DIY Modern Advent Calendar

Today on the blog we have a returning guest - Katelyn Strader of @Kate.Shea.Quilts on IG! She's here to share a simple and free tutorial with you all for making your own modern Advent Calendar just in time to be ready for the holiday! Also, some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from the sale if you click through and purchase. Ok - happy sewing!





Hi! Its Kate from Kate Shea Quilts and I’m back with another tutorial. I have been making hand-sewn Advent Calendars for a couple of years now and I wanted to share how with you all today! 


Advent celebrates the countdown to the birth of Jesus and is included for many as a part of the Christmas season. In the church calendar it starts on the 4th Sunday before Christmas day, but the Advent Calendar starts December 1st and goes until Christmas Eve on the 24th. 


It seems like the tradition of an advent calendar really ramped up in the 90s (cause all good things came from the 90s!) and I’m sure we all have fond memories of opening a chocolate treat each day before Christmas. 


I wanted a more sustainable option for my own family and hoped to put the focus on spending time together. Do I still put a chocolate in those pockets? You bet I do! 


But I have also laminated little cards with different things to do as a family. 


Here are some ideas:

  • Going to pick out the tree
  • Decorate the tree
  • Christmas craft like making an ornament
  • Walk the neighborhood to look at lights
  • Playing a board game
  • Kids pick their favorite Christmas movie


Ok - now let's make our Advent Calendars. Here’s the supplies you'll need:






My finished Advent calendar measures 32" x 16 ½" inches and is sized to hang on a door, but it is very easy to change the dimensions to fit your space. Simply go up or down on the size of the pockets or change the number of pockets in each row. Remember if you change the size or configuration of the pockets to adjust the size of your background fabric. All seam allowances are ¼ inch.


Step One:

Choose your fabric, go scrappy or pick from a collection, the options are endless! You’ll need 24 total squares measuring 4 1/2" square.


Step Two:

Hem the top of each square about a ¼ inch.



Step Three:

Sew your rows together.



Step Four:

Before cutting your front and back fabric consider how much space to leave between rows. Do you want numbers on your calendar? Do you like the look of them under the pocket or on the pocket? Once you decide you can calculate your cut size. 

I decided to add iron on vinyl numbers onto each pocket, but you would need to leave enough space between rows if you were wanting them underneath. I left 1 inch between rows in my Advent Calendar and cut my front and back fabric 34 x 17 inches. I left a bit of room at the top in case I wanted to add some embroidery. 


Step Five:

Add batting to the back fabric and quilt as desired.


Step Six:

Mark your rows 1 ¼ inch apart and sew them to the front fabric, right sides together. 


Step Seven:

Sew each square down to create a pocket. I did big stitching in a beautiful gold thread by trailhead yarns. You could also do a fancy stitch from your sewing machine, or stitch in the ditch for a lower profile look. 




Step Eight:

Make a quilt sandwich and add your desired hanging method. I made a sleeve and will insert a dowel for hanging. You could also do photo corners. 


Step Nine:

Bind and add numbers if desired. 



Step Ten:

Ta Da!! Take some beautiful photos and share them with us on Instagram. You’ve got your own Advent Calendar that will last your family for many years! 

Until next time!


Kate Shea Quilts


I took a little time this week to sew up an Advent calendar for our house too! Check it out! 




You might also enjoy reading:

Christmas Gift Ideas for Quilters

Free Planter Basket Tutorial

Free Wall Hanging Tutorial

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