Advent Bag Tutorial and Pattern


I was able to team up with XO GiGi Fabrics recently to bring to you a fun Christmas in July project to do.
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Gigi sent over these fabulous prints that can be found here. She’s really great to work with and has such a fantastic fabric shop.

I have always wanted some type of Advent calendar to do with my kids and I figured this would work even better for us. We don’t have too much extra space and we are renters, so this allows me to have something I can hang without putting extra holes in the wall and it doesn’t take up a ton of room.I created 
numbers on wooden circles for the countdown numbers. They are velcroed on. My oldest daughter has already been putting them on and off.
To create an Advent bag you will need:
-1/4 yard of fabric for outside (check out Gigi’s great Christmas fabric selection here)
-1/4 yard of fabric for inside
-1/2 yard lightweight or mediumweight interfacing
-Scrap fabric for front under numbers
-Heat and Bond iron on adhesive
-Twelve 1.5″ wooden circles
-Number Stickers
-Pattern printed. See here to download. *note: there is a 1″ marker on there to make sure that it prints correctly. If it does not, please email me and I can send it to you that way.

*All seams are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated.*

1. Cutting the Fabric Out 

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After you have printed your pattern pieces, you will cut out everything. You will end up with 2 pieces of fabric for the strap and 1 piece of interfacing.

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2 pieces of fabric for the front of the bag (inside and out) and 1 piece of interfacing.

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2 pieces of fabric for the back of the bag (inside and out) and 1 piece of interfacing. Please note that these are a bit higher than the front of the bag pieces. This is done on purpose for later on.

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2 pieces of fabric for the bottom of the bag (inside and out) and 1 piece of interfacing.

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One piece of fabric for inside pocket. This is for where you can store the wooden circles.

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You will also cut out one piece of the iron on adhesive and then iron it on according to directions, to where the fabric you want for the front under the circles.

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Then cut it out.

2. Preparing the Pocket

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Start by taking the pocket piece and folding one edge down, wrong sides facing, about 1/4″.

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Then fold it down one more time the same way about 1.5″. Sew across the top and bottom of fold.

3. Sewing the Outside

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Place the front piece interfacing down and the front piece of fabric on top of it, right side up. Then put the back piece (right side up) and it’s interfacing piece together. Pin them together, right sides facing, and sew together.

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Take the other side of the back part and pin to the other side of the front part. Sew together.

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I basted the interfacing piece and bottom piece together first as it can slip around easily. Make sure fabric is right side up and interfacing is underneath. Then pin the middle of the bottom part to the middle of the front part that you previously sewed.

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Continue pinning until it is all together except for the back part.

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It will look like this on the other side. Sew together.

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Now pin the back bottom to the back top part and sew together.You will be sewing over the side seams some.

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It will look like this.

4. Sewing the Inside

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You will sew the inside the same way except there will be only fabric and remember to sew on your pocket to the back piece before putting together.

5. Sewing the Strap

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Place the two fabric pieces for the strap together right sides facing. Then put the interfacing on top. Sew along the edges of both long sides and then turn right side out.

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Top stitch along the edges if you like.

6. Putting the Bag Together

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Turn the outer part inside out and the inner part right side out. Place the inner inside the outer. The right sides of fabric on each will be facing each other.

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Pin together along the top edges except for most of the back. This is where the bag will be turned right side out so the strap can be sewn in. Sew together. Remember, the back is higher, but sew the same even on the back. I just made it higher so there is more fabric for when turning the fabric in.

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Turn right side out through the opening.

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Push the inner part inside the outer part and push in the fabric at the opening. Iron it down.

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Now take your strap and fold it like this.

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Place strap inside the back opening and pin in place. Make sure it is just enough to sew in place so it will fit over a door knob.

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Sew strap in place and continue sewing all the way around the top. Then iron on the front fabric piece where the numbers will be. Sew around edges after it cools.

7. Making the Numbers


For the numbers, I just stuck on stickers I found. You of course could create numbers in so many different ways. You will need to have numbers 0-9 and make sure to make two 1’s and two 2’s.


I used sticky velcro and put a small piece on each number. I also placed two pieces on the front fabric and sewed in place. Make sure that whichever side velcro you use on the bag, you use the opposite on the numbers.


You can store the numbers in the pocket on the inside for safe keeping.


Now you have a little bag that you can use for Advent.
Make it your own and please share if you make some yourself :)

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  1. says

    I love this idea… I think I want to modify it for teaching letters of the alphabet for my 3 yr old. I think it would be fun to pick a letter for the day and find things around the house with the letter – or something like that! Fun idea!

  2. says

    Very cute! Thanks for sharing.

    I’m curious why all of your photos say no pinning allowed — I’d love to pin this tutorial, so I can find it later. I’m also curious how you prohibit pinning on photos. I’d like to do that sometimes, but I didn’t even realize it’s possible.

    • says

      Well, I just learned something new again! lol. Sorry about that. You can now pin the main ones. So this is why it does that: To save storage space on my blog, I upload my pics to Flickr and then add them via html code. If you have them 100% copyrighted on Flickr, it won’t let you pin then. This wasn’t how it worked at first, but I figured it out after several people were telling me they couldn’t pin any of my stuff a few weeks back. So I changed it to “some rights” so they can be pinned (it’s the choice where people are allowed to share the pic with proper credit but not alter the pic, etc). And today because you let me know, you can also have you pic unpinnable if you have the “only visible to you” option chosen on your Flickr pic. So that’s that! Pin away :) And make yours unpinnable if needed.

  3. says

    So cute! And really clever, especially for young kids like mine who can’t handle the “one day at a time” concept when the entire month of goodies hangs before their little eyes. :)

  4. says

    Really, really cute Jess! I haven’t been anywhere near the sewing machine since baby S was born, but I’ll get back to it eventually. :) I think I might have to make some – I can see other uses for them too. Did you use linnen for the outer part?

  5. says

    I’m fine with X-mas all year round, so advent calendar in July works for me well:-)

    I have made this sort of bag before- I have hanged it on the kitchen cupboard’s handles and used it to store plastic caps from the bottles. I find it so useful.

    Take care!

  6. says

    Very cute! and i like the idea of using it for schooling or rewards system with the kids, etc. out of curiousity, how would you use the bag for advent? what would you put in it?

    • says

      Thanks :) I haven’t gotten that far yet into what I would do, but I’ve seen posts up over the years of some great ways people utilized it. I don’t have the time to search right now, but if you do a search for advent calendar gift ideas you can find some ideas. One that I remember was how a mom tied in a book with it. I’ll hopefully find it soon and share it when we start it up in December :)

  7. says

    That’s a really cool idea. Thanks for sharing it! I love that it works well in a small space. I need to rework my Advent plans to fit in better with a small home.

  8. says

    This is a marvelous idea! We have a beautiful felt advent calendar that I appliqued and embroidered several years ago, but it’s huge and we are going to be traveling over the holidays. My kids were so worried about how we would continue to celebrate every day without our calendar. It’s one of their favorite things about the holiday season. This would be a great solution. Just one little bag to bring! Thank you!


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