This Embroidered Felt Advent calendar is contemporary and cheerful with bold contrasting pockets made from our new wool felt. The embroidered numbers give that extra special something for generations to come.
1 14-inch vintage knitting needle (or similar object for hanging calendar)
- 1 ball Valdani, Thunder #200
Cotton Sewing Thread
- 1 spool Gutermann color 1040 (large or small is fine)
- 1 spool Gutermann color 5980 (small spool)
- 1 spool Gutermann color 7880 (small spool)
- 4 pieces 5mm Ecru Wool Felt from Wollfilz
- 1 piece each 18-inch x 18-inch Wool Felt from Woolfilz in the following colors (pictured above from left to right, top to bottom)
- Straight Pins
- Embroidery Needles
- Iron On Transfer Pencils in Blue and Red
- Rotary Cutter
- 6.5-inch x 24.5-inch (or similar) Cutting Ruler
- Sewing Machine with Zig Zag Stitch
- Masking Tape
Download and print numbers.
There are 5 pages, 2 pages have 2 colors each. Please note which numbers are grouped together. You will transfer all of the numbers at one time onto the appropriate color of felt.
With your iron-on transfer pencils, trace numbers directly onto the print-out. (Note: use blue pencil for red fabrics and red pencils for green fabrics). Be sure to mark the corners too as you will need them later for cutting.
With a hot iron transfer numbers onto felt. It will take approximately 40 seconds of pressing firmly with the iron to get the transfer dark enough. Keep the iron moving during this time so you don't burn the paper or felt.
Make a quilter's knot (for a step by step tutorial on making a quilter's knot, visit our Quilter's Knot How-To). Insert needle from the back and come out at the top of the number.
Stitch the numbers using the transfer as your guide with a chain stitch (visit our chain stitch tutorial for complete instructions on working this stitch).
Normally a chain stitch is left with an obvious loop, but for this project you want to draw the thread tight enough to close the loop. The goal here is to create a double-wide stitch so that your embroidery will show up clearly.
Use your rotary cutter to cut the numbers from the felt. Each piece will be 2 1/2-inches square. Use the corner marks you transfered originally as a guide to make sure that your numbers are centered properly.
For a lesson on using a rotary cutter, visit our Rotary Cutter Tutorial.
The following directions will allow you to replicate exactly how we mixed and matched the colors on our advent calendar.
Use your rotary cutter to cut the pockets from the felt. Each pocket will be 3-inches square.
First cut 3-inch strips from all seven colors of felt and then cut the exact number of 3-inch squares listed below and use them for the pocket with the numbers indicated in the parenthesis:
3-inch squares (for pockets):
- color #6, 3 squares (pockets number 1, 9, 17)
- color #7, 3 squares (pockets number 4, 11, 21)
- color #28, 5 squares (pockets number 3, 8, 13, 18, 23)
- color #42, 3 squares (pockets number 6, 7, 15)
- color #43, 3 squares (pockets number 10, 14, 20)
- color #44, 4 squares (pockets number 2, 12, 19, 24)
- color #49, 3 squares (pockets number 5, 16, 22)
Sew embroidered Squares to Pocket squares
Center each embroidered square on the appropriate color pocket square leaving 1/4-inch of the pocket fabric showing on all four sides. Pin the squares together on all four sides. The more pins the better.
Use a straight stitch to sew the two squares together. Begin stitching along one side, continue to corner. When you come to the corner leave needle in the down position, raise presser foot and reorient square to continue sewing. Repeat at remaining corners. When you come back to the beginning of the seam take a few back-stitches. Trim threads.
Layout Pockets and Measure Placement
On a large surface, place all four pieces of 5mm ecru felt end to end.
Layout the sewn pockets in order from 1-24 with 6 pockets on each 5mm piece of felt. To ensure that all pockets are equally spaced, measure as described below:
The top three pockets (numbers 1, 2, 3) should be 1 1/2-inches from the top edge of the top piece of thick felt (or the top of the calendar). The bottom three pockets (numbers 22, 23, 24) should be 1 1/2-inches from the bottom edge of the bottom piece of thick felt (or bottom of the calendar). All the pockets that run along the right and left sides of the calendar should be 3/4-inch from the edges. Moving from the top of the calendar to the bottom, there should be 3-inches in between each row of pockets. Going from left to right, there should be approximately 7/8-inch between each pocket.
Sew Pockets onto Thick Felt
This part is a bit tricky because you can't pin the pockets to the 5mm thick felt. We used regular masking tape to hold the pockets in place. We put a short piece of tape along the top edge of the pocket leaving a 1/4 inch on each side for our seam allowance. (Not only does the tape hold the pocket in place, but it also reminds you NOT to sew the tops of the pockets closed!) You can also place a piece of tape along the bottom of each pocket making sure it only covers a tiny bit of the pocket so that you don't sew over the tape.
Using a straight stitch, sew with a 1/8-inch seam allowance around the sides and bottom of the pocket. (Note: Use the pink thread for the red and pink pockets and green thread for the green pockets.) Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam near the opening of the pocket since there will be some wear and tear when putting in a taking out advent calendar goodies! When you come to the corner leave needle in the down position, raise presser foot and reorient square to continue sewing. Repeat at remaining corner. Trim threads.
Sew the four pieces of 5mm thick felt together end to end (not overlapping) using a zig zag or overlock stitch. We found it helpful to have two sets of hands while doing this. One person to do the actual sewing and the other to help hold the rest of the felt so that the weight of it isn't pulling the edges apart while they are being sewn together. This is important because you want the edges of the felt to stay tightly together so the stitch catches enough of each piece of felt. (Note: We also used two small pieces of masking tape on the back of the felt to help hold the pieces together. You can pull it off after it is sewn even where you've stitched over it.)
- Cut two 2-inch x 1 3/4-inch pieces of felt, color #6
- Center tabs above pockets number 1 and 3
- fold the tabs (with the 1 3/4 side parallel to the top edge of the felt) over the top edge of the 5mm thick felt with only 1/4-inch of the tab overlapping the thick felt on the front and back. (You are leaving enough space to fit the knitting needle through as well as whatever hook you will be hanging it from).
- Affix the tab to the thick felt using the masking tape method as above.
- Use a straight stitch and sew the tabs in place with a 1/8-inch seam allowance. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
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