I made this for my boyfriend about 3 years ago and I steal it back from him every year to fill up again with sweets :D Give it a go!
For your advent calendar you're going to need 25 days. I did 5 rows of 5 pockets to hold a sweet for each day. I decided to make the 25th day larger than the rest so it could hold more booty, but this also meant the the other 4 on its row were made slightly smaller. You can choose to do as I did or to leave them all the same size. First, draw out the pieces you're going to cut. I planned mine on tracing paper and then cut around them to make the rectangles. I also made some simple felt christmassy shapes and sewed them on to every other rectangle in a checker-board fashion to decorate it.
Here are the rectangles laid out in sequence. The designs I added are a bell, holly, christmas pudding, snowflake, snowman, candle, star, stocking, christmas tree, present, mistletoe, a robin and a candy cane.
The next step is to embroider on numbers from 1 to 25 for the days of December. I dotted the dates around so it could be fun searching for the right pocket every day. I used backstitch but I'm no sewing exert so if you know a better way then go for it :)
Get a piece of felt large enough to back all the pieces, minus about 5 cm horizontally but plus enough vertically to be able to roll the top around your dowel and write a message... call it 5cm again. The 5cm horizontally is so that you can bunch up each pocket a bit and make them more pockety and able to hold sweets :)
Decide what message you'd like to write on the top of your advent calendar. I chose 'Merry Christmas!' but you might like to add a name in there of the person you're making this for. Cut out the letters from different coloured felt and sew it on just touching the top line of pockets, leaving the rest of the felt free at the top. next, get your dowel and cut it to the width of your calendar plus 2cm either side, then get your drill and make a hole through each end 1cm from the end. Roll this into the top of the felt and sew the felt closed around it. Get some of your thread (I used about 35 cm) and tie it through the holes in your dowel so that you can hang it up.
Add sweets! This is a very important stage and will be noticed if you forget it! I try to get several types of sweet so that every day you get something different than the last.
Hang up your completed advent calendar with pride! Woooooo! ^_______^