This was a really fun project to make and as you can probably tell, we had lots of fun taking the photos too!
The weather here certainly thinks it’s winter already – to say it’s “chilly” outside would be an understatement! But it makes the first day of Advent seem even more seasonal. And what commonly goes with Advent? Yep, you guessed it, a chocolate advent calendar. I spotted the fabric panel for this calendar in my local Hobbycraft store (unfortunately they didn’t stock it online). Priced at £8 for a metre, I thought it was better value than some others I’d seen online…. but when I was told I could have one panel (50cm) for £4, that was one of the quickest decisions I’ve made to purchase anything!
The fabric came with a printed panel, complete with marked and numbered squares, plus all the individual printed pockets.
I added a piece of 2oz wadding to the back of the panel, and stitched through the edge of the pocket markings, just to hold the wadding in place.
The instructions say to fold over the pocket edges before attaching them to the calendar panel, but I found that way too fiddly to get a neat finish. So I improvised and added a polycotton backing to the pocket pieces, which also helps to make them sturdier.
That was quite easy to do – just place both fabric pieces right sides together, sew down one side, along the base and up the other side, Turn the pocket the right way out, fold the very top edges of both fabrics towards the inside, then top stitch that top part to close it up completely. Then the pocket can just be sewn on as normal.
I decided to stitch the pocket pieces on using white thread, as I didn’t want to try colour matching the blue of the sky, and thought that black (like the markings on the panel) would be a bit too heavy.
But how do you get the calendar to hang? When I cut some plain white polycotton for the backing, I added a couple of inches more in height than I needed, and folded that back over itself to make a tunnel. Recycling a sturdy straight plastic tube ‘handle’ from an old broken bag, I threaded some red and white ribbon through it, to allow it to hang from the door.
At this point, it was almost finished, but there were still raw edges around the entire thing, so some basic white bias binding was the perfect finishing touch. I did have to be creative and leave a gap for the ribbon to stick out, but you don’t notice that unless you look too closely!
All I need to do now, is get more chocolates to fill the pockets – the packet of Heros I used only contained 19 chocolates (and 6 of those were ones nobody in my family likes), so we’re still a little short!
Advent Calendar panel: Hobbycraft
Seeing as the Halifax Hoodie went so well, I had a crazy idea to make K a hoodie as an early Christmas present. Hey June Handmade’s Hatteras Hoodie* is made in exactly the same way as the Halifax, so I felt reasonably confident at my ability to make it.
I chose some blue spotty sweatshirt fabric for the main body, along with some ‘cops and robbers’ t-shirt fabric for the hood lining. To break up the spots, I also cut the cuffs and waistband from the t-shirt fabric.
The Hatteras pattern doesn’t include a drawstring around the hood, which meant I could skip hammering in any eyelets! It also doesn’t include binding on the edges of the pocket, but I added those in just to give some interest to the front panel.
The sweatshirt fabric isn’t brushed like you would expect – it has a furry feel to it, and a definite nap. This means it should be snug and cosy to wear, but did give me some challenges when it came to sewing. I’ve sewn faux fur fabric before, but never anything with the furry side facing out. Of course that resulted in the fabric slipping mid seam, which was a nightmare when it came to attaching the hood.
After two mis-sewn seams, and unpicking far too many stretch stitches, I was at a loss for how to resolve the problem. In desperation, I attached a walking foot, and reverted to a zigzag stitch instead of a stretch stitch – it was the only thing I could think of to try.
Much to my amazement, that did the trick! The hood stayed pinned as it was meant to, and even the cuffs weren’t as terrible as I thought they could be.
The pattern on the cuffs is upside-down…. but that’s an intentional design. I like the idea of K being able to see the pattern the right way up when he’s wearing the hoodie.
The sleeves are a little snug for the bear that’s modelling it, but hopefully it will fit K perfectly, and keep him warm when he’s playing outside this winter.
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Fabric: Fashion Fabrics
When I spotted the pattern for Reggie the Reindeer, I knew I was going to want to make at least one of them. I found a pack of two fleece blankets on sale for £3.95, which were the perfect colours for a Reindeer, so he was a bargain to make!
The first Reggie I made had thread jointed limbs, but this one is for a 9 month old child, so I used the alternative instructions to machine sew them into the seams.
If I was to make a third Reggie the Reindeer, I would probably turn the legs 90 degrees before sewing, so they shouldn’t turn inwards at the hoof, but that’s just a minor annoyance for me.
Mum keeps saying that Reggie is a cow (because of the spotty fabric), but whether you see him as a cow or a reindeer, hopefully little K will like him when Santa delivers the package on Christmas Eve!
Ok, so it’s not quite Christmas yet, but I’ve been busy sewing gifts for people. Some of those people have already opened their presents, but others have been good and resisted the temptation….
I think this has to be the best fat quarter bag I’ve sewn yet! The sides came out really evenly, and the topstitching works brilliantly in red as a contrast to the green main fabric.
The tree ornament was made from felt, with some white ricrac for the icing on the arms and leg, two red buttons for the candy, and some white felt for the eyes. It’s the neatest hand sewing I’ve ever done on the mouth, and the whole thing is sewn around the outside, so there’s no turning involved!
I ended up making a few of the gingerbread men – a couple for presents, and also one for my tree. They just looked too good to just make one 🙂