Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Valentine Calendar Tutorial

I am sooooo excited to share this with you! This has been my latest project and a few weeks in the making. I have been wanting a Valentine advent calendar for some time for my kids, but have been unsuccessful in finding one I loved. I was kind of hoping for the Pottery Barn look (you know, handmade but professional :). I couldn't find one to save my life! That left me with only one option, to make my own. Let me preface this with that I am not a great sewer and have a hard time putting up things in my house that I have sewn, but this will definitely be an exception! I LOVE how it turned out. I love when projects turn out better than you expect!  It is kind of one of those things that when you walk by you stop, stare, smile, and say "I made this!" Yep! Love it!

 To see a lot more pictures including each individual pocket, see this post here!

Here is the how to: 
(as a note, I do not know how much this project costs... the only things I bought were the utility muslin for the main part, the backing material, and the pole and finales for the rod.... all the rest of the materials I had on hand.)

I first ironed the utility muslin (I found it at Joann's next to the burlap). I used starch so that it would be a little more stiff.
Next attach Pellon. I had some thick, iron on stuff, so I used that. I wanted to be sure that the body was stiff and sturdy so it wouldn't wobble all over.

Cut the muslin into the size you want the front to be.  I wanted mine to be about the size of my PB ones I have for other holidays, so it is about 36"x28".

With the extra muslin cut out the pockets (these also had the Pellon backing on them.) I cut out 12 of these and I also used a red and white polka dot material for 2 of the pockets for a total of 14. The pocket size is 4 inches wide and 5 and 1/4 inches tall.

Now came the hardest and most time consuming parts, creating the pockets. This was in the very early stages. I was first thinking I would do 7 different designs and use them twice. I later came up with 14 different ones, and I am so glad I did!

Here are a few tricks I used on a few of the pockets. One pocket had three small hearts at the bottom. This is how I made them, by using a small dollar store punch and whacking it with a rubber mallet. Very effective actually and I used these small hearts all over the pockets- so get whacking!

For the bird and heart pockets I printed a design I found online (here is the bird link), sized it and then traced it on to the fabric. I then cut them out and sewed them on.

A couple of the pockets had writing on them that I stitched with floss. On the XOXO pocket I actually printed what I wanted it to look like and that exact spacing so that I could get it perfectly aligned. Then I cut around the letters, used a pencil and rubbed on the back of the paper, laid the paper on the material lead side down, and then traced the letters with a pencil. The result is a perfect imprint that I followed when stitching!

After I had all the pockets designed and sewed, I put a backing on the polka dot material so that all the stitching and mess would be covered.  I used the sew-able heat bond- lite to attach it.  The backing was not necessary, but I am soooo glad I did it! It not only protects the pocket more and as durability, but it is so beautiful!

Next was ironing the top of the pocket about 1/4 of and inch, and then stitching across the fold.

Now you will need to lay out the pockets so that they look good and balanced. I then used white iron on vinyl and cut numbers on my Silhouette Cameo and ironed them on in the right order.

Next up, lining them up straight and pinning them down. This was definitely the hardest section to sew. It was had shoving the calendar and folding it so that the pins don't prick you and the pockets don't move. But I got it done, not perfectly, but it looks good anyway. I decided that I wanted a lot of raw edges showing, so I stitched on the sides and bottom , raw edges showing their stuff! I used a lot of raw edges on the embellishments too. I ended up loving it!

For the heading I pinned down some ric rac and later sewed. I also cut red iron on vinyl and placed it just where I wanted it before ironing away.

Now is time for the backing. I used the same polka dot fabric I had embellished with in the front. I cut it the same size as the front panel and pinned them together. Then I sewed a straight stitch all the way around.

I needed a way to attaching the dowel on the top to keep the calendar from being floppy. This is what I did.  I cut 3 strips of muslin with Pellon backing and the polka dot material fused on the back (just like the pockets). The strips were 2 and 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches long.

I then wanted polka dot side showing to I folded them with the dots out and then pinned them on the back. The 2 on the edge were 1 inch from the edge and the middle one was centered. I then stitched them to secure them in place.

The next step was sewing on the binding. I had 2- 3 yard packages of red bias tape, 7/8ths inch. I used about 1 and 1/2 packages. This was the part I was most nervous about because nothing says cheaply made like messed up binding- I know from personal experience! I found this tutorial and followed it. I was happy about the results even though I could still use some work on the corners. In the picture above it shows the top of the calendar because I wanted you show you what I did with the rod loops. I pinned the binding down over the loops like this and sewed.

Then when I was ready to turn the binding over to the other side, I pinned up the loops like so. This way the would be at the top of the calendar.

For the rod, I got 3/4" by 36" rod and these candle cups that I used as finales. I just used a little wood glue and let it dry.

While the rod was drying, I used this Fray Block on all the raw edges (this takes some time, because there are lots of them on the project) but I wanted to be sure I didn't have to much fraying and falling apart. I let the dry as well.

And wah-la! Here is the finished product! I love it!!!!!! Now it is time to fill it up and let the fun begin! For ideas on what I put in my calendar, you can see them on this post which has more detailed pictures on the calendar in all it's splendor!


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