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Embroidered Felt Advent Calendar

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)

Embroidery Thread

Cotton Sewing Thread


Wool Felt


Transfer Numbers

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.

Embroider Numbers

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.


Cut Numbers

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.

Cut Pockets

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.

Assemble Calendar

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.)

Sew Tabs

  • 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.

Fill with your favorite sewing, quilting and knitting notions and give to your favorite crafter!

Reader Comments (24)

This is gorgeous! Thanks for the detailed instructions.
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Beautiful colors!
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterheather
super duper cute!
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara
oh purl! you are *always* posting the most beautiful creations and this one is just fantastic!!!! thank you so much!!!!
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Elizabeth
I've been wanting to make an advent calendar! Thanks.
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
This is such a find Purl. I have put a link on my lens which presents my annual advent calendars. Do let me know if you are unhappy about the image appearing there. I do provide a direct link to your tutorial. I know a lot of women at Soul Food will really love this.
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Blakey

i've posted a picture of your fantastic calendar in my blog. of course i've set a link to your blog. thank you for this great idea and tutorial.

if you don't want me to show your pic, please leave me a comment and i will delete it.

November 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdoro
November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSimone
Hi thereeee sweets :D I love this tutorial :D Thanks so much for sharing!!!
November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGis
As newlyweds, this Christmas is the first "married Christmas" for me and my husband. Since money is tight, we have talked about getting one thing this year (a tree topper, an ornament, etc) that we could put out every year and know that it was from our first Christmas.

This calendar will be the perfect decoration to serve as a reminder of our first Christmas as a married couple. And it will be even more special because it will be homemade!!

I bought all of the materials today and can't wait to get started! Thanks for the awesome idea and tutorial!
November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKate
I just love it, even if it's too late for this year, I will keep it for next christmas !!!
I love your site, I love the poesie in it. I love its softness. Thank you for the nice moments nd cups of tea I took with you from thois side of the world (Angola)
November 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiphaine
This is so cute!!!
November 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrook
just beautiful ! thank you for this great idea!
November 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchristel
What a lovely idea! Thanks for posting it! I'm always looking for hand made gifts for Christmas!
December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElevenish
I loved this when I saw it last year, and just made one for my son, adding a Christmas tree at the top to replicate a calendar my mom made for me when I was little.
November 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolly
I just found your site and love it! When I try to download and print the numbers for the advent calendar, it appears to download, but my "printed" pages are blank. To your knowledge should I still be able to print the number pattern? Thank you!
January 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris
Hi Kris,
You should be able to print them from the pdf. I'll see if I can email the pdf to you from our purl bee email. Let us know if you still have problems with it.
January 20, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks so much for your prompt and kind service to a stranger, Joelle! :) I successfully printed the pdf you sent by email. Thanks, thanks, thanks!!
January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris
I am ready to order the supplies for this advent calendar and I would like to know if you can provide the items (or a similar item) .
Each time I click on an item it says that you no longer carry the item and I am guessing that you would have something that will replace it ?
Thank you for helping, I am excited to begin.
October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersheri
Hi Sheri-

Thanks so much for pointing these bad links out. I have updated all of the links above in the "Materials" section and it looks like we have everything in stock. Please let us know if you have any more questions and good luck with the project!

- Molly
October 31, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love this Advent Calendar . Easy step-by-step instructions !
September 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereilval
I just finished this advent calendar for my daughter, she's 2.5 and is going to LOVE counting down the days to Christmas! We're going to put a mix of treats and tasks (get hot chocolate together, bring food to the food bank etc....) for each day.

I really love the simplicity of this design. So beautiful and easy to make.

One change we made is that we added small buttons to the back so that we can fold down each panel of the calendar to allow our little one to focus on only 6 days at a time.

I'm making a few of these as gifts for some new moms as these as a keepsake.

Okay. I'm done gushing.
November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenaroo
I changed it up a bit and used metallic bronze thread for the numbers and think it adds the perfect festive touch! I love these.
November 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenaroo

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