Counting down the days until Christmas is a tradition shared by many Christian families. Our simple Advent Tree with a star meandering up the tree, will help your family celebrate the season. This is sure to become an heirloom, eliciting memories of Christmases past as the years go by. Merry Christmas to all!

Finished Size: 24" x 28"

This project was our 2009 Holiday Giveaway. Julie, over at Prairie Point Junction, graciously provided kits containing felt, floss and buttons for 2 lucky winners. She also carries fabric and batting for completing the project. Check out her site. It is wonderful!

NOTE ABOUT MATERIALS: I am providing 2 different felt requirements. First, I list amounts actually required for cutting out your pieces. Second, in parentheses, I'll give the yardage if buying from a bolt. This yardage will give you enough fabric to allow for shrinkage, if you are buying wool blend felt, and you want to prewash your fabric to give it a more 100% wool look. I did not wash my fabric. The lines are "crisper" without washing, which is the effect I wanted. Refer to Prairie Point Junction's directions for prewashing wool blended felt if you chose that option. 

I am also giving the name and # of the colors of the felt and embroidery floss I used for making this project. My felt and embroidery floss came from Wool Felt Central over at Prairie Point Junction. The colors refer to National Nonwovens "WoolFelt" and the floss is DMC.

Materials Needed:
Felt:
tree - pea soup WCF0729
18" X 20" (2/3 yard)

snow and star - white WCF1100
8" x 20" AND 4" x 8" (1/3 yard)

background - grandma's garnet TOY0986
20" x 24" (2/3 yard) 

Floss:
1 or 2* skeins white
1 or 2* skeins 221
1 skein 471
(*1 skein of floss JUST barely completed the project. If you waste any thread, add more snowflakes, or decide you want to stitch around the tree, you will want to get 2 skeins of  white and #221 floss.)

Borders:
1/2 yard printed light to medium weight fabric for borders (I bought my fabric from a large chain crafting store. I do not have info on the fabric to share. Julie, at Prairie Point Junction, picked out a few fabrics from her shop that go well with the felt colors I selected, if you are interested.)

Backing:
1 yard backing (You can use the same print as the border. I bought a cheaper solid fabric.)

Batting:
30" x 36" thin batting (cotton, cotton/poly blend, or wool)

Buttons:
25 1" wooden buttons (available at Prairie Point Junction)

Paint:
Acrylic paints for buttons (I used 3 colors. You can paint them all the same or many colors)
Paint for numbers (I used a Sharpie Paint - Metallic Gold, fine point for mine)
Mod Podge for sealing painted buttons

Other:
Disappearing ink fabric marker 
3 round plastic rings for sewing on the back to hang Advent Tree on Wall
Thread in matching colors to buttons, to sew on buttons

Pattern (You will need 1 pattern and 1 stitching guide)
pattern  which will need to be enlarged 325% (See pattern note below.)
-OR-
print the 16 page PDF which has already been enlarged (See pattern note below.)
1 copy stitching guide.(Not used for cut outs but as a guide for stitches used and placement.)

NOTE ABOUT PATTERN: This pattern is based on our Christmas Tree Applique Block. To make the Advent Tree you must enlarge the pattern 325%. There are several ways to do this. First, grid and enlarge design. (Google search for technique) Second, take the pattern to a printer to enlarge. (Note: Use the pattern provided here NOT the Christmas Tree Applique Block. Changes have been made.) There are many large chains that do this. For example: Staples said to bring in a copy of the PDF and ask for them to either "Blow this up to 28 x 40" or "Blow this up 325%". Either will work. It comes out on a plotter and costs about $4. The advantage is the pattern is on one piece of paper. The third option is to print our 16 page pdf. You will need to tape the pages together. Bits of the border edges are missing but you should be able to easily draw in the missing lines... plus it saves you $4! (Note: Each printer is set a little different. If you cannot get the 16 page PDF to line up, you will need to use one of the other 2 methods.)
 

DIRECTIONS (Note: Cutting instructions are given as needed.)

Stitching the Appliqued Tree:

1] Enlarge pattern in one of the above methods. Cut out all the pattern pieces.

