I was looking at the first advent calendars to hit the shops in October which were all merchandised to the max, and probably Toddler was going on for the billionth time how he'd prefer a blue Thomas the Tank Engine cake from Tesco for his birthday like last year, even though (a) He doesn't even like Thomas and he won't let me read any of the books to him and (b) The cake wasn't that nice either. I probably thought "Argh, if I buy a Peppa chocolate calendar this year, we'll always have to have Peppa calendars until eternity." I must have had low blood sugar and probably a blow to the head, because in my addled state I thought the solution to this was to make a fabric advent calendar.
I copied the idea from Purl Soho here, but I stitched all the felt squares onto a woven fabric because honestly, even given super quality felt, how long will their calendar last before its stretched out of shape? Even when used by a careful adult and not a marauding toddler? So I bought 8 colours of felt and some cream polycotton and some other weird polycotton with fused batting on the back for the main hanging.
For scale, the larger of the felt squares is 3" across. The woven fabric for the pockets has a rolled hem along the top, and the sides are zig-zagged before being turned under. The actual shape of the polycotton is an isoceles trapezium, but it's been stitched onto a square shape on the backing so that there is some fullness at the top of the pocket to put presents in. So that's an intentional gape, not stretched felt, woo!
I transferred the digits for embroidery by the old skool method of pricking a paper stencil and brushing powdered chalk through the tiny holes.
The blue/brown colour scheme was suggested by Mr B. I wanted the red-pink-green Purl Soho combination, but Mr B rightly suggested that a second exciting colour scheme which for the other calendar might be hard to think up. The second calendar is not finished yet (baby won't notice the absence this year) so you'll have to wait to see what colours we picked for that one! I put names on the tops to stop arguments about who has which colour calendar.
I've already sewn the pockets up for the second calendar, but they don't have embroidery numbers on yet and they're not stitched to the backing yet. I'll admit I was cursing myself as I edge-stitched my 100th felt square and I'll probably swear some more as I embroider my 50th number.
Anyway, Toddler is enjoying opening a new pocket each day and discovering the treasures from poundland or magicked from my fabric stash. This is going to be a rod for my own back, probably worse than Peppa and her daily dairy milk.