10/21/09

Advent Calendar Squares


Okay, so I'm going to post my Advent Calendar tutorial even though I'm not done yet. Since time is running out, though you've still got plenty of time if you want to make one of these if you start NOW, I figured I could post what I can and finish up later. (Here is my inspiration post)

SHOPPING LIST:
*Floss/thread - thick (see first photo)
*Embroidery needles that are sharp and are big enough to accommodate your thread.
*Felt
*Fabric glue
*I purchased some good, small scissors for this job
*Fusible interfacing

About thread: there were two kinds of thread at JoAnn's to choose from and I chose the one on the left (in photo). It all came in a huge multi-pack and I liked the thickness and the way it's twisted together. DMC floss is good, too, but I just liked the look of the other thread. Choose what you'd like!

THEN: get a bunch of those sheets of felt. Mine were just the paper-sized sheets at JoAnn's and they had a huge variety, so I got some of each color.

THEN: With a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler, cut your pocket squares AND interfacing to whatever size you'd like - mine were 3 1/2" x 4" - but do them perfectly square if you want. I only cut mine that size to accommodate my tree width.

Don't be afraid of color, either. You don't have to use 'traditional' Christmas colors, get a little crazy and abstract. Some of my squares aren't exactly 'festive' but they're freakin' adorable and add to the overall look of the calendar.

THEN: Cut out shapes. Go crazy, have fun, but make sure to keep your shapes chunky enough to stitch on. Don't cut intricate details - keep it VERY basic. You'll thank yourself later.

ALSO, don't make every square fancy. You'll be stitching forever. Do some with stripes and polka dots just to save some time.


AND...don't get distracted or upset by how plain and boring your shapes might look as you're creating. Don't worry - it'll all come together with the stitching. Just go basic and build from there!

NOW: time to glue your large pieces. DO NOT use very much glue - just barely enough to hold down your felt in places you won't be stitching on - and you don't have to glue every little piece. The tiny pieces really don't need to be glued, but you can if you want. When the glue dries, it's hard to get your needle through it, so just use a teeny, tiny amount only to hold your pieces in place so you can stitch them on. Let your glue dry before you start stitching.

FINALLY: stitch your heart out using my little stitch guides. Get crazy and creative - and get cozy because it takes FOR-EVER. ***IMPORTANT YOU READ THIS::: Tie off every section you stitch - like every circle or every major shape. There WILL be times that you'll have to un-pick something and it STINKS when you have to unpick the whole thing instead of one section.

SAMPLES: Two of the sample photos in the middle are actually Kadie's (on the brown wood table) - she did those today and they are looking adorable! I've included a photo of ALL of my squares, though the last six are not finished yet, just to give you some idea of what you can do with your calendar.

You might actually think of shapes or embellishments that I didn't use - go for it! Make this your own personal creation and have fun with it! Just remember to keep it very basic because you can always add to it! Kadie plans to use real buttons on hers - that's wonderful!

MY END-RESULT VISION: Since I DON'T have a finished product photo, you have to visualize the end with me!!

Each of my squares is going to have a white fusible interfacing backing (iron-on stuff) to protect my stitching (thanks Sarah!), and I'll and sew the top edge together to make it super secure. I don't need to sew all the way around each square yet because I'm going to do that on the tree. After each pocket is stitched onto the tree, I'll fill the squares with little candies, quotes, or whatever treat I want.

My tree is going to be different than my Pottery Barn inspiration, and I'm excited about what I'd like to do. Since my JoAnn's store doesn't have big bolts of cool green felt, I want to use a piece of crazy-cool fabric - nothing too fancy or distracting - with batting and a felt back. Then I'll stitch the squares on top with my sewing machine and possibly a blanket stitch - depending on how ambitious I am feeling!!! I'll probably number my squares underneath with either fabric paint or hand-stitching - who knows at this point.

So now you can get started - go have some fun and share your square pictures with us!!!

30 comments:

Tiffany said...

I am not a big sewing machine person...YET! I love that this is mostly hand stitching...I know how to do that! I am so inspired & am going to make one too! So cute! I love your creative squares. Can't wait to see the finished project!

Kari @ Ucreate said...

I'm so excited to see the finished product. I'll totally be featuring it! SO CREATIVE

The Garden of Egan said...

