You can choose how large each of your border rows will be. I started in the middle with the stars row and found something to draw around (baked beans tins are very useful) and then worked my row sizes out from there.
  • The next video is information to help you plan for doodling and sewing up corners.
  • Then there is a downloadable PDF document which goes with this second video to help you plan your corners.

 

Next week we’re moving back to ‘all over’ doodle patterns which culminate in a picture to sew which is great fun. Then in Week 6, I will teach you how to doodle ‘bump-back ‘feathers and I know you will all love the sew up for that final week.

Talk to you all tomorrow when I will be doing this weeks prize draw 🙂

 

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Guest Blog : The Making of a Baby Quilt by Jessica

Over February half term I decided to make a baby quilt, well more like a throw. I made it as a gift to my form tutor, as his partner has just had a baby. He’s also been my form tutor for the last five years so it’s also as a thank you gift. I go to sewing classes with Gill Towell of Gillymac Designs where I have made three different and unique quilts. We have also entered two quilts as a group for the National Festival of Quilts. We came 2nd with one and got highly commended in the other.

I started by looking for fabric suitable for baby boys and found that there were lots. I then had to work out what size I needed and how many squares I needed. I bought a fat quarter bundle which came with 5 different materials. As I was short of a few squares, I bought another bundle which I thought has colours in it which would bring all the fabric together  – which indeed it did!

I started off by drawing out my pattern and seeing which patterns would work well together. I then assembled it by making blocks of 9, 3 across 3 down. I decided to have 6 squares going across by 9 squares down. Once I had made the patchwork top centre,  I added the borders which I decided to have white so that it would accentuate all of the colours in the main panel. After that, I glued it to the backing using temporary glue. I then quilted the whole thing using a walking foot creating a grid design. I finished the quilt by making my own binding and sewing it around the edge. This gave the quilt a nice finish and made the whole thing come together.

The most challenging bit was adding the binding and trying to make it look neat at the corners. I also found matching the fabrics and making it look nice was quite difficult and took a long time.

My favourite part of the quilt is how it all comes together and how the colours work well. I like how the binding finishes the edges and how it brings it all together. I would definitely make it again as I had so much fun making it. There is so much effort and concentration involved and I have learnt so much from doing it.

I would do it the same way because it’s a great design and I like the way in which it turned out.

I am giving it away sometime next week before my form tutor goes on paternity leave.

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