Hanukkah Pockets

Presenting my first (and most likely last and only) DIY post.

How To Make Hanukkah Pockets

Our daughter Annie, who grew up celebrating Christmas and now celebrates Hanukkah discovered the concept of Hanukkah pockets via the source of all things good and inspirational:


What are Hanukkah pockets you ask?

Imagine a Christmas stocking and Advent calendar had a Jewish offspring.

The idea is that there are eight pockets in which to hide a special little trinket for each of the eight days of Hanukkah.

Annie thought this would be a new, fun tradition to begin with baby Andy’s first Hanukkah.  And for some crazy reason, she thought that I would be the person who could make this happen.

Challenge accepted.

I arrived in Boston about ten days before Andy’s due date so that I could help with a lengthy pre-baby to do list that included finishing some projects around their new house, planning and prep for hosting Thanksgiving and the design and execution of the Hanukkah pocket project.

We doodled and sketched in an attempt to come up with the perfect design. One Sunday, a good five days before her due date, Annie and I headed to JoAnn Fabrics to buy the supplies:

  • Heavy cotton twill fabric in gray for the background banner (1/2 yard fabric at least 44/45″ wide)
  • Lighter cotton fabric in 4 different colors for the pockets (1/4 yard per color of fabric at least 44/45″ wide. I’d probably spring for a half a yard just to be sure to have enough.)
  • Silver cord to hang the banner (about a yard)
  • Dowels (about 1/2 inch diameter, 16 inches long)
  • Fusible bonding web (aka iron on tape for stitch-less hems)
  • Thread (way more than you think you will need)
  • Number and letter charms (found at Michael’s)
  • Silver paint pen (also found at Michael’s)

Funny story. After wandering the aisles for a while and not quite done with our list, Annie said she was feeling really tired and we should wrap up our shopping ASAP.

Turns out she was likely in early labor since little Andy was born about 18 hours later.

While Annie was busy delivering her baby, I was busy delivering the Hanukkah pockets.

So here we go…

Eight Crazy Steps To Make Your Very Own Hanukkah Pockets

1. Cut a piece of the heavy cotton twill fabric 15 inches wide by at least 44 or 45 inches long. Fold in half, stitch up the sides with a 1/2 inch seam, and turn inside out. Fold over the top edge and stitch across leaving an opening wide enough to slip the dowel through. This is your backdrop.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step…rookie DIY fail.)

2. Although the original inspiration showed pockets that looked like envelopes, we decided to go with something more like pouches. We liked the idea of deeper pockets to accommodate all sizes of trinkets. We also decided to make each pocket with one color fabric on one side and another color on the other side.

Sassy, right?

We selected four different colored pocket fabrics meaning that each color would be used twice for the front of a pocket and twice for the back of a pocket.

So, cut out 4 pieces in each pocket color, measuring 7 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

Hanukkah pockets 1

3. Stitch contrasting colors together with a 1/2 inch seam and trim the corners to make them lay better when turned inside out.

Hanukkah pockets 2

4. Keeping the pockets inside out, fold over the top about 2 1/2 inches then seal the rough edge by ironing on the fusible web. This will anchor the unfinished edge without showing any stitches. It also gives the top of the pocket a firmer shape.

Hanukkah pockets 3

The iron on webbing goes under the rough edge to seal it down.

5. Turn the pockets right side out then fold over at the top to make a cuff. Now the pockets are ready to sew onto the backdrop.

6. Starting at the bottom, pin each pocket down, four on each side of the backdrop. The pockets should overlap each other a bit but allow for plenty of room to flip up one pocket to insert a gift in the one below. We chose this design to maximize the size of each pocket while not making the finished product too long.

Hanukkah pockets 4

Once you are happy with the spacing, sew the back top edge of each pocket onto the backdrop. I used a zig-zag stitch for extra security.

7. We found some cute number and letter charms at Michael’s. I sewed a number on each of the eight pockets and charms spelling out the name across the top.

Hanukkah pockets 5

8. Finally, color the ends of the dowels with the silver paint pen and tie the silver cord on the ends of the dowel to your desired length.