That is so darling!!!!! Should I give you my address now so it's not late? TeeHee!

Sarah said...

I LOVE this!!! What a great idea! And so so cute! I just might have to make one... we'll see. :)

I had one thought for you, if you wanted to skip gluing the white felt on the backs, you could iron them on to some fusible interfacing (there is even fleece kind if you want thickness). That makes it sturdy and strong! Just an idea! :)

Abby said...

OH MY GOSH, Sarah - thank you SO much! I'm totally going to use the fusible interfacing - DUH!!! How obvious was that?! Thank you so much for reminding me about that amazing stuff!!!

Qi said...

love it! soooo cute!
(:

http://blurplestyle.blogspot.com/

Sarah said...

good! glad I could help :) I bet you could even iron all the squares on one big piece at one time and then cut them out!

I love your blog btw. :)

Jill said...

So cute! I love it! I've wanted to make an advent calendar too. Last year, I searched all over the internet for cute ones but never could find one. Thank you for making my holiday wishes come true ;)!

Tina said...

I love this idea. And your squares are super duper cute!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

That is so pretty!! I love it!

Rosana Moreno said...

Hi Abby, I love this idea!! Thanks for the inspiration!! I love your website!

missliss5/Melissa said...

WOWOWOWOW!!!! I want one!!!!!!!! YOu guys so rock, Abby. GREAT, fabulous job!

Heather said...

OK, I want to scream!! Cutest squares ever!! WAY TO GO!! I am feeling inspired! I can't sew with a darn, but I want to make one!! YOU ARE AMAZING!! Please share pictures of the finished product!!

That Girl said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing your process. I think I'm just going to have to make one of these. :)

Jenny said...

I love this! I've already taken on too many sewing projects this year, but next year when my daughter actually knows what Christmas is, I will definitely be making this! Thanks for sharing your craftiness!

Candace said...

I posted some pictures of our little squares with cut-outs from last year. So NOT as good as yours! But still cute! craftysisters-nc.blogspot.com

jen said...

so great!! i still have a Christmas pillow from last year i haven't finished, when i get that done i'll start one of these although it'd likely take me a few years! ha!

Darcy said...

I think your squares are even better than inspiration!! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorials! Can't wait to see the finished product.

Julie Harward said...

I had a feeling that this is what you were going to do! It is such a cute idea..my daughter has been looking for just this type of thing..thank you so much!
Come say hi :D

Andrea said...

Oh girl, that is so cute. I wish I had the time to do one for my kids! Love it!

Steph @ somewhatsimple said...

That is FANTASTIC!!!!!!! I love it!

Afton said...

Wiping the drool as I type! Abbs! This is AMAZING! Dang it- and now I am too far away to come play and make this too! Aargh! LOVE YOUR STUFF- as always... Miss you! Big hugs to you and the kids!

Abby said...

Hey - thanks, everyone!!! Yer the best! I just finished a penguin today and my mittens yesterday...slowly but surely...

Stacey said...

So, I have a quick question! Btw, I love your blog! Thanks for sharing all your projects and expertise. I was wondering if you know of a blog or you have a good pattern for christmas stockings???? Thanks!!!

McCulloch Family said...

That's adorable!!!! I love it!

Christy Wheeler said...

I just went out and bought the stuff to make this! I am so exited about it. Thanks for sharing your ideas!!

Julie said...

Just wanted to hop on and say thanks for the inspiration. I've wanted to make an advent calendar for the last 7 years -- I loved the one we had growing up. I've never been able to find "the one," though, and finally! You showed it. Thanks so much.

Emilee said...

This is such a cute idea. Please share how you finish it off. A few years ago I made the Pottery Barn turkey hats (I just couldn't shell out the $$$). On Thanksgiving eve I ran out of brown thread and the stores were closed (small town). Thankfully my neigbor had a spool she gave to me so I could finish. They turned out so cute and my kids wear them every year.

Emilee said...

It's me again, here is a link to see a picture of my finished turkey hats. You may have to scroll down a few pictures.

http://kellyandemilee.blogspot.com/2008/12/thanksgiving.html

Yarni Gras! said...

totally precious...they remind me of the felt napkin rings my grandmother made (and left to me....)