Easy Advent Calendar

Hi!  I'm Mary from The Tulip Patch with a fun Christmas project...get started now and save the stress later!

My three boys love advent calendars and I have always wanted to do one for them but have been intimidated by all the pockets and finishing work.  I discovered the trusty one seam flying geese block and finally felt confident to try.  This is so easy and best of all, you can fill the calendar with what you want...healthy snacks, bible verses about the Christmas story, small toys, whatever!

Each calendar requires:
  • 24 Charm Squares (Flurry by Kate Spain)
  • approx 100" binding (1/4 yard will yield approximately125" of 2.5" binding or approximately 165" of 2.25" binding)
  • 20"x29" rectangle of backing fabric (will give you 1" over overhang on all sides)
  • 12 5"x9.5" rectangles for the pockets (1/2 yard will yield 16 pockets easily)
  • A fusible web product such as Wonder Under, Steam a Seam, or Heat&Bond

Ric Rac (about 2 2/3 yd per calendar)

Cut your flying geese fabric (I used the solids from the Flurry Collection along with Moda Bella Solid in White into 12 5"x9.5" rectangles.  Save all extra fabric for creating your calendar letters. 

With this particular charm pack, I first removed all the solid squares and saved them for making calendar letters.  I was able to do 3 calendars with 2 charm packs.

Now let's make our one-seam flying geese blocks to serve as our pockets.

Layer in the following order:
  • Bottom:  5" charm square, right side facing UP
  • Middle: 5"x 9.5" rectangle, folded widthwise with wrong sides facing (right sides out) Your fold should be at the top and the ends of your folded rectangle should line up with the bottom of your charm squares.
  • Top: 5" charm square, right side facing DOWN

Now sew a 1/4" seam on the side.  The fold of your rectangular fabric should be 1/4" from the top. 

Repeat until you have a whole pile of one-seam flying geese ready for pressing.  Each calendar requires 12 one-seam flying geese blocks.  Each block makes 2 pockets.

Press ONE of your side seams down.  Do not press the fold of the rectangular fabric or you will end up with a crease in your geese.

Take your finger and spread your geese fabric out and press.

Now turn your block over and trim any excess geese fabric from the bottom of the block.

Now you can add letters if you wish.  I like to do this before I sew up the top because it is a more manageable size if you plan on securing the numbers with stitching.  I am going to be using raw edge applique & heat bond.  You could also choose to label your calendar with embroidery, fabric crayons/markers, needleturn applique, wool/felt applique.  Here is how I chose to do my letters:

Take your leftover fabric and adhere it to a fusible web product according to manufacturer instructions.  If you have a die cutter that will work on fabric, you can use this to cut your letters easily.  I happened to find one on sale and thanks to Darlene from Insights from SewCalGal for emailing me back and forth until I figured out how to work it! 

If you do not have a die cutter, use a number stencil to trace your numbers backwards on the adhesive side of the fabric you have just treated with heat and bond.  Cut numbers out and then peel any adhesive paper from each number. 

Apply with an iron to your blocks..double check your layout because once these numbers are down, there is no going back.  You can use a blanket stitch or zigzag stitch to secure your numbers.  My calendar will only be used as a wall hanging so I chose to only secure my letters with tight machine quilting and the fusible adhesive.

Now assemble your blocks.  I used a 3 column,  4 row layout.  You could also use a 4 row, 3 column layout for a long skinny calendar...choose what is best for the space you are planning to hang your calendar. 

Baste & Quilt as desired.  DO NOT quilt over your geese.  Quilt between them.  Trim up your quilt top after quilting.

Add a ric rac as a binding flange if desired.   If you hang your calendar with sewing pins like I do, the ric rac will hide those nicely.  Simply cut 4 pieces of ric rac to correspond with each side of your wall hanging and attach with your machine.  Finish your wall hanging by binding.

If you would like to make a traditional hanging sleeve, you can visit this MBS tutorial to learn how.

One 20"x30" advent calendar to help the little ones you love count down to Christmas...

and start some family traditions.

If you enjoyed this tutorial then pop on over to the Tulip Patch to see what I'm up to.

Mary Lane Brown
{Tulip Patch}


Modern Male Homemaker said...

I bet if I started this Advent Calendar now, I might, just might that is, have it ready by December! Fabulous as always, and thanks for the shortcut on those pockets. Ingenious!

Quiltjane said...

Thank you for sharing that wonderful tutorial. So easy and it looks great.

Denise said...

Super cute and looks easy enough! Plus it's had big holders!

The dang wooden one I have has little cubbies just big enough to hold a single candy. (and given that it's for me, i'll be greedy :P )

L2L said...

what a great idea!!!! this is going on the to do list for sure!!!

krisgray said...

Very cute and easy! I've always thought all the pockets were too much work, love making the geese work in this project!

Suzanne said...

I'm intrigued by this quilt. Thanks!

Wendy said...

So cute! I love the geese pockets.

Just to let you know, the last two links to your blog are not working.

Maria Wallin said...

This is my favourite way of making flying geese, and it's such a fun idea to use them for pockets, never thought of that - adorable project. =) Thank you for sharing!

The Tulip Patch said...

Thank you, Wendy- fixed it :)

kendar said...

Beautiful!! I bet the boys can't wait for December so they can start using it.

Gena's Garden said...

Supah cute! Maybe I will have enough time to crank this out before Christmas!! :)

Candy said...

So cute. I love how big the pockets are. I can't wait to make this for my classroom.

Shell said...

What a wonderful project. Thanks for sharing.

Susan said...

I need to make 4 one for my classroom; one for my house; and one for my daughter for my grandbabies; and my mom in the nursing home and one for my son - yikes make that 6!!!!!

Tonya said...

I love it when you post here! You have such great ideas!!

Jo Turner said...

I also love advent calendars and in fact all things Christmas. I absolutely love this and I will definitely be making one. Thank you!!

Candy said...

I just realized that I can use this same pattern to make a days of the week calendar. Thanks. I love all of your tutorials. =)

Steph :) said...

I made four of these for Christmas. Three were gifts and I finished ours just before bedtime on 12/1. OK so finished is a relative term. I didn't get the numbers on it. But now I have all year to do that. http://stephiestories.blogspot.com/2011/12/challenge.html
Thanks for the Tutorial. This really was an easy advent calendar.