DIY Advent Calendar Made From Recycled Button Down Shirts

Turn an assortment of past-their-prime men’s shirts with pockets into a colorful holiday countdown the kids will love.

Materials Needed:

  • pocketed men’s dress shirts
  • buttons
  • needle and thread
  • sewing machine
  • fabric scissors
  • linen or cotton duck fabric by the yard
  • felt
  • numerical stencils
  • black marker
  • spool of 3/4-inch canvas banding
  • iron
  • iron-on adhesive tape

Cut Out Pockets

Use fabric scissors to cut out pockets from men’s shirts, leaving an extra inch all the way around. Note: The pockets will be sewn to backing fabric, resulting in the look of classic pennants.

Cut Backing Fabric

Cut a solid contrasting linen or cotton duck fabric roughly 3 inches longer than the length of the shirt pockets using fabric scissors. Note:The additional inches along the top will account for a flap which will fold along the back, creating a pocket for the 3/4-inch canvas banding to string the pennants together.

Stitch Backing to Pocket

Using needle and thread or sewing machine, sew a pocket to backing fabric in a zigzag pattern. Next, check the back of the backing pocket to ensure flap is open and useable.

Add Buttons (If Necessary)

For shirt pockets without buttons or snaps, add them with needle and thread.

Attach Numbers

Trace numbers to felt using stencil as a guide. Next cut numbers out using fabric scissors. Once each number is cut out, attach to the front of a pocket using iron-on adhesive tape.

Insert Banding

Fish the 3/4-inch canvas banding through flaps in the back of each pennant. Once all pennants are in place, ensure even spacing by adjusting individually along banding.

Hang Garland

Once the banding is attached to each pennant, hang your finished garland along the banister or drape around the Christmas tree. As children count down the days leading to Christmas, allow them to take a treat or gift from a pocket each day.

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