Countdown to Christmas Pillow

I have a thing for counting down to any event.  We already own a Dollar Tree Bucket Advent Calendar, and a billion Hershey Kiss Boards and now I am making a knock-off version of a retired Ballard Designs Advent Calendar Pillow?  I know…I know… I have a countdown sickness.  There is just something thrilling about making the days special to me I guess.  Back in 2011 Ballard Designs had this adorable pillow that I fell in love with.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow

Source: Ballard Designs

At $69 I thought I would try to give it a whirl myself.



20” of black ticking fabric 

sewing machine

black thread

ecru colored thread


burlap (Jo-Ann)

Martha Stewart Crafts Fabric Medium 

Martha Stewart Craft Beetle Black Paint 

Red Ticking Fabric

Stamps or stencil for numbers


foam brush



1.  Cut one 19” x 19” piece, and two 19” x 13” pieces from the black ticking fabric.  Also cut five 2 1/2” x 19” pieces of natural colored burlap.ballard designs advent calendar pillow

ballard designs advent calendar pillow

2.  Ballards serged the edges of the burlap.  Since I didn’t own a serger at the time I just used a satin stitch on the long edges of my burlap.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow


3.  I used a pencil and a ruler and marked where the numbers would be stamped. it is easiest to find the middle of your burlap first and then measure out.  I stamped evenly spaced every 3”.

4.  Then I mixed some fabric medium with some black paint.  Using a foam brush I painted the backs of my foam stamps and then stamped.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (9)

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (7)

5.  Using a ruler I evenly spaced out my burlap strips leaving 1 1/2” on the top and bottom and about 1” between the other strips and pinned it all in place.  Then I sewed the bottoms of the burlap onto the 19” square ticking fabric.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (13)

6. Then I sewed the pockets between the numbers using those pencil marks I made before as my guide.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (14)

7.  After I sewed them all and cut all the loose threads I made the back of my pillow envelope style.  I pressed the 19” edge under 1” and then 1” again and pressed it flat.  Then I sewed it down.  I did that with both pieces.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (15)

8.  With right sides together I pinned the pillow front and the back in place overlapping the two pieces in the back.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (16)

9. Then I sewed it up and clipped the corners when I was done.  Last I added an 18” pillow form.

10.  Then I needed to make the little stuffed candy cane.  I just cut two candy cane shaped pieces of red ticking fabric on the bias to create the look of a peppermint candy cane.  Then I sewed them together right sides together leaving an opening at the bottom of the candy cane.  Turn right side out, stuff with polyfill and hand stich the bottom closed.

advent calendar pillow

advent calendar pillow (3)

I love it and my kids think it is so fun to move the candy cane from day to day.

Here is another Advent Calendar idea from pails from the Dollar Tree


The Anti-Treat Advent Calendar

magnetic advent calendar

Repost from December 2011


  1. You did a fantastic job!

  2. Aahh, very nice! You’re so crafty 🙂

  3. I absolutely LOVE this! So gorgeous and so fun!

  4. Turned out great!

  5. Wow! I love this! I really do! It looks better than the other one! You are so clever!

  6. great knock off, as always!

  7. That is really neat! Thanks for sharing!

  8. You did such a great job.! It’s beautiful. I can just see me stamping numbers on burlap now. . . wouldn’t be a good look . . . but yours look perfect. Love it!

  9. It’s so cute, Beckie. I like your version more than the inspiration!

  10. Awww! I am jealous of your sewing skills. This is adorable.

  11. That is SUCH a clever idea, and doesn’t it make you feel good to know that you made it, rather than spending $69 on something that wouldn’t have been made as well! Very nice work! 🙂

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  13. Juliette Mariano-Carlson says:

    I love the advent calendar pillow!!! It’s such a great idea and your creation is beautiful. I have to make this for my little one. Yes, I change out the pillows for holidays. It’s a nice, refreshing change for the living room.


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