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Advent Calendar

Some of my best Christmas memories aren’t from the day itself but rather from the days and weeks leading up to it: the letters to Santa, the evenings spent trimming the tree, the cookie baking (and eating), and, of course, the daily ritual of the advent calendar.

Every morning in December my sister and I would clamor downstairs to the calendar, eager to mark one day closer to Santa’s arrival. The Christmas countdown was a real tradition in our house, made all the more meaningful by the calendar itself. Ours had been hand made by my grandmother, and it saw us through every December I can remember. Even as a kid I knew how special this was, and I loved admiring all the details of her handiwork.

Now that I have children of my own, I am excited to bring the same kind of magic to their Christmas season. I wanted our calendar to be fun, modern and long-lasting, but mostly, I knew that nothing short of hand-made would do!

This Advent Calendar fits the bill perfectly. Made with a colorful selection of 100% wool felt and embellished with a bevy of beautiful sequins and beads, it’s built to withstand the test of time (and small fingers), with just enough vintage whimsy to remind me of where it all began.  My girls are still too young to really appreciate the ritual yet, but I can see the spirit of Christmas Future, and it’s looking very bright!

To make your own calendar (and to start your very own family tradition) we’ve compiled everything you’ll need in our Advent Calendar Kit. It includes…

  • 100% wool felt in 12 colors
  • 100% cotton thread in 3 colors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Beading needle
  • Sequins in 5 colors and beads in 3 colors
  • Straight pins
  • Iron-on transfer pencil
  • Fabric marker
  • Stuffing for ornaments
  • Wood dowel for hanging
  • 12-Page, full-color instructional booklet
  • Cutting and transfer templates
And it all comes beautifully packaged in a sturdy tube, which makes it a great gift… even if it’s just to yourself! - Corinne

P.S. Already have the materials? You can find the pattern on its own right here too!

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76 Responses to Advent Calendar


  1. Anne Johnson says:

    Got the kit! Looking at the directions for decorating the ornaments, it seems it would be easier to do the beads and sequins first and then stuff and whip stitch. Am I missing something ?

  2. Anne Johnson says:

    2nd question…what about glueing the sequins rather than sewing them?

  3. purl bee says:

    Hi Christina –

    The background of the calendar is made with one 18 by 36-inch piece of felt, which is enough for the calendar back and pockets. To get the same amount in another color, you could either get ½ yard of the 1 mm Wool Felt Yardage, which would give you an 18 by 72-inch piece, or two pieces of the 1mm Precut Wool Felt, which are 18 by 18 inches each. Since the precut pieces are not as long as the calendar (the finished calendar dimensions are 15 by 29 inches) you would need to add an additional seam to make it the proper length. You could do this discreetly right above the pockets.

    You can find the Wool Felt Yardage here:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/7211-Wollfilz-1-mm-Wool-Felt-yardage

    And the Precut Wool Felt here:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/6409-Wollfilz-1-mm-precut-Wool-Felt

    I hope this all helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

    -Corinne

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Anne –

    Thanks so much for writing in. These are great questions!

    I decided to sew the sequins on after the ornaments were stuffed for two reasons: first, once the ornaments are stuffed their shape changes slightly; sewing the sequins on after allows for more precise placement. Second, I found it easier because the stuffing gave me something substantial to hold on to while working. However, if you find it easier to sew the sequins on before stuffing I think that could also work well.

    As for gluing them on instead of sewing them, I would be afraid that the bond would not be as secure and that it would be hard to keep the glue from seeping out from under the sequins. It would also be difficult to glue on the small beads, which I think add great dimension. If you are more confident with glue than with a needle and thread, you could definitely give it a try, but I know I would probably make a real mess of it!

    I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions while you are making your calendar. We hope you’ll share photos when it’s done – we’d love to see!

    -Corinne

  5. Cara says:

    I love this! It would be a great gift for my sisters and their families.. What size does the final product measure?

  6. Sheryl says:

    LOVE THIS!!! The pattern also reminds me of the felt Christmas tree skirt my Grandma and my mom had when I was a little girl. My mom made one for me when I got married, and is in the process of making my son and his fiance one for a wedding gift for their December 28th wedding! I am frantically working on The Wedding Shawl for her as well! :.) Will be ordering this kit very soon! What a keepsake!

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Christina

    The background of the calendar is made with one 18 by 36-inch piece of felt, which is enough for the calendar back and pockets. To get the same amount in another color, you could either get yard of the 1 mm Wool Felt Yardage, which would give you an 18 by 72-inch piece, or two pieces of the 1mm Precut Wool Felt, which are 18 by 18 inches each. Since the precut pieces are not as long as the calendar (the finished calendar dimensions are 15 by 29 inches) you would need to add an additional seam to make it the proper length. You could do this discreetly right above the pockets.

    You can find the Wool Felt Yardage here:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/7211-Wollfilz-1-mm-Wool-Felt-yardage

    And the Precut Wool Felt here:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/6409-Wollfilz-1-mm-precut-Wool-Felt

    I hope this all helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

    -Corinne

  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Anne

    Thanks so much for writing in. These are great questions!

    I decided to sew the sequins on after the ornaments were stuffed for two reasons: first, once the ornaments are stuffed their shape changes slightly; sewing the sequins on after allows for more precise placement. Second, I found it easier because the stuffing gave me something substantial to hold on to while working. However, if you find it easier to sew the sequins on before stuffing I think that could also work well.

