Sew Along: Drawstring Bag Advent Calendar

Monday, November 30, 2020

Happy Monday! I'm so excited to share my finished advent calendar today! I had intended on making this back in September/October but time got away from me and I only just finished it yesterday, whoops!

I love advent calendars. The one we had as a kid was a hanging one that was a fleece/felt tree that had a little stuffed ornament that attached with velcro each day. My brother and I would take turns getting to put them on each day leading up to Christmas. I've had a few different calendars over the years, but I've been wanting to make one with little bags or pockets to put different things in for a long time. The last couple years I bought a Disney Tsum Tsum plush advent calendar, but since they aren't making those anymore I decided it was finally time to take matters into my own hands and make my dream advent calendar!

Here is the advent calendar I made a few years ago: Pretty in Patchwork Holidays: Advent Calendar.

For the last two weeks I've been working on making 24 drawstring bags for my new advent calendar! I put off making this calendar because I thought it would take too long to make, but honestly it went a lot faster than I expected. I made them all assembly line style so that helped save a lot of time! Regardless, I'm happy it's done, and I can't wait to start opening them tomorrow.

I used both the original lined drawstring bag pattern and the lined drawstring bag expansion pattern to make these. They're all the tiny size (smallest size in the pattern) and I used the easy going variation for an all solid exterior. I figured cutting out the accents would save me some extra time!

Find the patterns in my online shop here:
Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern
Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern

Thought I'd do a little run down of how I made it. I know it's too late for this year, but maybe for next year if you'd like to make one. I chose nine fabrics from my stash in three colors. I love adding pink into Christmas projects to give them a little bit of a vintage feel. I kept the linings simple and just used muslin.

For the numbers on the bags I used iron-on foil*. It's hard to tell in photos, but it's rose gold in person! I used my Cricut Maker* to cut the numbers. I had never cut or applied anything like this before, so there was a bit of a learning curve. Once I got the hang of it though, it went pretty fast. Now I my wheels are turning for what else I can use this foil on! It was very satisfying to apply.

The Cricut Maker was gifted to me in 2018 by Cricut.

I shared most of the process of making these bags on my Instagram Stories, they're all save in a highlight if you'd like to see, I'm @jenib320 there. I'm trying to post more on my stories, we'll see if I can keep it up!

I finished the bags off with paracord, which seemed like the quickest option. I wasn't sure how I wanted to display the bags at first. I tried hanging them on two different small trees, but wasn't happy with how it looked. I ended up with this simple dowel + ribbon (I used twill) option, and I really like it! It perfectly fills this spot between our fireplace and the window. I filled the bags with ornaments, so I'll get to stretch decorating the tree out over the whole month!

I buy most of my paracord from Bored Paracord* on Etsy.

It was fun to try something new for this project and a good reminder to myself that I should do that more often. I don't know why I waited so long to try the iron-on! It wasn't hard and it really added something to this project in particular. Especially since I am so often thinking about or writing instructions whether it be tutorials or patterns, it's good for me to be a beginner again at something and get out of my comfort zone. I am definitely going to keep that in mind when deciding on my craft goals for 2021.

I know this is going to be a bit of a strange holiday season, since we aren't going home for Christmas. I'm letting myself indulge in all the holiday activities, including this advent calendar to try to keep cheerful. There is still a lot to be thankful for!

Happy Sewing!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.


  1. Brilliant idea!! That's a great way to spread out the task of decorating the tree. Your Advent Calendar looks SEW sweet up on the wall!!

  2. Love your little bags!
    I hear you on the trying something new... I have your expansion pattern, but hadn't tried any of them yet! So the last few bags I made I've tried the alternate gusset method and also the accent on the bottom. They've turned out great!

  3. Your calendar turned out super cute! I like that you limited the number of fabrics you used - kind of gave it all a cohesiveness. Have fun enjoying it all month!

  4. It came out great. I love sewing, but you must have lots of patience sewing all those little bags. I'm sorry you won't be able to go home for Christmas-however, you are a very positive person and it shows-plus-you have georgie and your husband who can sing you Christmas songs.


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