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Christmas Advent Calendar Panel

Last year I made my little dude an advent calendar from scratch. It took me all year and although I love it, when I saw these panels I wish I had waited a year! They are so easy and beautiful. I have personalised this one too, so it is extra unique.

I decided to make up a demonstration version of the panel to give you an idea of the time it will take and a few more in depth directions since the ones on the panel itself are quite simple. This one took me quite a while because of the quilting I did but you could do it simpler in around 2 hours.


- Advent Panel

- Wadding

- 1m backing fabric

- Coordinating fabric for the name

- Bonderweb

- 2.5m bias binding

- Sewing machine

- Iron

- Scissors

- Rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat

- Pins

- Christmas ribbon 4" x3

1. Cut off the bottom section of the panel with the pockets on.

2. Cut out all the pockets along the dashed lines. I have used a rotary cutter but you can use scissors if you don't have one.

3. There isn't enough seam allowance to enclose the raw edges so I have used a zigzag stitch to stop the top edge from fraying. You could do all of the edges if you wanted but since they are tucked safely away in the pocket, I have left them. I feed one pocket after the other to make the process quicker. You will end up with a string of pockets.

4. Being very careful not to burn yourself, fold over the top edge and press using your iron.

5. Top stitch along the top edge that you have just folded over.

6. Fold over the other three edges and press carefully and as close to the picture as you can.

7. Now to match up your pockets with your panel. Carefully pin them into place, exactly matching up the pictures.

8. You could hand stitch but I have used a straight stitch on my machine, close to the edge to sew the pockets into place. Back stitch at the start and the end to secure it. I used white thread on most of the pockets but I changed to coordinating blue on the top four.

9. You don't need to add this step but it works so well in the sky of this panel.

I drafted my letters free hand onto paper and then traced it onto bonderweb. Remember the letters will need to be drawn on the baking paper side in reverse. Iron the letters onto the reverse of the fabric, shiny side (glue side down, it sounds obvious but it is not a mistake you want to make!).

10. Cut your letters out, peel off the backing and arrange them until you are happy. It is a good idea to do this on your ironing board so you don't have to move it again. I have used a scrap piece of fabric on top when I ironed them on to avoid any stray glue getting on my iron.

11. The bonderweb will keep the letters firmly in place for sewing but overtime they will eventually peel off so you will need to sew them on. You could use a hand blanket stitch or a machine straight stitch around the edges since it won't get much wear, although it will probably fray a little still over time. I have adjusted my sewing machine to a tight, short zigzag stitch and gone all the way around the edges in a coordinating red thread.

12. Your panel top is now ready. You have a few options here but I'll explain the method I chose.

Lay your backing fabric right side down, place your wadding on top and the quilt top right side up on top of that. Pin into place ready for quilting.

My free motion quilting still needs some perfecting but I had fun creating lots of circles which worked well with the snow on the quilt. You could go for something much simpler, just squares around the pockets for example.

13. Trim your edges down with your ruler and rotary cutter.

14. On the wrong side fold your ribbon in half and pin in place, evenly on the back top edge.

15. Apply your binding, ensuring the ribbon is caught but folded up so it can be used to hang your quilt. For full instructions on how to make your own binding and apply using your machine, head to my Peter Rabbit quilt tutorial.

Now all you need is some goodies to fill it and you are done.

If you give it a go, I would love to see your pictures and don't forget to subscribe for future tutorials.


-Use fusible wadding and fuse to the quilt top, quilt a few small details. With your backing fabric and right sides together, sew around the edges, leaving an opening to turn it out. Trim the corners and turn it out, press. Slip stitch the opening closed.

-For an alternative hanging option you could sew a tube along the top of the backing fabric. The tube can be used to thread a dowel or piece of bamboo, attach some string or ribbon to each end to hang it with on a single hook.

-Check out the other panels over at The Fabric Squirrel.

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