I also used a couple of hand stitches to tack the end of the silver cord behind the backdrop to both hide the ugly end of the cord and to secure the cord so it wouldn’t slip off the dowel.


Hanukkah pocket 6Pretty cool, eh?

All kidding aside, I love this kind of a project – decide what you want the finished product to look like and figure out how to make it happen. And honestly, if I can do this, anyone can.

Happy Hanukkah!

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  1. I love this kind of thing too. I’ve learned I can pretty much fugure out how to sew anything just by looking at an example or idea. When I made costumes for the school plays, the designing was my favorite part 🙂

    • The challenge is everything, isn’t it? I was also amazed that the sewing skills I learned decades ago in Home Ec class (do they even have that anymore?!?!) came back to me while working on this project!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Hanukkah PocketsMy Profile

  2. “Andy” is going to be very confused when he learns to read. Yikes. Need to get that box ready sooner rather than later.

  3. So cute and creative, Mo! I’m thinking Andy probably won’t catch on to how this work until next year. 🙂 We have a fabric and velcro menorah that the kids could “light” when they were little – I hang it every year even though we are down to seven candles. Who knows where that other one went…
    Dana recently posted…My life is real enough, thank you.My Profile

    • Oh, Dana, I love this! I am all about traditions. The memory of “lighting” the fabric menorah will warm your children’s hearts forever. We had lots of special Christmas traditions as the kids were growing up and now I am enjoying as they begin their own traditions (Christmas for my son and Hanukkah for my daughter) with their own children.
      Mo Lux recently posted…Hanukkah PocketsMy Profile

  4. How cute! If I had enough time or patience right now I would love to make something like this for Eve. Though, like Dana, we have a fabric & velcro menorah that my parents got when I was a kid and passed on to me 🙂
    Bev recently posted…7 ways blogging is like breastfeedingMy Profile

    • My adorable son-in-law, who grew up without Christmas stockings, is very amused by the Hanukkah pocket concept. I will have to ask him if he had the fabric and velcro menorah when he was young!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Hanukkah PocketsMy Profile

  5. Very creative project, but my favorite part will be the story that goes along with the pockets, of how you were working on them while he was being born. What a treasure!
    Leslie Anne recently posted…Comment on Ann’s Awesome Parties by A Beautiful Fairhope Christmas PartyMy Profile

  6. Very nice! I agree with Dana that Andy won’t care much about his pockets until next year, but Annie will be ready.
    Kathy G recently posted…Creature ComfortsMy Profile

  7. I’m sorry but I shall admire this from afar. My sewing skills are less than zero. Perhaps I’ve already mentioned that the last time I picked up a needle I managed to sew my pant leg to the Brownie sash upon which I was attempting to afix my daughter’s hard earned badges?

    What a lovely gift for your new grandson, Mo. It’ll be a treasure for years to come!
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…An American Girl ChristmasMy Profile

  8. I’ve never heard of these. They turned out really cute. It was brave of you to agree to make them.
    susan recently posted…It’s OK to touch JesusMy Profile

  9. I had to laugh at your first line. I am actually hoping to get more DIY on my blog coming up…easy DIY mind you. One thing I am assured of is there will not be any sewing projects! I never heard of Hanukkah pockets. My relatives on my father’s side are Jewish and we spend a fair amount of time with them since they all live in NY and NJ, so you’d think I’d know more than I do. They turned out well!
    Michelle recently posted…DIY Christmas Tree TopiaryMy Profile

    • I am more than happy to leave all DIY – easy or difficult – to you, Michelle. I’m pretty sure that Hanukkah pockets are a new idea born from the intersection of Pinterest and Etsy. The brainchild of some brilliant crafter…then we “borrowed” the idea!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Hanukkah PocketsMy Profile

  10. LOVE it! You did a fantastic job! 🙂 I am very impressed! And congratulations on your newest baby to love! He has the BEST grandmother ever!!-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…Making The Cut: When Christmas Is PainfulMy Profile

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