It's Christmas in July!!! Hi everyone, it's Melissa from Happy Quilting :) Don't you just love the Christmas season??? So full of joy and magic, and of course, lots and lots to do :) Each year I find our schedule gets more and more packed as we add in new Christmas Traditions. Last year, I sat down on Nov 30th and wrote down a list of all the Christmas joys, traditions, parties, etc that we didn't want to miss out on. Then I looked at the calendar and started plugging things in. It worked out pretty great and took away so much holiday stress and most importantly kept the Christmas Spirit in the home. So this year, I want to keep that same spirit alive but of course, turn it into some quilted goodness.
So with that in mind, I came up with the Christmas Traditions Advent Calendar. Each day from Dec 1st to the 24th, you will find a little scroll tucked underneath the flap (or you can do a pocket if you prefer, there are instructions for both) . Each morning Mom, Dad, or one of the kids get to pull out the scroll and find out what Christmas Tradition we will do that day. Some are big, (like seeing the lights, building a snowman, or going caroling) and some are small, (like reading a Christmas story, having hot chocolate with marshmallows, or singing our favorite Christmas songs together.) But most importantly, we don't miss out on any of our favorite Christmas Traditions and we keep the holiday spirit in our home all month long :)
So would you love to make a Christmas Traditions Advent Calendar?? Well great, just pop on over to Burgundy Buttons where Leah has worked up an adorable Christmas Traditions Advent Calendar Quilt Kit just for you :) And as always, at great Burgundy Buttons prices. Hurry, supplies are limited!!
And as always, if you have any questions you can email me at happyquiltingmelissa (at) gmail (dot) come. And if you make this project I would love to see it. Email me a picture or add it to my flickr tutorial page :) And you can always find me at my blog Happy Quilting to see what I am up to :)
2 Flurry by Kate Spain Charm Packs
2 White Bella Solids Charm Packs
1/2 Yard of Red Snowflake Print #27089 21
1/2 Yard of Green Snowflake Print #27089 23
1/8 Yard of Blue Snowflake Print #12
1/2 Yard of White Peppermints Print #27087 14 (binding)
1 Yard of White Christmas Print #27084 13 (backing)
Heat and Bond Lite (some yardage and at least 35 cut 5 x 5 squares)
Red and Green ribbon.
|There is one print in this picture that it turned out I didn't use - Just FYI :)|
It is easiest if you sort your charms into color coordinated piles now (that top one of the red pile isn't really "red" but put it with that pile anyway :) The charms with the ovals I did not use, however there are times when you can use them, I just choose to go without them. I will mention it when they can be used.
STEP 1 - APPLIQUÉ
So obviously, this project has a lot of applique in it :) Start by grabbing your green and red charms. Sort them into two piles of red and two piles of green that are identical to each other (there are 2 charm packs here so you will have some repeat prints in each pile). Set one red and green pile aside to be used later.
You now should have 12 green charms and 12 red charms (yes we are still calling that green, blue, and red print a red charm). You need to cut out 24 Christmas appliqué's for the 24 days. Half will be in red and half will be in green - see how well that works out?
Start by placing a square of Heat N Bond (texture side down) onto the wrong side of the fabric of your first charm. Press with iron. Now using the templates at the bottom of this tutorial, draw the image of your appliqué onto the Heat N Bond. Lastly, Cut out the image and remove the paper side of the Heat N Bond. Repeat this process for all 24 charm squares (I did 3 of each Christmas image).
Next you want to do the number appliqué. I choose to do these on the Bella Solid Charm squares but if you like, you can do them on the white print flurry squares. It is your choice. We will do the numbers in the same fashion as the Christmas images with one big exception. Use the template from the bottom of this tutorial of the numbers but when you draw the images, make sure you draw the numbers backwards so that when you turn the number over, it will be facing the right direction. You can get 4-5 numbers out of each charm square. You want to cut out the numbers one to twenty-four.
Now it's time for a little sewing. I am sure your fingers can use the break from cutting :) Place a Christmas Image appliqué onto a White Bella Solid Charm square and center it. You can just eyeball this. Press the appliqué to fuse it to the charm square. Repeat this process for all 24 Christmas image appliqué's.
Now you can move over to your sewing machine. You will want to sew around each Christmas image appliqué to secure it to the charm square. I choose to do a blanket stitch but you are welcome to do a straight stitch for raw edge appliqué or a zig-zag stitch. Whichever you prefer. I also choose black thread to really make these appliqué's pop, but once again, you do what you like :) Repeat for all 24 squares.
So now you have your 24 appliqué charm squares and you are ready to number them. I just realized I took this picture before I actually did the blanket stitch, oops :) Now you want to figure your layout before attaching the numbers. I choose to alternate the green and red pattern with that "special" red being day 24. Once you have a layout you like, you are ready to start adding numbers. (Side note . . . I did my numbers in numerical order but you can mix them up if you prefer)
You attach the numbers the same way you did the Christmas Image appliqué's. I found it best when layering the numbers, to completely sew around the first number before ironing on the second. It just made less starting and stopping :) You guessed it, Repeat for all 24.
