Making koala mittens

10 01 2015

The call went out after the devastating bushfires in South Australia for cotton mittens for koalas to cover the bandaged burns on their paws. The mittens were to be 100% cotton (easy for a quilter — that’s pretty much all most of us sew with), a pattern was provided, and an address was provided for us to send the completed mittens to.

It took me no time at all to find some old fabric scraps and pieces of fabric I no longer cared for that were big enough to make mittens from. I ironed and cut out all the pieces, then dusted off my overlocker (serger), which I hadn’t used in several years. After rethreading it (fun… not!), I got sewing.

First I serged the straight bottom edges that were to remain open, chain stitching those.

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Next, I put two pieces together right sides out and serged around the edges. The reason I put the right sides out and left the stitching on the outside was two-fold — first, it was easier than stitching then turning each one, and second, I figured that having ragged seam joins inside wouldn’t be good for the koalas as their claws could get caught in any loose threads.

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After I’d made 48 of them, I stitched on a piece of yarn to tie the mittens as per the instructions (which don’t tell you what length yarn — I used pieces about 10 to 12 inches long).

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And then I modelled a completed mitten on my polar bear 😉

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They are now all packed up and ready to send to the other side of Australia. I’m sure these mittens will be used for other animals too and/or distributed to other animal welfare agencies if they receive too many — I can see them being perfect for cats and smaller dogs too, as well as for the front paws of kangaroos.