Advent Calendar

In eager anticipation of the big day, children love opening these mini versions of Father Christmas’s sack. Find an old frame, stretch some twine across it and peg out the little sacks for all to see. make one large bag to keep the sacks in so that they can be safely stowed away for future festivities, while the frame can be used as a noticeboard for the rest of the year. Material you need

– lots of pieces of bright and beautiful vintage fabrics, white cotton fabric

– tape measure, tailor’s chalk, fabric scissors, pinking shears

– iron, sewing machine, sewing threads

– permanent fabric pen, pins, thin string for the drawstrings

– darning needle (long and blunt)

– old wooden picture frame

– thick twine or string for the line, or length of ribbon

– staple gun

– mini pegs (available in craft shops)

– sweets, trinkets and treats to fill the sacks

calendar 2

How to make it

1 Measure, mark and cut out 48 little oblongs of fabric, each measuring 9 x 12 cm. This might sound like a lot of pieces, but if you cut long strips from fabric that are the correct width (9 cm) and then snip off pieces of the right length (12 cm), it won’t take long to cut them at all.

2 Turn over a hem of about 1 cm at the top of each oblong, press it flat and, using a small straight stitch, machine-sew it in place close to the bottom edge. You are going to thread the drawstring through this channel, so don’t sew the ends closed. Get a little production line going to speed your way through the process, rather than pressing then hemming one piece at a time.

3 Using pinking shears, if you have them, cut out 24 white cotton fabric squares to write the dates on. Using the fabric pen, number them from 1st to 24th in your neatest writing. You can use stencils if you like. Sew one onto the middle of each of the 24 fabric oblongs with the machine, making sure that the hem is at the top.

calendar 1

4 Place the numbered fronts and plain back of the sacks right sides facing, ensuring that the top hemmed edges are level. Pin them together ready for sewing.

5 Taking a seam allowance the width of the machine’s presser foot, sew each sack up from just below the drawstring channel, down one side, across the bottom and up the other side to just below the channel, then remove the pins. leaving the channel free allows the drawstring to be threaded through from each side. Clip the corners off all the sacks, then turn all the sacks right sides out and push the corners out well for a neat finish.

6 To make the drawstring, thread the needle with the thin string and push it through the front channel and back through the back channel from the other side. Tie the loop in a secure knot and snip off the excess.

7 Fill up each little sack with sweets, trinkets or treats to make everyone in the house happy.

8 If you want to make a frame for the sacks, stretch pieces of twine tightly across the back of an old wooden picture frame, holding them in place with a couple of heavy duty staples from a staple gun. Use the little pegs to hang the bags along the tiny washing lines. Alternatively, peg the sacks to a piece of pretty ribbon and hang the calendar across the mantelpiece as part of your festive decorations.

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