2] Cut out felt pieces as follow:

1 - 20" x 24" for background (grandma's garnet)
1 snow bed (white) 
2 stars (white)
1 tree (pea soup)

3] Following the stitching guide, place snow on background. Using 6 strands of white floss, blanket stitch the snow to the background along the upper edge of the snow. Using 3 stands of white floss, sew the remaining 3 sides to the background using a running stitch. This stitch should be about 1/4" from the edges.

4] Place the tree over the snow and background. The base of the tree should be approximately 2" from the bottom edge and centered side to side. Pin in place. Using 6 strands of #471 floss, blanket stitch the tree to the background and snow.

5] Position pattern piece A over tree top. Trace the bottom of pattern piece A on the tree using a disappearing marker. Now, position pattern piece B over the tree, matching sides. Trace the bottom of pattern piece B on the tree using a disappearing marker. This will create your stitching line for the tree's tiers.

6] Using 3 strands of #471 floss, sew along the 2 tier lines using a running stitch.

7] To make the star, sew the 2 pieces of the star together with a blanket stitch using 6 strands of white floss. 

8] To make the button hole: Place your 1" button in the middle of the star. Using a disappearing marker, trace around the button. Draw a straight line with the disappearing marker that bisects the middle of the circle you just drew. Extend the line 1/8" on either edge of the circle.

9] Using very sharp scissors or a razor, cut along the STRAIGHT line. This will be the button hole.

10] Using a running stitch, baste around the button hole, going through both layers of the star. Baste should be about 1/2" away from the opening. Blanket stitch around the entire button hole using 3 strands of white floss with your stitches very close together. Make sure to add a couple of stitches at either end of the buttonhole. Remove basting.

Adding Borders with Mitered Corners:
 
Mitered corners are not an "ish" technique. Straight seams, beginning and ending at the appropriate spot are necessary to turn out a professional looking corner. Mitered corners are not hard, taken step by step, but take the time to be accurate. It is time well spent!

1] Cut 4 border strips: each 4" by the entire width of the fabric. (44")

2] To start, take a border piece. Center the border piece on a long side of the appliqued piece, with right sides together. Pin in place. On the wrong side of the border fabric, make a line even with the edge of the applique piece. Then draw a line 1/2" in from the previous line. Do this to the other end of the border.These will be the starting and stopping points of your seam.

3] Sew your seam. Make sure you do not cross the start and stop line. This is very important. Attach the border on the opposite side in the same fashion.

4] Iron your seams. Normally, when making mitered corners, I iron my seams open. When using felt and a lighter weight material, however, I do not iron the seam open, rather, I let the felt lay flat. Note: Make sure your iron is not too hot or you may shrink the felt.

5] To attach the 2 remaining borders, start by pinning the borders you just sewed on out of your way.

6] Center a border piece on a short side of the appliqued piece, with right sides together. Pin in place. On the wrong side of the border, make a line on both ends of your new strip following the seam line of the previous border. This will be your start and stop lines for stitching. Sew along the seam line and press seam. (It is better to stop 1 stitch before the start and stop pins than go over them, which will cause your corners to pucker.) Iron. Do the same to the other side. All 4 borders will now be attached.

7] It is now time to "square up" your corners. To do this, lay your work on a flat surface. Smooth down your borders. Pin them in place. At this point your border ends will extend beyond a square corner. Following the outside edge of the border, cut off the excess fabric. Flip project over and trim the other side of the corner following the other exposed outside edge of the border.

8] To sew a corner together, remove the pins, turn your work over and separate the two border pieces.

9] Pin the two border ends with right sides together. Make sure you do not catch the applique piece while you pin. Notice how I used a teal colored pin to pin the applique piece out of the way. Draw a line from the outside corner to your stitching line. This is a 45 degree angle. Place pins along this line.

