The Art of Darkness

Tutorial: Halloween Countdown Calendar


  • 2 30″x20″ pieces of fabric (one for calendar front and one for backing)
  • Scraps of novelty Halloween fabric for pouches and numbers
  • Scrap of fusible interfacing (optional)
  • Buttons or other decorations for the pouches (optional)
  • Matching thread
  • 18″ (approx.) ribbon or cord
  • A 7/16″ dowel
  • Spray paint for dowel (optional)
Click the thumbnails for larger images.


Press fabric for calendar front and back.

Cut Numbers

Cut out numbers for calendar. I found a font that I liked, blew it up very large, and printed out the numbers I wanted; you could also draw them freehand or use commercial stencils. I decided to scatter only a few numbers around the calendar, but if you want each square to be numbered you’ll (obviously) need more fabric. I backed the numbers with fusible interfacing to keep the raw edges from fraying because I didn’t want to fiddle with trying to turn them under. If you want to do true applique and turn under the raw edges you can skip the interfacing. (You can also embroider the numbers if you don’t want to use fabric.)

Cut Patches

Cut 30 4″ square patches out of novelty fabric. Arrange them in rows of 6 and play with their placement until you like the color combination. Stitch the numbers to the appropriate patches, making sure to leave room for a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Sew Strips

Sew the patches together into strips.


If desired, decorate some of the other patches with buttons, fabric paint, or whatever else strikes you.

Turn Under Top

Turn under 1/2″ on the top edge of each strip and stitch in place. If desired, you can finish the raw edge with a zigzag stitch before turning, or make a narrow hem by turning under 1/4″ twice to enclose the raw edge. This probably isn’t strictly necessary but if you’re the sort of person who’s bothered by hidden raw edges, feel free.

Sew Strip.

Place the first strip upside-down (with the top edge of the strip pointing toward the bottom of the calendar) with right sides together on the body fabric about 7-1/2″ from the top of the body. Stitch 1/2″ across the bottom of the strip.

Press and Stitch

Fold the strip up over the seam you just sewed, press, and baste the sides of the strip to the sides of the body. Stitch “in the ditch” (right along the seam line) between each patch to create little pouches.

Sew all rows

Sew the rest of the strips in a similar manner, spacing them about 4-1/2″ apart.

Sew Backing

Sew the body fabric to the backing fabric, right sides together, with a 1/2″ seam, leaving a space to turn it right-side-out. Clip corners.


Turn, press, and either slipstitch the raw edges closed or run a decorative topstitch along the edges of calendar, stitching over the turned-in raw edges.

Turn Top Edge

Turn about 2″ of the top edge to the back and stitch along the edge. (This makes a tunnel for the dowel.) Cut the dowel to about 2″ longer than the width of the calendar–you want the ends of the dowel to poke out on both sides–and sand off any splinters. Spray-paint if desired and let dry.

I left the bottom edge of the calendar plain, but you could also decorate it with beaded fringe or little dangling ornaments.

Tie Ribbon

Insert the dowel through the “tunnel” and tie the ribbon or cord to both ends.


Hang in desired location and adjust the length of the ribbon if necessary. Fill with little treats.