Now you are ready to do the last set of appliqué which is the Merry Christmas banner at the bottom. Using the letters template including in the Printer Friendly Version, cut out the words "Merry Christmas" from the 1/8th of a yard of the blue snowflake print. I didn't take any pictures of this as I figure you are a natural by now :)
Move onto making the backing for the Christmas banner. Grab 9 White Bella Solid charm squares and sew them together using a 1/4" seam allowance end to end.
Press your seams open on the banner. Now trim off 1 3/4" off of both ends of the banner to get the appropriate size.
Now you are ready to place your appliqué. I found it easiest to lay my ruler one inch up from the bottom of my banner as a line to place everything on. (I did have the "y" sink down below, just don't go down to far as you have to sew a 1/4" around this) Once you have everything placed perfectly, press to secure your appliqué.
Use your desired method of stitching to secure your appliqué to the banner. Once again, I choose black thread to really make this pop! Oh, and don't worry about those seam lines, you can't see them once this is quilted. And that is the end of the applique!!!
STEP 2 - MAKING FLAPS or POCKETS
With your appliqué all done, you are ready to move on to making the flaps or pockets for your calendar Start by finding the red or green print charm square (those you set aside earlier) that matche the Christmas image appliqué of the square you are working on. Place the two squares right sides together. Now pin around the edges. Repeat for all 24 charm sets.
Now to sewing. Use the following guide for sewing. You are leaving the opening in the top to turn the piece inside out. Once again, you want to be 1/4" from the edge. And make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end so your stitches don't pull out when you turn the entire thing inside out. Repeat for all 24 :)
Now turn your flap or pocket right side out using the hole that was left in the top. Make sure to use a pen or small pointed tool to push out all your corners and seams. Repeat for all 24.
Tuck the raw edges under at the top (they will fold naturally) and press the entire square. Repeat for all 24. You can now set these aside for a little bit. Aren't they just adorable?!
STEP 3 - MAKING ROW PIECES
Now you are ready to make the backing that you will be attaching your flaps or pockets to. Start by grabbing 11 charm squares out of your 'blue" pile . This is where I choose to leave out the solid blue and the blue snowflake print from the appliquéd, just a personal choice. You are going to cut the 11 charm square into four 2 1/2' x 2 1/2" squares. Just cut in half vertically and then without moving the pieces, cut in half horizontally. Repeat for all 11 charm squares and then set the squares aside.
Now you need to cut the rows to do some strip piecing for the sashing. You will be doing the next 2 sets of instructions for both the red and green yardage :) Align the folded edge of your yardage along the 0 horizontal line on your mat. Align your ruler up along the marks on vertial marks on the top and bottom of your mat and cut a nice straight edge to start with. Now measure over 1 1/2", align your ruler along the top and bottom again and cut a 1 1/2" strip.
Without moving your already cut strips, keep moving over 1 1/2" until you have cut nine 1 1/2" strips. Now align your ruler along the horizontal line at the top of your strips to trim off the selvage edge. Repeat for the green.
Now for some strip piecing. Strip piecing is a great way to speed things up and save time. Take a green and red strip and place them right sides together. Sew a 1/4" seam all the way down the side of the strip. There is no need to pin, you can just align as you go. If the ends don't come out perfect, no worries :) Just keep feeding strip sets through until all 9 have been sewn.
Now clip the threads between sets and press your seams. You can press to one side or open.
Lastly, you are going to cut your strip sets into the sashing sizes. Start by trimming a little off the end just so you start with a nice straight line. Now measure over 5" and cut. You will be able to get 8 sashing pieces out of each strip set. You need 66 sashing pieces, so cut 8 out of 8 strip pieces and 2 sashing pieces out of the final 9th strip piece.
STEP 4 - SEWING ROWS TOGETHER
Now that all your pieces are cut, you are ready to put your rows together. First are your border rows. There are 2 layouts for these and you will be doing three rows in each layout. Notice, they look similar but the red and green are opposite. Be careful not to mix them up :)
Start by laying the first piece in the row onto the second piece in the row with rights sides together. There really isn't need to pin as you are dealing with such small pieces and no seams but you can if you like. Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge. Continue adding on piece by piece of your row in this fashion until the row is complete. (I found it easiest to stack up my rows so I didn't have to go back and forth a lot :) Repeat for all 6 rows (3 sets of the 2 layouts) and then press the rows.
Next you are going to sew the background rows. You will need 4 of these rows. The layout is as follows. The red and green on the ends don't matter here because you can just flip it as needed.
You will sew these 4 rows in the same fashion. Lay your first piece of the row onto the second piece with right sides together. Sew a 1/4" seam. Then continue adding on piece by piece until the row is finished. Once again, stacking helps. Repeat for all four rows and then press.
