The last stage in making the advent calendar is assembling all of the component parts.
Before adding the pockets to the pieced background, I made a quilt sandwich with the background, batting and some backing fabric and quilted it with basic diagonal lines. Once the pockets are in place the quilting options are restricted and not doing any beforehand would leave quite large un-quilted areas - as a general rule I like to have a maximum gap of 3in between quilting lines. My pre-pocket quilting was just basic diagonal lines running opposite to the pieced stripes, I had to keep it basic as my walking foot broke as I was fitting it to my machine (aargh) and so all of the sewing was done with a regular presser foot (aargh).
Once the background was quilted the pockets were arranged on it centrally, 1in apart. I arranged my numbers randomly despite my 7 year old son's insistence that they should be in order - but surely half of the fun with an advent calendar is spending 10 minutes hunting for each number in turn, so he was over-ruled.
I pinned the pockets in place and then stitched 2 lines of running stitch along the sides and bottom, closing the opening in the bottom of the pocket as a result. The double line of running stitch was for strength, to ensure the pockets were firmly fixed (my two sons aren't renowned for their delicate touch, especially where chocolate is concerned).
The last job before binding the calendar was to add channels, top and bottom, to the back which would house pieces of (12mm diameter) dowel enabling it to hold its shape as it hangs. Each channel comprised of three sections, to make one complete channel I cut 3 pieces of fabric, two measuring 4in x 2 1/4in and one measuring 12 1/2in x 2 1/4in. Each of the shorter sides on the longer piece were hemmed by folding the ends over twice, a 1/4in each time. The two shorter pieces had the inward facing ends hemmed but the outer ends need to be sealed to fix the dowel inside, one was sewn shut but the other folded in to be closed by hand once the dowel was inside.
All 3 channel pieces were then folded lengthways and then pinned and stitched along the top/bottom of the back of the calendar starting 1in in from either side.
All that was left then was to bind the edges, slide the dowel into the channels and sew the ends closed once it was in.
That's it, done. I love the numbers on it, they're so crisp and consistent having been cut with the Lollipop Shadow Numbers die and the pockets are a good size, allowing more options of what little treats that could fit inside. It will be easy for Santa to slip the note into pocket 24 that tells my boys where he's hidden their new pyjamas for Christmas Eve...