DIY Advent Calendar Tutorial

I love Christmas time and it is so exciting to get to see our boys’ experience all the joy of the holiday season.  I grew up with Christmas time being filled with crafts and cookies.  I want to carry on this tradition with our family, so what better way than fill a house with special handmade decorations.  Please check out my other holiday tutorials and let me know if you try any of them!  I would love to hear from you!  Happy Holidays!


  • Burlap – 3/4 yard
  • Cotton Fabric (for back of calendar) – 3/4 yard
  • (5) different fabrics for your pockets – 1/4 yard each
  • Interfacing (Decor Bond by Pellon) – 1/4 yard
  • Muslin fabric for the days – 1/9 yard
  • Small set of rubber stamps for days (you can use letters or numbers)
  • Rubber stamp pad
  • Dowel rod – 2 feet long
  • Disappearing ink fabric pen
  • Sewing machine
  • White thread
  • Iron
  • Scissors or Rotary Cutter

Step #1: Cut Fabric & Interfacing

Cut the following pieces of fabric:

  • Main Front Burlap: 21″ wide x 27″ tall
  • Back Cotton Fabric: 21″ wide x 27″ tall
  • Pocket Fabric: 21″ wide x 7″ tall(dot his for each of your five fabrics)
  • Interfacing: (5) strips 21″ wide x 3″ tall
  • 1″ x 2″ strips of muslin for days (if you are doing just numbers, you may prefer 1″ x 1″)

Step #2: Stamp the Days

The stamps shown above are from The TomKat Studio Shop.  Another alternative would be to use a number stamp set.  Stamp as shown above.  A little time consuming, but not too bad. If your kids are old enough (and you are not too much of a perfectionist), this would be a good step to have them help you out.  Set these aside for later.

Alternative: For the 25th day, I hand-stitched a Christmas tree in place of the stamped day.


Step #3: Making the Pockets

Fold your fabric in half (wrong sides together) and iron (middle left photo).  This will create a guide for where to place your strip of interfacing.  Place your interfacing along the crease (top middle photo).  If you want, you can fold the fabric back over and iron to adhere your interfacing.  Fold and iron 1/2″ seam (middle right photo).  Now fold and iron 1/2″ seam on other side (bottom left photo)  Fold wrong sides together and iron (bottom right photo)

Do this for each of your fabric.  And then head over to your sewing machine with your pockets.

Step #4: Stitch the Pockets

Top stitch the edge you just created above.

Do this for all five pocket strips.

Step #5: Layout for Pockets

Using your fabric pen, you are going to make the layout for the pocket.  Start out drawing a line 1/2″ in from edge.  From there, measure and mark every 3″.  This will be used later when stitching the pockets and also in the next step for laying out the days.  As shown above, the days are just there to show you the mark better.

Do this for all five pocket strips.

Step #6: Sew on Days

Place the days on the pockets and top stitch.  If you would like, you can use your fabric pen to create guidelines.

Do this for all five pocket strips.

Step #7: Layout Pocket on Burlap

Before you place your pockets, I would recommend giving your burlap a good ironing.  It will want to warp a little, so this will help.

You are now going to place and pin your pockets into place.  The top pocket is 4″ from the top of the burlap to the top of the pocket.  I find it helpful to use a ruler guide and my fabric pen to draw a line on the burlap where the pocket will line up.  So, I drew a line 4″ from top and then 3″ down from that mark.  There will be 1″ between each pocket.   Follow diagram below.

Be sure to pin often.  This will help a lot when sewing the pockets into place.

 Step #8: Stitch the Pockets on Burlap

You will now stitch the pocket along the bottom side and on all your purple guides you marked in step #5.

Almost there…

Step #9: Sew on Back Piece

Place your burlap piece with all of your pockets on a flat surface.  The pockets should be facing up.  Now, place your back piece on top…right sides together.  You should be looking at the back of your fabric (the not pretty side).  Pin in place.

You are now going to stitch around the whole piece, but LEAVE A 5″ OPENING AT THE TOP.  Like below…

Step #10: Turn Right Side Out

Pull your calendar through this opening, making sure you poke the corners out nicely.

Iron so there are nice seams and then top stitch around the outside edge.  Looking good!

Step #11: Make a Hanger

Take out your 2 foot dowel rod.  Fold the top edge over the rod and mark where it falls.  Fold the fabric down and top stitch to create a channel.  Poke your dowel rod through your channel and then create a hanger.  For my hanger, I used a strap of fabric from the pockets and just tied it on the end.  Pretty easy and looks great!

CONGRATS!  You made an Advent Calendar…now go fill it with goodies.

Feeling festive and inspired, please check out my other Christmas tutorials here.


Have yourself a very merry Christmas!  Please let me know if you have any questions…OR if you give this tutorial a try.  I would love to see pics of your project.  Send me a note at!



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    November 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

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  • craft time
    November 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Fantastic design. Perfect amount of rustic charm for christmas! Filled mine with 25 days of tea flavours.

  • Spark*Amy
    January 5, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Love your style! Pinning this and making a mental note to make this for next Christmas!! Have a great 2014!

  • Christmas Tutorial Round-Up
    December 1, 2014 at 7:00 am


  • Irene
    January 5, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Really love this design. Made mine with two minor adjustments, I stiffened the hessian backing to make it more durable and stable and I made a placket on the back at the top to feed the doweling through as I wanted the depth at the top of the calendar.

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  • Monteiro
    November 11, 2019 at 2:23 am

    Very nice.
    What foot do you use on your sewing machine?
    Thank you.

    • Lucy Jane
      January 5, 2020 at 11:35 am

      Sorry for the late response…I use a quilter’s 1/4″ foot for a Pfaff high shank machine. Let me know if you have any more questions.


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