Lastly, you need to add the borders onto the Merry Christmas banner. Now before doing this, (if you are doing the same color alteration as me) just double check that your #19 is going to coordinate with this side. Meaning, my #19 is a green print, so I want an inner red border around it. I need to make sure that the row below has a green outer border. Hence the Green strip closest to the M in Merry. (If I totally just confused you just look down at the first picture under step 5 to see what I am talking about).
You attach these two row ends the same as you did your other rows. Lay the two pieces onto the edges of the borders with right sides together. Sew a 1/4" seam and then press.
Now all your rows are done. You should have 1 Merry Christmas banner, 4 background rows, 3 sashing rows that start in red on top and 3 sashing rows that start with green on top. You with me :) Great, let's move on!!!
STEP 5 - SEWING TOP TOGETHER
Okay, so now you are ready to layout your top. Once again, double check that your appliqué prints are going to be the opposite color of your inner squares. You can also choose to mix up the color squares if you like, so the top and bottom inner squares are green and the sides of the inner squares are red. It looks great both ways :)
Sew the top together the same way you pieced the rows together. Take your first row and lay it on top of your second row with right sides together.
Make sure to match each of your seams. This is of prime importance to make sure they come together nice and crisp. Once you have pinned your seams, go ahead and pin along the rest of the row. If you find you have some bulk from lining up those seams, go ahead and slide the bubble down and put in a horizontal pin. This helps to get rid of that bulk but still keep nice crisp seams :) Once you are all pinned, sew 1/4" seam along the pin line, making sure to remove pins as you go. Press.
Now just move onto the next row. Lay the third row onto the now sewn together first and second rows with right sides together. Pin, sew, and press. Keep repeating until you have sewn all of your rows together.
...and here is what you should have!!! A beautiful background just ready for those adorable little flaps or pockets. So lets get to them now!!!
STEP 6 - ADDING FLAPS or POCKETS
Go ahead and grab all those cute little numbered charms you set aside. Don't they just look adorable all lined up?!!
FOR THE FLAP - Go ahead and pin the charm square along the top of the white background square. Sew a line across the top of the square about an 1/8" in. This closes up the hole and secures it to the background. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of the line. I choose to do a super small zig-zag stitch here instead of a straight stitch just so that it was anchored well (I know I will have little hands tugging on them). You can do a decorative stitch, straight stitch, whatever you like :) Once again, repeat this process for all 24 Christmas charm squares.
FOR THE POCKET - First you need to close up the hole in the top of your charms. Sew a line across the top of each of your 24 charms keeping about an 1/8' from the edge. Once again, you can use a decorative stitch, straight stitch, whatever you like :) Repeat for all 24 squares.
Now you are ready to attach the pockets. Align the pocket flap onto the background white solid. Pin along the side edges of the pockets. Now sew a line about 1/8" in (once again, using whatever stitch you like keeping strength of seam in mind) according to the picture below. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat for all 24 squares.
And there you have it!!! Your Christmas Traditions Advent Calendar top is done!!! I just love it!!!!!
STEP 7 - FINISHING UP
So now the fun part... finishing it up!! First you want to make your quilt sandwich. Grab your yard of backing. Make sure to give it a good press first (this helps to keep bubbles out of the backing). Tape your backing down to a flat surface with wrong side up. Then lay down your piece of batting followed by your Advent Calendar top. Having some tunes for this next part might be nice :)
Now onto basting!!! Start in the center and pin moving outward and smoothing as you go. I pinned in each of the blue squares and the center of each of the background white squares.
Once your project is all basted, you are ready to quilt it. I really had some fun with the quilting and decided to share but remember, you do what you like. For the sashing I wanted to give a ribbon look. I sewed the top line first and then went back and echoed the line crossing over every once and a while to create the ribbon effect. I used white thread so when I crossed over on the blue squares it wouldn't show up much :) Oh, and make sure not to sew any of your flaps down. They pretty much stay out of the way, but I thought it was worth mentioning :)
For the background of the banner I wanted to do something that really made the words pop!! So, nothing pops quite like little pebbling. And I love that it has the added benefit of looking like little snowballs!!! It also really makes those seam lines in the background impossible to see.
Lastly, and this is optional, I wanted to repeat the images in quilting in the background squares that are on the front of the flaps or pockets. So using a water-soluble pen and the templates from the appliqué's, I drew the image and then pebble quilted around it to make the image pop :)
Once you have your quilting done, you are ready to bind your project. Grab your 1/2" yard of peppermint print and cut it into at least four 2 1/2" strips. Turn those into your binding and attach. If you have never done a binding before there is a great tutorial here to help :)
And last, if you are doing the flaps, add a piece of ribbon to the back of each background fabric. Once again, I just used a small zig zag stitch to ensure these were really on well. Now you are ready to write up your Christmas Traditions. For the scrolls I just used squares of paper about 2 x 4, you can use fancy Christmas Paper as well, that would be adorable. Write your traditions, plan your days, and enjoy your Christmas holiday!!!
One amazing Christmas Traditions Advent Calendar perfect for keeping your family in the Christmas Spirit all month long!!! The Calendar measures approx. 34" x 40" and will make the perfect addition to your Christmas!