    As for gluing them on instead of sewing them, I would be afraid that the bond would not be as secure and that it would be hard to keep the glue from seeping out from under the sequins. It would also be difficult to glue on the small beads, which I think add great dimension. If you are more confident with glue than with a needle and thread, you could definitely give it a try, but I know I would probably make a real mess of it!

    I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions while you are making your calendar. We hope youll share photos when its done wed love to see!

    -Corinne

  9. Sheryl says:

    LOVE THIS!!! The pattern also reminds me of the felt Christmas tree skirt my Grandma and my mom had when I was a little girl. My mom made one for me when I got married, and is in the process of making my son and his fiance one for a wedding gift for their December 28th wedding! I am frantically working on The Wedding Shawl for her as well! :.) Will be ordering this kit very soon! What a keepsake!

  10. purl bee says:

    Hi Cara-

    The finished dimensions of the calendar are 15 by 29 inches.

    Thanks!

    Molly

  11. Anne Johnson says:

    Almost done with the ornaments…..takes some patience but has an addictive quality to it :). It's fun playing with color combinations. If I did it again, I might look at using ribbon, rick rack or small buttons for trim.

  12. Christi says:

    This is a wonderfully updated version of a calendar I remember from my childhood! I'd like to put my vote in for being able to purchase the pattern only – I have tons of odds and ends I would be able to use for this! How big are the ornaments themselves? Based on what you've said the calendar measures at, it seems they'd have to be pretty small…. Are they difficult to hand sew?

  13. Jana White says:

    Would you consider selling one already completed? I love it, but know that I would never have time or ability to complete right now.

  14. purl bee says:

    Hi Jana-

    We don't sell any finished projects but if you wanted to have one custom made you could call our store (212-420-8796) and they might be able to put you in touch with someone who could sew it for you.

    Thank you!

    Molly

  15. purl bee says:

    Hi Christi –

    Thank you so much for writing in! The ornaments measure about 2 1/2 inches tall on average. They all take a little bit of time to sew, but they're not difficult at all. Also, the booklet has step by step instructions and photographs to help you along the way!
    We will definitely keep your (and everyone else's!)request in mind for selling the pattern booklet outside of the kit for the next holiday season. It's a great idea!

    Thanks again!
    -Corinne

  16. Emily says:

    What a beautiful calendar! I imagine that with a little extra work, we could use snaps to attach to the tree. Without the ornaments, it could still be like little silver balls; and with the ornaments, so much color and dimension. Thank you for this gorgeous piece!

  17. Rosemary says:

    If you are a little bit crafty, and also have some basic math skills, you can make one of these all by yourself without a kit!

    My mom and I made three of these about 20 years ago, all out of felt, it looked exactly like this.
    We had a little factory going with the sewing and making the ornaments.
    We made 3 trees and made the banner just like this with the dowel.
    At the bottom on each row calculate 6 little pockets for the ornaments

    With the kids, we used to take turns each morning at breakfast.
    We have a lot of fond memories of ours.
    This is a good reminder. I want to make some for the grand children now :-)

  18. Lily says:

    I am having the worst time trying to get the pencil to transfer to the felt. I've tried higher heat, and going over the numbers again but nothing is transferring. Any advice? Thank you!

  19. Cathy says:

    Hi! I love the idea of this kit and I had ordered it. Why am I having difficulty with the transfer of the numbers. I believe I am following instructions but nothing appears on the felt! Help! Thank you.. Cathy

  20. purl bee says:

    Hi Cathy –

    I am so sorry you're having trouble with the transfer! To get the numbers to stay, I would first try ironing for longer (it definitely takes time for the transfer pencil markings to "heat up"), and if that doesn't work, go up incrementally on the heat on your iron until it transfers.

    I hope this helps! And, please let us know if you have any other questions as you are putting your calendar together. We'd love to hear from you!

    -Corinne

  21. purl bee says:

    Hi Lily –

    I am sorry that you are also having trouble with the number transfer, even after working with higher heat. I would also recommend working on a hard surface and holding the iron for a bit longer. If you can get at least a faint transfer, you can darken the lines by going over them with the fabric marker included in the kit.

    I hope this helps!
    -Corinne

  22. lily says:

    I am in the process of making this advent and am having a difficult time with the iron transfer of the numbers. I have tried pressing very hard, using more heat and leaving the iron on for a longer time and nothing has worked. I also bought another transfer pencil and carbon paper and neither transfer to the felt. I have no idea what to try next.

    Help1

  23. purl bee says:

    Hi Lily –
    I am so sorry that you're having such a hard time transferring the numbers! It sounds like you've tried almost everything! One last thing I would suggest is to use the iron-on transfer pencil to trace the numbers onto a piece of standard white copy paper and then iron them onto the felt from that paper. The paper that the templates are printed on is slightly heavier than standard text weight and this could be what is causing the problem. The lighter weight paper should transfer the numbers faster and with less heat.

    I hope this helps!
    -Corinne

  24. Jessica says:

    Love it! I would love to order the pattern on its own, though, so I will wait until next year. Thanks!

  25. Alicia says:

    I think I may have asked this before the website updated, and now I don’t see the response, or my question! How do the ornaments ‘stick’ to the tree? Is it he magic of felt? Or is there something else that helps hold them? Thanks! Adorable kit! I want to make it for my 2 year old.

    • Corinne from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Alicia –

      This is a great question!

      The ornaments attach to the tree with a straight pin at the back. The pins are all included in the kit.

      I hope this helps!
      -Corinne

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