I had the idea of making a Ramadan calendar for my son about a month ago, and while looking around for tutorials I remembered I had bought some ’1001 Peeps’ fabric last year, with no particular project in mind. After looking at several advent calendar designs, I came up with this design of my own. There is a step by step at the end of this post.
It did take a bit of time to complete so wasn’t done by the beginning of Ramadan, but I’m hoping it will be used for many years! The fabric with its minarets, lamps, stars, and turbanned characters is perfect and I am especially glad I managed to use up some of my stash for the backing and background fabrics. You could also use up scrap fabric as the squares are quite small.
I decided to patchwork some of the squares and fussy cut the center shapes before adding the border fabrics (either square in square or log cabin style). I then cut the pieces to be the same size as the other squares.
Unfortunately I didn’t get great photos before I left the house so I apologise for the blurry shots!
Tutorial for Ramadan Calendar
You will need:
Fat quarters of 6 or more different fabrics (or various scraps at least 5×5″)
1 1/2 yards fabric for backing and pocket linings
1 yard plain fabric for background
1 yard wadding/batting
1/2 yard fabric for making bias binding, or premade bias tape 3 yards
Embroidery thread (optional)
Bondaweb for applique (optional)
Bias tape maker
1. Cut out 30 5×5″ squares from your chosen fabric.
2. Cut out 30 x 5×5″ squares from your backing fabric.
3. Place each fabric square together with a backing fabric square, right sides together. Make pockets by sewing all the way round each square using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a 1.5-2 inch gap at the bottom of each square.
4. Snip the corners of each square (so you get a nice sharp point after turning right side out), then turn the square right side out and push out the corners using a pointed tool or pair of scissors. Press each square, folding the fabric into the gap at the bottom to get a neat square.
5. Cut out your backing fabric, wadding and background fabric (approx 34×40″). You will trim down the edges later after sewing down your pockets. Make a quilt sandwich by laying down your backing fabric right side down, then the wadding and finally your background fabric right side up.
6. Arrange your squares in rows, starting about 6″ from the top. Place five squares in each row with a roughly 3/4 inch gap between each row and column. Pin into place. (I did this one row at a time to make it easier to sew)
7. Sew around each of the pockets from the left top corner down, across the bottom and up to the right top corner. Backstitch at each end to secure your pocket.
8. Once you’ve finished all of your pockets, you can either trim all around the edges to neaten and simply finish the edges as in step 11, or you can embroider and applique a design at the top.
9. To applique – find a design you like (I used this and shrank the image on the photocopier to fit). Cut out the shapes from paper. Iron your bondaweb to the wrong side of your chosen fabric, then pin your paper shape to the fabric and cut out. Place the fabric shapes on your calendar, arrange as you like and iron into place. Sew using either a straight stitch or a zigzag around the inside edge of each shape.
10. To embroider – I copied the Arabic writing into Microsoft Word and enlarged it to fit across a page of A4 (landscape). I traced the design onto the background fabric by laying the paper under the fabric and using a disappearing fabric ink pen to mark the design. I then embroidered using 3 strands of cotton floss with a back stitch. Alternatively you could use satin stitch to fill in the writing.
Your calendar will look like this:
11. Make 2.5″ bias tape using a bias tape maker or use ready made bias tape. Attach to the edge of your calendar and sew (for beginners, there are many tutorials online, e.g. here)
12. Make 3 tabs to hang your quilt. I used the instructions here (has photos for guidance) - Cut 3 6×3″ pieces of fabric to match your binding. Iron a 1/4″ hem at each short edge, fold your rectangle in half then sew down the long side of each folded piece. Turn the resulting tube right side out and press. Fold your tab in half and sandwich the quilt in the middle of each tab at the edge. Sew one at each end of the top of your calendar, and one in the middle using a straight stitch.
13. Cut a piece of dowelling/cane the width of your calendar and insert through the tabs.