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Big Pocket Advent Calendar Sew Along

The Big Pocket Advent Calendar has a special place in my heart. It was the first pattern that I ever published and it came about because I wanted an advent calendar big enough to fit treats for the whole family. You can read more about my original inspiration here.

It has now become one of our favourite Christmas Traditions: there’s always something exciting about the count-down to Christmas, and I love buying little treats to go in each of the pockets.

Often I’ll plan special treats for the weekend or first day of the school holidays, and also try and do something different each year. One year, there were fortune cookies each day, and they provided quite a lot of amusement!

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So, how will the Big Pocket Advent Calendar SAL work?

You will need to get yourself a copy of the Big Pocket Advent Calendar and then gather your supplies together (outlined below).

The main things to think about at this stage are fabrics, how to number the pockets and personalise the calendar.

I will be sewing along with you, making a calendar for my nephew who is just old enough now to be super excited about Christmas!

To follow along with everyone’s progress, I have created a new hashtag for this sew-along on Instagram – the #bigpocketcalendaralong.

Materials Needed;


  • 50″ (1.25m) Background fabric
  • 20″ (0.5m) Fabric 1 for pockets *
  • 20″ (0.5m) Fabric 2 for pockets *
  • 50″ (1.3m) Backing fabric
  • 10″ (0.25) Binding fabric

*Note: because of the imperial/metric difference between the US/UK, it means that in the UK you can order 2 FQs per pocket fabric. If, for economy, you are in the US and want to buy just two FQs, it will mean that your pockets come out slightly shorter, by about 0.25″

The original calendar was made with home decorating weight fabric, which is thicker than standard quilting cotton.

The Big Pocket Advent Calendar sewing pattern with pockets big enough to hold treats for the whole family by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

If you’re using a lighter weight fabric (which I will be), there is an option to add fusible interfacing to the front fabric of the pocket for extra structure and longevity. If you want to do this, you will need approximately 1m/1 yard of interfacing.

You will also need some felt sheets/shapes (this is optional – see below!), fabric scraps for applique and batting.

Pocket Numbers

  • The other big decision to make is pocket numbers. There are a number of different ways to do this. For the original calendar, I ironed fusible numbers on to a felt label, and then hand-stitched these to each of the pockets. It is a little time-consuming, but I love the effect of it.
The Big Pocket Advent Calendar sewing pattern with pockets big enough to hold treats for the whole family by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

There are lots of other options;

  • Use bondaweb on the back of the felt and iron it straight on to the pocket.
  • If you have a sewing machine with an embroidery function you could add your own numbers on to a label.
  • Omit the label and add the number straight to the pocket.
  • For a different look again, how about sewing number tags/shapes that you’ve numbered to each pocket? Aim for something around 1.5″ wide/tall. I found these fabulous examples – click on the pictures to find out where to get them.

There are so many choices!!!

We will start making the advent calendar together on the 29th September, which gives you time to start getting your materials together!

The pattern includes instructions for how to personalise the top of your advent calendar – you can add different applique shapes, a child’s/family name……so many options! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

You can pick up a copy of the pattern here and don’t forget to follow @fabricandflowers and use the hashtag #bigpocketcalendaralong so that everyone can see what you are making. I’d love to share your finished calendars in the final post!

Looking forward to sewing along with you soon!

S x

Today’s sky::: lovely blue skies with a few wispy clouds!

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