Advent Calendar Panel tutorial

Make a Dashwood festive friends advent calendar instructions at Stitch

Fabric panels can be a great way to whip up a complicated sewing project quickly. Making an advent calendar can be fiddle but a fabric panel is pre-printed which is great when you want 24 numbered pockets.

Here's how I tackled the Dashwood Studios Festive Friends Advent panel
With the cutest illustrations by Aless Bayliss.

The panel comes with the cutest pre-printed forest animals on little advent pockets ready for you to fill.

PLEASE NOTE: The numbers on this panel are printed in numerical order and the instructions say to box pleat the pocket strips. However we felt that the fun of an advent calendar is very much in hunting for the next number...

So we changed the instructions a little to make it more fun, hope you like it?!

Cut out back panel and all pocket pieces.

Make a Dashwood festive friends advent calendar instructions at Stitch

PRESS pocket pieces along each side and top (leave bottom edges)

SEW top edge of each pocket
(TOP TIP: Feed pockets into sewing machine one after the other continuously to save time)

Make a Dashwood festive friends advent calendar instructions at Stitch

Decide the ORDER of the pockets on your panel
(TOP TIP: take a photo to refer to later)

Make a Dashwood festive friends advent calendar instructions at Stitch

PLACE first row of pockets face down on back panel

PIN each pocket and SEW along the full length (5 pockets)
Following the guide that you can see slightly through the fabrics.


SEW the sides of each pocket now using a tiny 2mm seam allowance (or top stitch)

  Make a Dashwood festive friends advent calendar instructions at Stitch

REPEAT the last few steps with all your pockets

Your FRONT PANEL is finished phew....

Now let's create the backing

(OPTIONAL: Attach bias binding to the backing fabric to hold a small dowel rod. This helps keep your advent panel straight when its packed full of Christmas treats! Be mindful that the tape is not positioned where you will be quilting later, see front panel green and red frame)


To attach your front and back SANDWICH your layers in the following order:

If you want to hang your panel you will need to create a strap (also included in our Advent calendar pack)

Use 50cm of chosen ribbon and sandwich between your back and front layers with raw edges together and loop hidden inside (this will make sense in a minute).


SEW around the full shape using 1.5cm seam allowance
(Optional: if you have a walking foot for your machine use this to stop your layers moving and stretching)


If you have used a wadding layer TRIM back the seam allowance and TURN the whole thing through.

TOP STITCH / QUILT along the border lines on your front panel to create a quilted frame.

Hand sew the gap left in the bottom.

And you are FINISHED! Ta Da

Now all that is left is to think of lots of little pressies / gifts / treats to fill your calendar and ENJOY!

I would love to see what your fill yours with so please share with me on social media and comment below.

Hope you found these instructions helpful.


Back to blog

1 comment

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Have had this panel for ages but never attempted to complete it. Your clear and very helpful guide means my grandson now has a beautiful advent calendar


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

1 of 3