Friday, November 30, 2012

DIY Project: Advent Calendar

I made this simple little advent calendar for my husband, and I am currently in the process of filling it with a mix of small toys, PS3 games, travel gadgets, candy, DVDs, and a few small tools and randoms funny bits, before he's set to open the first bag tomorrow. Advent calendars were such a fun part of my Christmas celebration as a kid, and I'm excited to see my husband experience this holiday awesomeness as well.

DIY Project: Advent Calendar
This is a fairly easy DIY project, which requires minimal sewing skills, and a little bit of painting, but it does take some time to complete. I made my bags around 8" by 10, but this project can easily be sized up or down. 

What you will need:
1 1/2 yards linen, burlap, or fabric of choice
white fabric paint
fabric brushes, one thin, one wide
5 packages of red double folded bias cut tape, plus 150"extra for hanging

What to do:

1. Start by making your drawstring bags. Cut fabric into twenty-five 8"x20" rectangles. Fold each double, right side in, creating 8"-by-10" pouch. Here you can either serge each raw edge, to prevent unraveling, or wait until construction and do it then. 

2. Close each side of the bag, by stitching along each 10" side, with a 1/4" margin, then go over the raw edge again with your zig-zag (or skip the two steps, and use a serger).

3. Turn bag right-side-out. Fold 1 inch of the top of each pouch down inside the pouch, and stitch all around the bag, closing the last raw, top edge.

4. Your basic pouch is now done. Repeat 24 times.

5. First, put a folded piece of cardboard, thick paper, or a paper towel, inside each bag before you start painting, to prevent paint seeping through the first layer from gluing your bags shut as the paint dries. Using a thin fabric paint brush, trace the outline of each number on one side of each completed bag, then fill in evenly with a larger brush. I freehanded my numbers, and thus they are all a bit different, but you could easily use a stencil or pencil to assist with the numbers.

6. Let the paint dry on all your completed bags, and then remove the protective paper inside.

7. To add the red draw string "tunnel", measure a length of binding that fits around the bag, with a very slight overlap. Start attaching the binding, by folding over the raw edge about 1/4", and then sewing along one side, using the top stitch from Step 3 as your guide. When you get to the end, fold raw edge under, and finish the seam. Repeat on the other side.

8. Cut 25 lengths of twine, each long enough to wrap around the bag, with 6-8 inches to spare (a longer twine makes it a lot easier to untie the bags when they are full). Using a safety pin, thread the twine through the drawstring "tunnel" of each bag, and close with a knot. Repeat 24 more times. Melt the raw edge of the twine a little, if necessary, to avoid unraveling.

9. Voila! Your calendar is finished, ready to be hung, and filled with goodies.

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