|by Christopher Thompson|
As another holiday season approaches, we run to the attic, grab the endless bins and boxes of decorations and sling them in the usual places. Many of us need inspiration or a new project to get the creative decorating wheels turning! Today we’re going to show you how to make this quick and easy 12-day improv-advent calendar. It’s sure to be a hit with everyone and will look awesome hanging in any room!
P.S. Be sure to read all the way to the end for a Christmas-y giveaway!)
[DID YOU KNOW: The advent calendar dates back to the mid-19th century with the most popular starting on December 1st and leading up to Christmas.]
Various Green Fabric, ¼ yard each (we used Indah Solids from Hoffman Fabrics)
White Fabric, ¼ yard
Backing and Binding Fabric, ½ yard
Matching Thread for Piecing and Quilting (we used Aurifil variegated Green)
Felt Shapes (these are from this etsy shop)
Velcro Sticky Backs for Fabric
Rotary Cutter and Mat
The finished size of your advent calendar will depend on the length of the pieced together green strips as well as how big the white rectangles are that create the background. Theoretically you could make it any size! But this one (and the instructions) is 20 x 12.5″ finished.
Depending on the size of felt cutouts you get, you can vary the number of ornaments on your finished tree. Get smaller ones and do 25, or go bigger and do 12 like the sample!
[DID YOU KNOW: There was an Obama Family White House Christmas Advent Calendar that featured some familiar faces as the characters behind each door?!]
1. Cut several 2 ½ inch strips from your green fabrics (ours are 22 inches long).
2. Square up the edges of your white fabric and cut apart along the fold to make two rectangles.
3. Cut (3) 2 ¼ x 22 inches for the binding (we used white, but you can mix it up with a pop of color).
Sewing and Finishing
1. Start with mixing the green fabrics. Don’t think too much about the order of prints and colors.
2. Sew them right sides together in a random order using a ¼ inch seam allowance. To achieve the improv-piecing look, off-set your strips in random directions instead of lining them up. Remember to sew with a ¼ seam allowance.
3. Place your ruler on the stitch line and trim away an excess fabric.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your joined strips are 23″ long.
5. Trim down to approx 23″x10″.
6. Using the ruler and rotary cutter, cut (1) long side of the rectangle at an angle, starting at a lower corner and ending roughly in the center of the opposite short end.
7. Repeat step 6 for the other side.
8. With right sides together, sew (1) white rectangle to the left side of your tree triangle. Repeat for the other side.
9. Trim and square up your quilt top.
10. Layer the backing and batting to your quilt top.
11. Baste and machine quilt as desired (we love a slightly wonky grid quilting).
Adding the Ornaments
1. Start by placing your ornaments in a random order on the tree.
2. One by one, pick up the ornament and place the Velcro front and back on the ornament.
3. Stick the ornament back in its original spot, pressing for 10-15 seconds so it stays in place.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the remaining ornaments.
(If you prefer, use sew-on Velcro before you quilt for added security, especially those advent calendars that will be part of a yearly family tradition!)
Now un-velcro everything and add an ornament every day as you get closer and closer to Christmas. Or, hang it close to the ground and let the kids “decorate” it over and over. Another idea: Make this tree mini-quilt without the felt ornaments if you want! Even better, make three and hang them in a row above your mantle or in your entryway.
And guess what – to celebrate holiday decorating, we’re having a giveaway. Win this vintage-inspired Christmas fabric bundle by commenting on our Instagram picture of this advent calendar quilt. Visit our Instagram account to get the full details and to enter!
Don’t forget to tag us (@thesewingparty) if you make your own advent calendar!
CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON The Tattooed Quilter
Hailing from a very small town in Southern Virginia, Christopher has lived in several cities over the years from Atlanta to San Francisco and now NYC. He grew up in a traditional quilting family and before he could walk and talk, was playing under a quilt frame. As the years passed, Christopher continued tinkering with crafts, quilting, and other odds-and-ends creative endeavors. He purchased his first grown up sewing machine and has been working late nights and weekends to create interesting quilts inspired by the world around him–art, music, fashion, and of course, there’s a nod to his traditional roots thrown in there too!
Sewing machine: HUSQVARNA VIKING® SAPPHIRE™ 960Q
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