14 days and counting

It’s the last day of January!  Can you believe it?  Bit by bit I’ve slowly been decorating my house for Valentine’s Day and gearing up for “the day of love”.  Today’s Valentine’s project is a DIY countdown calendar to Valentine’s Day.  Relatively easy and only time consuming if you make it to be, this is, I think, an adorable project, and I think I’ll do it again for St. Patrick’s Day next month.  It cost me $0 because I had everything on hand, but it would cost very little if you had to purchase everything.

What I used:

  • about 1/3 yard muslin
  • scraps of turquoise and hot pink damask fabric left over from a previous project
  • embroidery floss and needle
  • Heat and bond ultra hold iron on adhesive
  • coordinating thread

I did this project using my sewing machine, but in theory, you could sew by hand.  For all you non-sewing people, you could probably even use a hot glue gun to create your pockets.  Hmm…probably?

To start, I cut one large 13×17″ piece of muslin and three 3.5×13″ pieces of muslin.  I hemmed the “top” of the three muslin pieces with hot pink thread, then placed them on my larger piece of muslin.  Starting about 7″ from the bottom of the larger muslin piece, I placed the now hemmed small muslin pieced and overlapped them like so.

I then top stitched every 2.5″ to end up with three rows with five pockets in each row.  Once the pockets have been created and stitched in place, I moved on to making my bias tape (the hot pink trim).  You could buy bias tape at any fabric/craft store and you can get an assortment of colors.  You just can’t find pre made bias tape with patterns.  Not anywhere that I’ve seen, anyway.  And making your own bias tape is relatively easy.  Enter in left over scraps of fabric from previous project.  I cut two 2×17″ and two 2×14″ strips of my hot pink fabric.  I folded each piece in half and ironed them so that I would have a nice, crisp edge.  I then opened the strip and folded each of the sides in towards the center and ironed.  This left me with a 1/2″ bias tape to trim the edges of my muslin with.

After I made all four of my bias tapes, I pinned them to my muslin.  The 17″ strips went on first on the two long sides of the muslin.  Then I placed my 14″ strips on the top and bottom.  I had an extra 1/2 inch that I was able to fold in so that I didn’t have any raw edges visible.

Once my bias tape was in place and stitched on, I made a large appliqué  for the upper portion of the blank muslin.  Since we’re counting down to Valentine’s Day, I went with a large turquoise heart on a large hot pink damask circle.  This is where the Heat and Bond Iron on adhesive comes into play.  Follow the instructions on the Heat and Bond packaging, or feel free to glance back to my DIY Valentine’s Day outfit tutorial for a bit more info on appliquéing with an iron on adhesive.

Next, I had to number each of the pockets for my count down.  There was an extra pocket that I appliquéd a small turquoise heart on. When I make my St. Pattie’s countdown, I will NOT do what I did for this one.  I drew each number, backwards, on the paper backing of the iron adhesive.  Then I had to cut each number out.  Then iron each number on to the appropriate pocket.  Next time, I will use a fabric marker because what I did took too much time for my taste.  It all turned out well, but it took way too much time.

Once all of your appliqués are securely ironed on, time to put the finishing touches on your project!  Using embroidery thread, I made a loop on the top middle of the calendar so that I could hang it up.  Now, a word about muslin.  It’s a very flowy fabric.  It’s a bit sheer.  It will fold over on itself when you try to hang it up with just a single loop of embroidery floss tacked on in the top middle of the fabric.  My solution was to use my Heat and Bond adhesive (I really love this stuff) and iron it on the back of the muslin.  I left the paper to give the whole project some stiffness.  It hangs quite well now.  I’ll either use some thicker fabric or some type of small tension rod with the next one I make.  We’ll see how that turns out.

So, complete with a paper heart to move from pocket to pocket, once again for your viewing pleasure, the finished product!

What do you think?


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