10] Sew along this diagonal line. IMPORTANT: Make sure you do not over sew your stitching line. If you sew even 1 stitch beyond, it will cause your corner to pucker. You are better to stop a stitch short of the stitching line.
11] Trim away excess material. Iron the seam open.
12] If your corner is not perfectly square, lay a straight edge along the seam, and using a rotary cutter, even out the corner. If you did everything right to this point, it should only be a very minor adjustment.

13] You have now mitered a corner. Do the same to the other 3 corners.

Sewing the wall hanging together:

1] Create a sandwich by laying your backing material down first with wrong side up. Now add a piece of thin batting. Finally, place your complete Advent Tree on the top, with the right side showing.
 
2] Trim away excess batting and backing.

3] Carefully remove the top applique piece from the batting and backing. It may be helpful to chose a corner, and put a pin in the backing and another on the applique piece so when it's time to pin the pieces together, you are sure to get the same corners together. This is important because you applique piece may not be a perfect rectangle. (Stuff happens, right?) When you cut out the pieces together, you made the backing, batting and applique piece exactly the same shape. You will want to make sure when you sew them together, you are putting them together in the same way you cut them out. Pin all three layers together with the right sides of the backing and applique piece together and the batting on top. Pin the four sides of the Advent Tree together.

4] Using a 1/2" seam, sew the four sides, leaving a 4" opening on one side.

5] Trim the corners and turn the piece right side out.

6] Iron the seam flat.
7] Using a ladder stitch, sew the opening closed. 

Finishing the Advent Calendar:

1] Following the stitching guide, sew a running stitch on the felt, using 3 strands of floss, 1/4" away from the border seam line. If desired, sew a running stitch on the background, around the tree. (If you do, you will need 2 skeins of #221 floss.) I used white floss on white felt and #221 floss on red felt.

2] Following the stitching guide, French Knot "snow" using 6 strands of white floss, wrapping your needle 6 times. The stitching guide has my placement of the snowflakes, but obviously, add as many or as few flakes as you'd like! (You may chose to do another stitch resembling larger snowflakes. If you do, you will need 2 skeins white floss.)

3] Apply 2 coats of paint to wooden buttons. Allow to dry. NOTE: The fronts of my 1" wooden buttons (The kind available from Prairie Point Junction) are ridged. I chose to use the backside which were flatter.

4] When dry, use a paint marker to number the buttons 1 - 25. NOTE: My buttons have 2 holes. I sewed them on the tree so the holes were on top of one another, not side to side. I painted the numbers on so the "ones" were to the right of the holes and the "tens" were to the left of the holes.

5] After the paints have dried, seal with 1 coat of Mod Podge.  

6] Following the stitching guide, sew buttons to the tree, going through all layers.

7] Finally, turn the Advent Tree over. 1" from the top, and 1" from the side, space 3 plastic rings. Sew them on. (Note: Only sew them to the backing. You do not want this stitching visible on the front.) To hang the Advent Tree, push 3 straight pins in the wall where you would like to hang the Advent Tree, and loop your rings over the pin heads. This should be all you need to support your Advent Tree.

You are now done with the Advent Tree! To use, on December 1, button your star to the  number 25. As each day passes, move your star up the tree, counting down the days to Christmas. Christmas morning your star will be on the number 1 and the top of the tree!
 

Hoping your Christmas is filled with Joy and Peace!

 

Note about patterns: We are sharing patterns we have designed and made for our own children, families and friends. Every effort is made to share information in a clear and accurate manner. We offer preemptive apologies for any mistakes that may be made. Please let us know via comments or emails if you stumble upon a mistake or if you encounter directions that leave you scratching your head! We will rectify the situation as soon as humanly possible!

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Comments

Thank you for this great tutorial. It was just what I was looking for! I finished mine last night, and blogged about it here:
http://nevertoomuchfabric.blogspot.com/2009/11/advent-calendar.html

Thanks for sharing the link, Corey. This is the best part of designing... seeing other people use our patterns! Hope the Tree becomes a tradition in your family!

Kimara
Wee Folk Art Publisher
 

I finished my countdown and blogged about it here: http://tinyurl.com/ylxwuuw. Thanks for the great pattern and instructions.

Beautifully done! I love the frame surrounding, it really finishes the look.