Upcycled Sweater Advent Garland

Forget the tree and the stockings and all the little pretties I put out every year once the Thanksgiving dinner is cleared away and Christmas has begun, all my kids care about is the advent calendar. They practically vibrate with excitement at the thought of getting to open a door or a drawer or a box or a something to find a little treat every day. Especially if it’s candy! In the morning! They’ve wheedled their grandmother into giving them backup cardboard calendars so that, in addition to the homemade one I make each year, they can have two treats a day, because they really need more chocolate.

This year our family advent calendar is going to take the form of a garland strung across the fireplace. In a small house, it’s the perfect place for a largish item that needs to have easy access at kid height. Plus, it’s cute. Although you could use felt or knit your own pieces for this project, I decided to make use of some outgrown and hole strewn sweaters that turned up when we pulled out our winter wardrobe. Because the edges will be stitched, it’s not necessary to use wool sweaters that can be felted, but if wool is what you have in hand, go ahead and felt it, it will make constructing them easier and give you a cozy, fuzzy look.

Things you need:
Recycled sweaters, 2-3
Thin red ribbon
Sewing machine and notions
24 buttons (not necessarily matching)
Heavy yarn or thicker ribbon
Embroidery thread and needle

Things to do:
1. Cut 24 rectangles out of the sweater material, each approximately 10 x 4 inches.
2. Sew along the narrow ends of each rectangle.
3. If your sewing machine does not have a buttonhole function or you aren’t comfortable with buttonholes, stitch a loop of narrow ribbon large enough for your buttons onto the center or one end while sewing across. Otherwise, create a buttonhole about 1 inch down from one of the narrow ends of each piece.
4. Fold each rectangle almost in half, leaving about 1-1/2-inch overlap on one end to create a pocket. Insert a loop of thin ribbon near the top of one side on each pocket and pin into place. Sew up each of the sides.
5. Fold down the remaining flap and sew a button into place so that the envelope stays closed when buttoned.
6. Embroider a number 1-24 onto each pocket. You can also use precut felt numbers and fusible webbing to create the numbers or just leave the pockets as is!
7. String the envelopes onto the wider ribbon (or yarn) and space out evenly. Hold into place with a few small stitches. Tie loops into each end of the ribbon for hanging. String across your mantle and fill each pocket with a treat. (If you are going to be lighting a fire, avoid chocolate or anything that melts easily!)

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